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Kirchen to Head Up WBRC

One week after it announced that Dennis Leonard was leaving WBRC Birmingham, Ala., to run KDVR Denver, Local TV named Lou Kirchen general manager at WBRC, a Fox affiliate.

Kirchen has been running WNEP Scranton, Pa., a strong ABC affiliate, for seven years.

“We heard from a lot of highly qualified people about this job,” Local TV CEO Bobby Lawrence said, “but nobody knows how strategically challenging it is to run a No. 1 station like Lou does. That was a critical component for us.”

Kirchen, also a regional vice president for select Local TV markets, will step into a similar situation as she’s had in Scranton -- keeping a top station on top.

“It may seem odd, but in many ways, keeping a station No. 1 is tougher than growing it to No. 1,” she said. “When you’re at the top, all of the arrows are pointed at you. Of course, No. 1 ratings and revenue share are required. But it takes more -- strong community involvement, agency relationships, local business development and a commitment to protecting the position 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s been my mantra for the last seven years, and I’m not about to change it in Birmingham.”

WNEP general sales manager Chuck Morgan was named interim GM. WNEP grabs about one-half of the TV revenue in Wilkes Barre-Scranton.

Local TV took over WBRC when Oak Hill Capital Partners bought a batch of former Fox owned-and-operated stations. It has an arrangement with Tribune to share back-office functions between the two station groups. Earlier this week, the two parties announced that they were joining forces at their stations in St. Louis and Denver, including KDVR.