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Station Break

Rowlands Heads to CNN

San Francisco—KTVU reporter Ted Rowlands will be leaving the station in early March to join CNN, sources say. He is already a familiar face on the cable net. As the Fox affiliate's lead investigator on the Laci Peterson murder case and one of only a handful of reporters to get an interview with Scott Peterson, Rowlands has appeared as a commentator on CNN as well as on Fox News and MSNBC. He has been with the station since December 2001. In 1999, while a reporter with another California station, Rowlands made news when Cary Stayner, who had been accused of murdering two women tourists in Yosemite, confessed the crime to the reporter in a jailhouse interview. Rowlands has been reporting for the morning and noon news for the station.

License to Bill

New York—Reporters avoid becoming part of the story, but that proved unavoidable for Alex Roland, a reporter for Univision's WXTV. In December, New Jersey police stopped Roland, a Colombian native in the U.S. under political asylum, on his way to the station. A case of mistaken identity caused his license to be seized on the grounds that he was in the country illegally. Ironically, the day before, he had reported on a lawsuit filed against the government by the New York Immigration Coalition to stop various agencies from providing immigration status to state motor-vehicle departments.

His status was eventually cleared up, but Roland was still charged with driving without a seatbelt and holding an expired license, both of which he denies. He was eventually cleared of the latter charge, but it still cost him $120 to get his car out of impound and a $47 fine for driving without a seatbelt. WXTV reporter Rolman Vergara aired his story in a two-part series.

Gentlemen's Agreement

Youngstown, Ohio—WKBN and news employees covered by NABET-CWA have come to terms. The union ratified a new three-year contract. It calls for a 20% health-care co-pay and a 6% raise over three years, with 2% the first year, 1% the second and 3% the third. The union had rejected an offer of a 4% raise over three years and what it considered too large a chunk of health-care costs. The workers had been locked out since Feb. 1, just before the expiration of the contract. WKBN GM David Coy described the negotiations as "civil and professional."

A Little Bit of Soul

Philadelphia—UPN affiliate WPSG has added soul to its platter of pro sports offerings. The station is the local TV-rights holder to the Philadelphia Soul, a new arena football team. It has the rights to six of its 16 games (NBC has seven, nobody has three). It carried its first game Feb. 15 between the Soul and the Dallas Desperadoes. Next up was last Saturday night's match with the Columbus Destroyers. Among the station's other sports are rights to an Eagles preseason game and 11 Sixers, 10 Flyers, and 45 Phillies games.

More Ball than Bozo

Chicago—WGN has set May 1 as the date for this year's Bozo Ball. The event, formerly hosted by WGN's Bozo the Clown when it carried the show, is in its 14th year of raising money for children's charities. It has secured $4 million so far, according to the station. Although WGN's longtime Bozo, Ray Rayner, died last month at 84, there are no plans for a tribute at the gala. "This has become less about Bozo and more about a black-tie event for charity," said a station spokeswoman.

If you have a local news item, contact Allison Romano at 646-746-7027

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.