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Station Break

Fox Buying WPLG?

Miami—Is Fox negotiating with Post-Newsweek to buy WPLG? That's the rumor swirling around Miami for a couple of weeks. However, sources at Fox say it just ain't so.

Fox is already over the current ownership cap, and the fact is, of all the networks that might want the station, its best fit is with ABC. But that group hasn't bought a station in years because it won't pay the going (and steep) rate for big-market TV stations.

Sources estimate WPLG might sell for somewhere north of $1 billion. (To give you an idea of what a media dollar's worth: Cap Cities acquired all of ABC for $3.5 billion in 1986.) Post-Newsweek executives couldn't be reached at deadline.

Farewell to the News

Boston—Peter Brown, news director for Viacom duopoly WBZ/WSBK in Boston, is hanging up his mike after 26 years in the business, the last 10 in his current post. The reason: "In the eight years since my daughter was born, I literally have never had dinner with her during the week," says Brown, who notes that, when he took on the news director job 10 years ago, the stations were doing 25 hours a week of news and sports coverage. That's now up to 42 hours.

Brown, 46, is going into PR for the one of the Boston-area hospitals.

On his watch, WBZ was awarded an Edward R. Murrow Award for best news station in the country in 2000. Last year, the station won both a Murrow Award and an Associated Press Award for best New England news station.

Replacing him on an interim basis is Matt Ellis, the assistant news director, who is also considered a candidate to replace Brown permanently, although that search continues.

Still No Disaster Plan?

Las Vegas—Two and a half years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many newsrooms still don't have a crisis plan or the background they need to help keep news and information flowing to the public in the event of another attack. Therefore, at its annual conference in Las Vegas April 17, the Radio-Television News Directors Association will present a panel, titled "Is Your Newsroom Ready?" and moderated by ABC News' John McWethy, dealing with that issue.

McWethy, ABC's chief national security correspondent, will grill a group of experts that includes Robert Stephan, special assistant to Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Department of Home Security.

News Directors Daniel Rosenheim of KPIX San Francisco and Kathy Walker of KOA(AM) Denver will also be on hand to share their experiences in putting together a crisis plan.

Separately, Ridge will kick off the RTNDA conference with the keynote speech on April 19.

Making news in your local market? Call Steve McClellan at (646) 746-7023 or e-mail him at

Hailing the Lake Effect

In a business where on-air lineups change with the frequency of the weather, veteran New England weatherman Art Lake is a rare exception. On April 6, WJAR Providence, R.I., and the state's governor and lieutenant governor will join friends, family, and staffers old and new to salute Lake on his 60th anniversary with the station and its radio predecessor.

Lake joined WJAR(AM) in 1944 as an announcer, moving to the TV station as a weekend anchor and reporter when it went on the air in 1949. He switched to weather in 1963 and has been doing the morning forecasts for a couple of decades.

He still begins the day at 3:30 a.m. to start preparing for 16 weather reports in the early news and Today show cut-ins.