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Station Break

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Teaming Up on News

Atlanta—Gannett NBC affiliate WXIA-TV will begin producing a half-hour 10 p.m. newscast for crosstown UPN affiliate WUPA-TV, ch. 69, which will bump an off-net run of Frasier
to make room for the program. Launch is targeted for the first Monday in April, when the newscast will go head to head with the first half-hour of Fox-owned WAGA-TV's 10 p.m. news. WXIA-TV President and General Manager Bob Walker says the newscast will be co-branded, although it won't be labeled either News 11 or News 69. "We believe there is value in [viewers'] recognizing that it is from our News 11 team," he said.

WXIA-TV will add staff to handle the extra load, including likely giving some fill-in anchors a shot at full time. The two stations are billed as working together on the newscast, but WXIA-TV is clearly pulling most of the load. It will supply the reporters, videographers and anchors, many of them the same as on its own air, as well as producing the newscast out of its studio and selling the ad time. WXIA-TV also sells ad time for the Pax station in the market.

Candidates as Commodities

Noncommercial KCET-TV Los Angeles has teamed with PBS's Frontline and Minnesota Public Radio's Marketplace
to create an online futures market in presidential candidates.

The game, which can be found at, simulates a futures market, with online players buying and selling shares in the candidates. The two players with the "highest-valued portfolio" will get to attend the inauguration in Washington next January.

KCET-TV contributed Web expertise to the game, including producing an element that other PBS stations can put on their home pages for displaying updates on how the candidates are trading. The game has been up and running for about two weeks. At press time, the market was particularly volatile, with candidate's values changing as quickly as New England weather.

New Topper in Tampa

Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.—Viacom has tapped Frank Detillio to succeed Mike Conway as VP and general manager of its UPN affiliate WTOG-TV. Conway is retiring this month.

Viacom TV Stations Executive Vice President Dennis Swanson has been luring some experienced general managers away from the competition. In Detillio's case, it's from just about all of the competition. Detillio most recently had been vice president and general manager of ABC affiliate WBMA-TV Birmingham, Ala. Before that, he had run ABC, NBC, CBS and independent stations. He is also no stranger to the market, having headed Media General's WFLA-TV there, as well as owning and operating a radio station there.

Next for Nexstar

Fort Smith, Ark.—Nexstar Broadcasting Group is buying NBC affiliate KPOM-TV Fort Smith and KFAA-TV Rogers, both Arkansas, from JDG Television of Muskogee, Okla. It has been running the station under a time-brokerage agreement, which will continue, pending FCC approval of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

Nexstar has tapped Blake Russell to run both stations as vice president and general manager. Blake, who Nexstar says has turned around two stations for the company, comes from the company's KTAL-TV Shreveport, La., where he has been director of operations and marketing.

Jenkins Has Left the Building

Los Angeles—KABC-TV reporter Bryan Jenkins has apparently left the station. ABC would not comment on the departure, calling it a "personnel matter." According to Glendale, Calif., police Sergeant Kirk Palmer, Jenkins was stopped Jan. 12 on a 4462.5 of the vehicle code, a fraudulent or false registration sticker, a misdemeanor though technically an arrest. A companion was also arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Both received field citations and were not taken into custody. Jenkins was not in possession of drugs, nor was he charged, as some had reported. Palmer said he wasn't sure why the incident had received so much local press: "We must write up 10 of these [inspection-sticker violations] a day."