Station Break

Hoosier Next Owner?

Terre Haute, Ind.— WBAK-TV is being courted by at least three companies, one of them already a station owner in the market. General Manager John Newcome said there are three offers on the table for the long-troubled station, one from Nexstar, which already owns WTWO(TV) in DMA 146. Nexstar officials had no comment, and the other interested companies were not named.

Nexstar is already involved in several agreements combining stations in a single market, ranging from duopolies to the shared-service agreements pioneered by the company. Despite FCC-required "voice" tests, the Bahakel station could qualify as a duopoly partner as a "failing" station based on audience share and financial condition, although out-of-market buyers may be favored by the agency. Nexstar has long been believed to be interested in the station, but past word inside the market that a deal had been done proved premature at least.

Doerr Goes Home

Cleveland— Steve Doerr, veteran newsman and a former station general manager and senior vice president for news with NBC, has returned to local news—and to his hometown—as news director for Raycom's duopoly of CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO(TV) and WUAB(TV), a UPN affiliate. Doerr replaces Leesa Dillon, who left the stations in January.

Doerr was senior vice president of news, programming and creative development when he left NBC a year ago after a falling-out with management. Previously, he'd been general manager at KXAS-TV Dallas, WCAU(TV) Philadelphia and WRC-TV Washington.

"It's a great station, and [General Manager] Bill Applegate is a legend and a great guy," said an enthusiastic Doerr. "My first night here, we won at 11." Typically, though, WOIO's action news finishes third against stiff competition from Scripps Howard's WEWS(TV) and WKYC-TV at 11 p.m., and WUAB's 10 p.m. news is a distant second to Fox-owned WJW(TV), which often has the best numbers in late-night news.

New NDs for Twin Cities

Minneapolis— Two stations here have new news directors, one of them a former Minneapolis news director. Ted Canova, who had been news director at Viacom's WCCO-TV here until January 2002 replaces Dana Benson, who left in January. Canova joined the station as assistant news director in October.

Chris Berg, who has been news director at Hubbard's KOB-TV Albuquerque, N.M., will move to the Twin Cities to become news director at KSTP-TV. KOB-TV showed significant ratings growth in the six years Berg spent at the station as assistant news director and news director. He replaces Scott Libin, who took a fellowship with the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Hubbard downsized its Minneapolis news operation in 1999 and again early this year in and ended its hour 9 p.m. newscast on duopoly station KSTC-TV in January.

There She Is...Allison Kotowski

Myrtle Beach, S.C.— Weathercaster Allison Kotowski of WRDW-TV North Augusta, S.C., was named Miss Myrtle Beach and will compete in the Miss South Carolina pageant this summer. Her platform will be the National Safe Kids Coalition. Kotowski says she was drawn to the cause by a childhood car crash that might have killed her but for the safety seat she was in.

Kotowski said that, in college, she was contacted by Playboy magazine about representing The Girls of the University of South Carolina, but she refused. "I want to be Miss America," she said, recalling the experience of Vanessa Williams, the Miss America whose crown was taken away after nude photos from her past were uncovered and published.

Salute to a News Guy

TV news icon Ted Kavanau (second from left), founding news director of New York's Channel 5 10 O'Clock News—when the station (now WNYW-TV) was WNEW(TV) and owned by Metromedia—was honored last week by the Friars Club in New York. Helping celebrate are (l-r) former WNEW-TV producer and now CBS News President Andrew Heyward; Reese Schonfeld, who hired Kavanau during CNN's early days; and former 10 O'Clock News
executive producer Victor Neufeld, now senior executive producer for 20/20.