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Station Break

Hazardous duty

WAOW-TV Wausau, Wis., reporter-producer Mindy Zubcic had to struggle to free herself from a seaplane that dove into a lake and sank.

Zubcic, 22, was doing a story on an air show at Merrill Airport Sunday, Aug. 5, and was invited for a ride by the pilot. Apparently, the pilot failed to retract the landing gear as he put the plane down on nearby Lake Alexander. Both pilot and passenger were able to get free. Zubcic was treated for minor injuries.

"Mindy was trapped under water for about 30 seconds before she managed to get her seatbelt off," the station said in its report on the incident.

"I didn't even realize what was going on at first," Zubcic said, "When I first felt the splash, I thought that was unusual, but I've never landed in a plane in the water before."

GM Reingold leaves WUSA

WUSA(TV) Washington General Manager Dick Reingold resigned last week, he said, to assemble an investment group to purchase small- and medium-market TV stations. The appointment of the former WRC-TV news director and NBC Asia bureau chief in 1998 was well-received after a tumultuous period at the Gannett station, but the station has not been able to overtake market leader WRC-TV in ratings.

Running the station now will be Artyth Diercks, an experienced Gannett manager who will also continue to oversee Gannett stations WFMY-TV Greensboro, N.C.; KTHV(TV) Little Rock, Ark.; WMAZ-TV, Macon, Ga.; and WLTX(TV) Columbia, S.C.

Woodcock to KCBS

David Woodcock, who has already run two stations in Los Angeles, will run a third, this time for CBS' station group. Woodcock, who only a week ago lost his job as general manager at KCOP(TV) when Fox took over the Chris-Craft station group, was named vice president and general manager at KCBS-TV. The talks between CBS and Woodcock clearly preceded management changes at KCOP. He replaces retiring John Severino, who plans to continue as a consultant through the transition, CBS said.

From 1991 to 1996, Woodcock was president and general manager of Disney's KCAL-TV Los Angeles.

Changes in the weather(caster)

Former longtime WHDH-TV Boston meteorologist Mish Michaels has joined WBZ-TV Boston. Michaels was a weekend weathercaster for nearly a decade in Boston before leaving for The Weather Channel, where she will continue as co-host of Atmospheres
and host of The Weather Notebook.

The Philadelphia anchor story

CBS' KYW-TV Philadelphia is making changes in its anchor lineups next month, with familiar faces Dave Frankel and Dawn Stensland possibly leaving the station. Moving up is morning and noon anchor Pat Ciarrocchi, who will anchor at noon and 5 p.m. with Ukee Washington. Stensland is being dropped from the 5 p.m. spot.

Station fixture Larry Kane picks up the 6 p.m. news, which he will co-anchor with Siani Lee. Kane will also co-anchor the 11 p.m. news, with Denise Saunders, who is moving up from weekends. Frankel loses the 6 p.m. anchor slot and is likely to leave the station before his contract expires in March. Stensland is in talks with GM Marcellus Alexander about a different role at the station, sources said.

The station said the moves were in the works before the hiring of CBS Evening News
Producer Susan Schiller as news director and were made by Alexander and station group news VP Joel Cheatwood, who used to be station manager at KYW-TV.

Public records are public again

Wichita, Kan., media won a victory for public-records access when Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Buchanan unsealed a 911 transcript and autopsy results locked up following a quadruple homicide last December. KWCH-TV and the Wichita Eagle
sought the records of the sensational crime, but a trial judge had cut off access to court proceedings and case records, including emergency dispatch tapes, medical records and police reports. Local media had amicus
backing from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, which praised the decision.