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Station Break

If you have a local news item, contact John Eggerton at 202-659-3852

Marin Could Return to WMAQ-TV

Chicago—WMAQ-TV is apparently in discussions with former top anchor/reporter Carol Marin about returning to the station. A source confirmed a story by the Chicago Sun Times' Robert Feder that Marin could be making the move back to the station she quit in 1997. Her highly publicized resignation was prompted by the station's decision to employ talk-show host and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer as a commentator.

If she returns, it is expected to be as an investigative reporter, not an anchor. After leaving WMAQ-TV, Marin got an anchor post at CBS's WBBM-TV and also did pieces for 60 Minutes
until her contract ran out in July 2002. Asked at the time whether she'd return to local TV, she said, "I still love local news. Anything is possible."

BlueStone Buys Lamco Stations

Wichita, Kan.—Sandy DiPasquale's BlueStone Television, formed after Sunrise Television Corp. was absorbed into LIN TV in 2002, has bought its first stations, Lamco Communications' 12-station group.

Wichita-based BlueStone bought the stock, rather than the assets, which avoids a double tax hit for Lamco. BlueStone called the purchases a platform for future expansion. The company is backed by Providence Equity Partners, a $5 billion media fund.

Because Providence has an interest in a newspaper in the Greenville, S.C., market, the purchase will require the spinoff of one of the stations, WCTI(TV) Greenville, to Newport Broadcasting, a separate company controlled by DiPasquale, former president of Sunrise.

Among the outlets listed by BlueStone as stations in the group are a low-power in San Angelo, Texas, and UPN and The WB digital affiliates in Bristol, Va., and Greenville, N.C.

Do-It-Yourself Syndication

Hartford, Conn.—Elaine Irvin, a videographer at Meredith's WFSB-TV, is pitching stations on her half-hour show, Animals Everywhere. She produces and hosts the show between gigs as a vacation-relief news photographer at the station and commercial production for her own Square Tooth Productions studio. The show is already carried on Cox local-origination channels in Connecticut and Rhode Island and is about to launch on noncommercial WGBY-TV Springfield, Mass.

Irwin has been sending out e-mails to commercial stations, though, hoping to widen the net. Her goal is to syndicate the show or to produce enough episodes—she has 16 in the can—to interest Animal Planet, which she says has advised her to build a library. She says she has pitched the show to her own station management and "they are considering it."

Pigue Steps Down

Tallahassee, Fla.—Jere Pigue, president and general manager of Gray Television's WCTV(TV) and a member of the NAB TV board, has left the station post, succeeded by VP/Station Manager Nick Waller. Officially, the switch came Jan. 1, although effectively it came on Dec. 12. Pigue will continue with Gray in a consulting capacity, overseeing the building of the station's new studio, according to Gray Television President/COO Bob Prather, who said the move was a mutual decision by Pigue and the company. Pigue did not return calls.

Gillen's Qaddafi Get

WFOR-TV chief investigative reporter Michele Gillen snagged a 90-minute interview with Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qaddafi, thanks to a member of the Italian national soccer team.

Gillen had requested an interview with Qaddafi but was offered his son Saddi instead. She agreed, and the interview was held in Italy, where the younger Qaddafi is a member of the soccer team. Apparently, that interview went well enough, according to a station spokesman, that Saddi suggested his dad follow suit. Libya flew Gillen and a CBS crew to Tripoli—on CBS's dime—where she waited a couple of days before getting the interview.

It aired Monday, Jan. 19, getting an almost unheard-of nine-plus minutes in the 5 and 11 p.m. news. CBS may also air some of the interview—Qaddafi's longest, claims the station, since announcing he would dismantle his nuclear-weapons program.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.