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Lockout at WKBN-TV
Youngstown, Ohio— CBS affiliate WKBN-TV last week barred its door to about 40 news staffers, including anchors, reporters and videographers.
The move came after NABET-CWA Local 47 rejected parent Piedmont Broadcasting's contract offer. According to General Manager David Coy, the station had reached a tentative agreement with a local bargaining committee, but it was rejected by the rank and file. CWA spokesman Jeff Miller said the workers were surprised by the lockout and had been prepared to continue working while negotiating. The union objected to a proposed quadrupling of health-care contributions and a pay freeze in year one, followed by a 2% boost in years two and three.
The contract expired Jan. 31. Ordinarily, the station has 40 to 50 staffers working under News Director Gary Coursen and does morning, noon, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts, as well as producing a 10 p.m. newscast for a pair of LPs programmed as a Fox affiliates. It was still producing all but the morning show last week, using a crew of 15 to 25 managers, news producers operating under a separate NABET contract, engineers covered by the IBEW, and nonunion personnel, including Coursen and the sports department.
If Coursen's name is familiar, it's because WKBN-TV is the station that made national headlines in December when he accepted the resignation of morning anchor Catherine Bosley following her vacation striptease.
At press time, a meeting was scheduled, and General Manager David Coy was extremely hopeful a settlement could be reached by late last week. "I told our morning-show producers to start putting together that newscast."
Indiana Broadcaster Dies
Indianapolis—Christopher Duffy, 67, chairman and CEO of Wabash Valley Broadcasting, died Jan. 28 at the Ruth Lilly Hospice. A lifelong broadcaster, he worked at stations in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Chicago before coming to Indianapolis in 1975 to run then WLW-TV (now WTHR-TV). With some partners, he started up UHF WPDS-TV.
He became a broadcast consultant to Mary George Hulman, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and went on to head its co-owned Wabash Valley Broadcasting division. He secured the first live-coverage contract with ABC for the Indy 500, which had previously aired on a tape delay.
Survivors include his wife, Roberta; daughters Maureen, Karen and Susan; son Christopher; and brother Jim, retired VP, public affairs, for Time Warner Cable.
The A-Plus in ABC
Milwaukee—WISN-TV has made it 2 for 2. For the second straight year, the station is the top-rated ABC station in prime time delivery of adults 25-54, the key selling demo. It also came in second in 18-49s. At right is a list of ABC'S top stations and their Nielsen rating averages in adults 25-54.
Getting With the Local Program
New York—WNBC-TV has re-upped local sports show Mike'd Up through 2006. The Sunday-night sports wrap-up, hosted by Mike Francesa, averaged a 4.5 rating/9 share average in January, up 22% from the year-ago month.
WHDH-TV's satellite truck (above) was vandalized during an overenthusiastic Super Bowl celebration. "They ripped off the side mirrors, damaged the sliding door, broke the front window and tried to climb on top of it," said News Director Ed Kosowski, adding that the vehicle was still operable and the damage not too severe. Securing a police escort to get the truck to relative safety, the station went live with a shot of the damage.
No one was injured in the incident, but a man was killed in another part of the city during the celebration. Kosowski says the station obtained home video of a man being run down and killed by a driver later charged with DUI. It aired the video, but Kosowski says the carefully edited shot ended just short of impact.
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