Fates & Fortunes Weekly Round-Up: Nov. 2, 2009

We at B&C were sad to learn of the loss of one of our own last week. Contributing Editor Brent Felgner, 57, passed away from cancer. While we’ve been celebrating our industry’s achievements at our own and the Cable Center’s Hall of Fame proceedings in recent weeks, Brent’s passing was a reminder to appreciate our families, friends and all of life’s precious moments.

Anyone wishing to commemorate his life is asked to donate to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Society of Professional Journalists. Checks should be made out to “Sigma Delta Chi Foundation” and sent to: Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208. Please include a small note or notation on the memo line of the check to read: “In Memory of Brent Felgner.” If you would like to leave a comment or a memory, please do so on this page of this blog.

On that note of appreciation, B&C is working on appreciating this year’s best with its second annual GM of the Year awards. Nominate a leader you think has done a great job in a tough year here.

On to this week’s goings and comings. As always, you can follow us on Twitter @BCFates (or me personally @PaigeA if you are willing to put up with tweets about Top Chef, untimely airport delays and blizzards). Forward fates to me at BCFates@gmail.com or at palbiniak@gmail.com.

Big Kahunas

CBS Interactive CEO Quincy Smith will leave CBS at the end of the year and form his own consulting business, but will continue to work for the company as a paid advisor for the next several years, CBS announced Wednesday, Oct. 28. CBS Interactive President Neil Ashe will continue in his role as president of the division. The CEO slot will probably not be filled by CBS, with Ashe continuing to lead and Smith assisting as advisor. Smith joined CBS Interactive in 2006, and oversaw the acquisition and incorporation of CNET and the launch of TV.com .A former investment banker, Smith came to CBS from Allen & Company, where he served as an advisor to companies like CBS, Google and Comcast.

Food Network’s top marketer, Michael Smith, has been named general manager of the new Cooking Channel, both at Scripps Networks Interactive. Smith has guided Food Network’s creative and brand strategies for the last 10 years, and most recently served as senior vice president of marketing. Scripps will turn Fine Living Network into the Cooking Channel next fall.

Susan Whiting, vice chair of The Nielsen Company, has been named to the board of directors of MarkMonitor, a firm that specializes in designing brand protection for global enterprise. As vice chair of The Nielsen Company, Whiting shares oversight of the company with chairman and CEO David Calhoun in the Office of the CEO. She joined Nielsen Media Research in 1978 as part of the company’s management training program and was named Vice Chair in November, 2008.

MTV Networks’ Executive-VP Insights and Research, Colleen Fahey Rush has been named head of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement’s executive committee. Group creator, NBC Universal’s Alan Wurtzel, remains acting managing director and head of the new venture’s executive search committee. CIMM was formed by 14 major media members with the intention of offering seed funding to research firms that can help build a new generation of measurement for the TV video industry.

Corporate Changes

Former William Morris Chairman/CEO Jim Wiatt was named one of nine directors on AOL’s board when that company separates from Time Warner in December, reports Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily. Wiatt joins Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell, former PBS and Paley Center President/CEO Pat Mitchell and former CBS Corp. EVP/CFO and former Viacom TV Stations Group pres/CEO Fred Reynolds.

Allan Singer has been named EVP, distribution and strategy, at Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, which is scheduled to launch next year on what has been the Discovery Health Channel. Singer previously was Comcast’s SVP of content acquisition for Comcast. He arrived at Comcast at 2003 as senior VP of programming investments. He also served at one point as senior veep of sports business development. He’s also been SVP, programming at AT&T Broadband.

David Rotem has been named SVP, sales at Tribune’s WGN America cable network. Prior to joining WGN America, Rotem was principal of Escape Multimedia. He’s also been SVP/group leader, multimedia sales for ESPN Media; EVP, national television and event marketing sales for ESPN/ABC Sports; VP of ABC News Sales; and account executive positions at the CBS O&O Stations, CBS Television Network and ABC Sports.

Blake Bryant has been named SVP, Marketing at Telepictures Productions. Bryant had served as VP, creative services at Disney-ABC Domestic Television since 2002, where he directed and oversaw all trade and consumer advertising. Prior to that, Blake was at the NBC Television Stations Division from 1996-2002, serving as VP, consumer marketing and programming, KNTV San Francisco (2001-2002); VP, advertising and promotion, WMAQ Chicago (1999-2001) and director of creative services, KNBC Los Angeles (1996-1999). Bryant was also the Creative Director of KPIX in San Francisco (1994-1996) and held the same position at KCAL in Los Angeles (1989-1994). He began his career as Director/Producer for WJKS in Jacksonville and Graphics Supervisor for WFLA in Tampa/St. Petersburg.

Programming Prospects

Sarah Tomassi Lindman has been named MTV’s EVP of program strategy for MTV. Lindman had been senior VP and GM of TeenNick (formerly The N) in the MTV Networks Kids & Family Group.

Jose Morales has been named VP, content, at NBCU’s Telemundo affiliate WNJU New York, reports TVNewscheck. Morales joins WNJU following a one-year stint as director of digital content at Telemundo Local Media. Prior to that, Morales was director of news operations for the NBC Television Stations Division where he managed the broadcast division and several Internet operations for the O&O. Previously, Morales was director of news operations for the Telemundo Television stations. Morales also held positions at Univision as news director in Puerto Rico and as assistant news director for WXTV New York. Morales graduated from University of Puerto Rico where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Jaime Maggio has been named sideline reporter for all of the Philadelphia Sixers’ home broadcasts, said Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia on Monday (Oct. 26.) Maggio comes to Comcast SportsNet from Fox, where she’s been a sideline reporter for Fox’s coverage of the NFL.

Station Switches

Bob Marra has been named VP/GSM of Fox’s WNYW/WWOR New York, reports TVNewscheck. Previously, Marra was GSM  at Tribune’s CW affiliate WPIX New York. Marra began his tenure at WPIX in 1996 as a local account executive. In 1998 he became local sales manager, and in 2005 was named general sales manager. Marra started his media buying career at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in 1980. In 1981, he left to pursue ad sales at TeleRep, and in 1987 he was named national sales manager of NBC-owned WVIT Hartford, Conn. In 1989, Marra returned to New York to join NBC Spot Television Sales and then TeleRep where he remained through 1996 before joining WPIX.

Brad A. Moses has been named VP/general manager of Media General’s WNCN Raleigh. He starts November 9. Moses comes from Media General’s WSAV Savannah, where he’s vice president and general manager. Both WNCN and WSAV are NBC affiliates.

Debbie Carpenter is returning to Fox-owned WFLD/WPWR Chicago to be VP/general sales manager, effective immediately. Carpenter had been president and general manager at the duopoly from 2004-2006, and VP/general sales manager at WFLD from 1994-2000.

Mike Goldrick, news director at Hubbard’s WHEC Rochester, N.Y., for the past three years, will become WPXI Pittsburgh’s news director, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. General Manager and Acting News Director Ray Carter will return to his role as general manager. Goldrick starts Dec. 1.

Jackie Hays, news anchor at WAVE Louisville, Ky., will retire at the end of the year, after nearly 22 years with the station, reports the Louisville Business Journal. Hays came to WAVE-TV in 1988 and is the co-anchor of the station’s 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

Jennifer Palumbo will once again co-anchor the 10 p.m. news with Marvin Bartlett on Sinclair-owned Fox affiliate WDKY Lexington, Ky., reports the Lexington Herald-Ledger. That returns Palumbo to the position she held from 1997 to 2002. Palumbo has been working the early-morning shift at the station since 2007, anchoring the station’s Morning Edition at 7 a.m. Palumbo left the station in 2005 to spend more time with her husband two young children. Bill Bryant and Stacy Ellison, WKYT’s 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. team, will just continue into the 7 a.m. hour. Gray-owned CBS affiliate WKYT produces WDKY’s news.

Conservative radio host Leland Conway of WLAP 630 AM Lexington has begun providing commentary on Morris-owned ABC affiliate WTVQ Lexington, also reports the Herald. Conway’s commentary will appear during the 6 p.m. newscasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Cordillera-owned NBC affiliate WLEX Lexington has hired three new staffers: Jeff Allen, Chris Sutter and Janice Park to report, write and shoot stories. The three replace reporter Amanda Hara, who moved to Nashville, Tenn., and photographers Jon Smith and Victor Puente. Puente is moving to WKYT.

Long-time reporter Doug Kriegel retired from NBC-owned KNBC Los Angeles, reports LAObserved.

Weekend sports anchor Anne Hutchinson’s contract isn’t being renewed at Hubbard’s KSTP Minneapolis-St. Paul, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Hutchinson joined the station in 2004. Before that, she was a sports reporter at CBS-owned WCCO.

Multiplatform Moves

Ben Leventhal, co-founder of the influential Eater blog, is headed to GE’s (GE) NBC Universal, where he’ll oversee “lifestyle content” for NBC’s growing local Web unit, reports AllThingsD. More details here from Leventhal himself.

D.C. Denizens

Beliefnet.com President and Co-founder Steven Waldman is joining the FCC to head an initiative that will assess the state of the media and offer recommendations for preserving it in a time of technological upheaval.  Waldman joins the commission as a senior advisor to the chairman and a member of the Office of Strategic Planning. That requires him to step down from Beliefnet and its parent, News Corp., and discontinue his blog and column for the co-owned Wall Street Journal. Waldman is the former national editor of US News & World Report and was national correspondent for Newsweek.

Tech Trades

Steve Craddock has been named EVP/CTO at PCT International, a manufacturer of access network products for cable networks, Craddock most recently served as SVP of technology in Comcast’s office of the CTO before retiring last year.


Jehmu Greene has been named the new president of the Women’s Media Center. Greene succeeds founding president Carol Jenkins, who is exiting to focus on women’s health issues in developing countries. Greene is a former advisor to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and headed up youth voter registration drive Rock the Vote.


John Garcia has been promoted to SVP/GM Latin America at Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (WBITD). Miami-based Garcia has been VP/GM Latin America, WBITD since 2005.


The Cable Hall of Fame inducted seven new members on Tuesday (Oct. 27) night: Char Beales, President and CEO, CTAM; Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks; James S. Cownie, Co-Founder and past President, Heritage Communications; Robert W. Hughes, Founder, Prime Cable, Chairman, Prime II Investments; Tom Rutledge, COO, Cablevision; Bernard Shaw, CNN Anchor Emeritus; and Tom Wheeler, Managing Director, Core Capital Partners.

Mark Burnett will be the first producer of unscripted programming to receive the Producers Guild of America’s Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television. He’ll pick up his award at the 21st Annual PGA Awards ceremony Jan. 24 at the Hollywood Palladium.

Communications attorney Wade Hargrove was honored in a surprise ceremony Oct. 28 at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC. A partner at Brooks Pierce in Raleigh, Hargrove is a giant in communications law. He’s been executive director and general counsel for the N.C. Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) executive director and general counsel for more than 39 years, general counsel at the N.C. Cable Telecommunications Associations for 30 years, and Hearst communications regulatory counsel for 20 years.  NCAB and NCCTA came together to announce they’d raised over $200,000 to establish an annual media law presentation in Hargrove’s honor. Hearst Corp., Mass Communication Foundation of North Carolina, the ABC Television Affiliates Association, Capitol Communications and Fox Television Affiliates Association also contributed to fund-raising efforts. The Wade H. Hargrove Communications Law and Policy Colloquium will feature an annual public address at the University of North Carolina by what the organizers call “a prominent national figure in communications law and public policy.”


Brent Felgner, one of B&C’s contributing editor and a veteran business journalist, passed away from cancer on Oct. 26 at his father’s home in Florida, where he and his wife had relocated earlier this year. Felgner was 57. He is survived by his wife; his father, Hans; and his son, Scott.

TV director Linda Day, died Friday (Oct. 23) in Georgetown, Texas, after a battle with leukemia and breast cancer, reported The Hollywood Reporter. She was 71. Day specialized in sitcoms, worked on shows including Married … With Children, Archie Bunker’s Place,Kate & Allie, Mad About You, Who’s the Boss?, Baby Talk, Gimmea Break!,Clueless and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Day was nominated for an Emmy, received a Humanitas prize and was honored by the DGA for paving the way for women in television. She’s survived by her husband, L. Steve Varnum; her daughter, Heidi Gutman of New York; and her sister, Nancy Riley of Oceanside, Calif.

Harvey Hudson — the longtime voice of Richmond radio, a founding partner in TVX Broadcasting Group and former vice president of Nationwide Communications and manager of WXEX (now WRIC) — died Sunday, Nov. 1, at age 88 in a local hospital, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 1400 Horsepen Road, with burial to follow in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. at Bennett Funeral Home’s West Chapel, 11020 W. Broad St.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.