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Station Break

Former KSAT-TV anchor pleads guilty

Just as his trial was to begin, former KSAT-TV San Antonio news anchor Gerry Grant pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. According to the agreement, he will serve five years and pay a fine of $2,000. Grant was arrested in October 2000 after undercover officers sold him explicit photos of children engaging in sex acts.

Prosecutors had planned to offer as evidence tapes of Grant discussing violent sex with children, including paying extra for sex with a very young girl and molesting a girl in Mexico. In a statement given in court, he said he had never done those things but was merely talking in what he believed to be a private encounter with a prostitute. "I am repulsed by what I said, and I'm further repulsed by what I said because I have a sexual addiction," he told the court. The remarks, the photos and his involvement with a prostitute ended his career.

In an interview with his former station, Grant's wife, Michelle, with whom he has a 2-year-old son, said she has been supportive and called the five-year prison sentence too harsh.

A new haven for DeHaven

The Viacom station group has named Walt DeHaven to head KCNC-TV Denver. He was displaced a week ago as general manager of WBBM-TV Chicago when new Viacom COO Dennis Swanson lured Joe Ahern away from ABC-owned KGO-TV San Francisco. Odd man out is Marv Rockford, the veteran TV newsman who was promoted from news director to general manager in August 1995. Rockford, who had been at KCNC-TV more than 20 years, will leave the station.

Previously, DeHaven was executive vice president of then-Paramount stations WSBK-TV Boston and WLWC-TV Providence, R.I. (both now part of the Viacom group) and had responsibility for all Paramount Northeast stations.

Dishing it out

Stations in the Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y., DMA got a big boost from high up—literally—when DISH Network began carrying them for the first time in June. Station execs say they don't expect a similar spike in HUT levels for the July book to match a reported spike in dish sales in the No. 90 DMA but are looking hopefully toward the November or February books, saying it's a huge addition to their viewer base.

"We've gotten hundreds of inquiries about where to get [DISH] dishes in the last few weeks," says Paul Sands, general manager at Hearst-Argyle-owned NBC affiliates WPTZ(TV) North Pole, N.Y., and satellite WNNE-TV Hartford, Vt., who is looking forward to higher viewership and, eventually, higher ad rates.

Mountainous terrain, which makes it difficult to receive even a strong signal, and lack of cable availability have made the market among the highest in satellite penetration—estimated locally at more than 35%. Retailers tell station owners they're experiencing an unprecedented boom due to the local-station carriage.

KHSL-TV sued

Veteran sportscaster Royal Courtain (pronounced "core-tane") has sued former employer KHSL-TV Chico, Calif., alleging age discrimination in his firing last year. Courtain, who had been with the station more than 20 years, now works for KRCR-TV Chico. Station and owner Catamount Broadcasting officials could not be reached for comment, but, in past statements, Catamount President Raymond Johns has called the dismissal "justified, fair and reasonable" and suggested that Courtain was fired for cause. Courtain says he has been defamed by such remarks.

More news in Madison

WISC-TV Madison, Wis., adds a half-hour to its local morning news this week. News 3 This Morning
expands today from 90 minutes to two hours, 5-7 a.m. CT, with the 6-7 a.m. hour rebroadcast weekdays at 9-10 a.m. The program is anchored by Rob Starbuck, Susan Siman, and meteorologist Jeff Smith.