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Station Break

Ready for rough weather

WPVI-TV Philadelphia last week introduced its StormTracker 6, which it calls "the most powerful live radar from [the Delaware Valley] to Maine." The radar is located at the North American Technology Center in Warminster, Pa., and includes an 18-foot radome, the dome-shaped housing protecting the radar antenna, atop a 142-foot tower.

Ethics under pressure

KOMU-TV Columbia, Mo.'s "no pins, no flags" policy has drawn criticism from legislators and endangered its university funding in the post-9/11 environment. But the University of Missouri-owned station's adherence to that policy, despite the pressure, brought it the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics from the University of Oregon School of Journalism.

"We were not passing judgment one way or another on the policy," said Journalism School Dean and Professor Tim Gleason. "I suspect that members of the committee may have different views [on wearing flags or patriotic pins]. Our concern has to do with the integrity and the autonomy of the newsroom. We think the news director and staff have demonstrated that integrity."

Republican state legislators who criticized News Director Stacey Woelfel's decision to ban the patriotic symbols in the newsroom have endangered overall university funding. The state's two houses will have to affirm or restore proposed cuts over the next few weeks.

Neither Woelfel nor Gleason felt the policy stifles free speech. "The demonstration of personal opinion through a symbol," Woelfel said, "is something you voluntarily give up when you enter this profession, although not everyone agrees."

Clear Channel re-ups

Clear Channel Worldwide did major business with CBS and co-owned UPN last week, with nine stations in eight markets.

As expected, WTEV-TV, Clear Channel's UPN affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla., signed a long-term agreement to be the CBS affiliate in the market effective July 15. The UPN affiliation switches to Clear Channel's co-owned Jacksonville station, WAWS-TV.

That station will remain a primary Fox affiliate, with UPN as a secondary affiliate—airing UPN programs out of pattern. WTEV-TV replaces Post-Newsweek's WJXT(TV) as the CBS affiliate there after Post-Newsweek-owned WJXT, an affiliate for 53 years, and the network could not come to terms on renewal.

In addition, Clear Channel has renewed long-term primary affiliation agreements with UPN in seven markets.

Jordan joins WFTV

Cox-owned WFTV(TV) Orlando, Fla., last week hired former WPTV(TV) West Palm Beach, Fla., GM Robert Jordan to replace News Director Lyn Tolan.

Jordan was an anchor there, as well as news director, during the 1970s and 1980s. "He's the guy credited with laying the foundation for the success of WFTV news," said GM David Lippoff, himself a former news director.

Anchor Bob Opsahl, who had been brought to the station by Jordan, said in a statement: "I can't think of a better choice. Bob Jordan is the person that started Channel 9 Eyewitness News on its road to success, and I'm confident that he can take us to the next level."

Jordan left WPTV last October amid labor problems with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. Lippoff said he was not at all put off by the difficulty reported with NABET in West Palm Beach. "The performance of that TV station under Bob's tenure and the people he brought in there speaks for itself."

Sullivan to San Jose

WRC-TV Washington GM Linda Sullivan will be NBC's choice to head its newest station, KNTV(TV) San Francisco, once the deal with Granite Broadcasting closes (B&C, 4/8), according to NBC sources.

Officially, NBC said last week it was premature to confirm Sullivan's selection. But an announcement is expected when the deal is finalized, possibly Tuesday.

Sullivan, who has been running Washington's market-leading WRC-TV for nearly five years, will move from the No. 8 market to No. 5. She replaces Bob Franklin, who took the Granite station through its transition from an independent to an NBC affiliate during an explosive time for Bay Area television.

Meet me in Houston

Jeff Alan, who was news director at KDNL-TV St. Louis when Sinclair pulled the plug on that station's news department, has resurfaced. Alan, author of the book, Responsible Journalism,
will be news director at the new Time Warner Cable-Belo 24-hour cable news effort, Houston News Channel. Alan said he'll be hiring producers, reporters, anchors and other staff for the startup, expected to launch late this year.