Station Break

Nielsen to meter Knoxville, Tenn.

Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday that Knoxville, Tenn., DMA No. 62, will become a metered market in October. The research-measurement company will begin with 300 sample homes, increasing to 400 a year later. "We want to bring electronic measurement to as many markets as will support this expanded service," said Jack Oken, general manager of local services for Nielsen Media Research.

So far, only WBXX-TV, the Acme-owned WB affiliate, has signed on as a client. Other stations have expressed concerns about the increased cost and timing of the meters. WVLT-TV GM Chris Baker said his budget for 2002 had been set before Nielsen announced the measurement switch and that meters are a considerable expense.

Stations in the market currently pay in the mid five figures annually. But that could increase several-fold, depending on the pay schedule, for the combined meter/diary service. Nielsen offers sliding-scale payments to get stations to sign on to the meters at a lower monthly cost. Rates would increase as, presumably, the increased information from meters attracts more national advertising dollars to the market. Baker said his station still might become a subscriber, though not likely this year.

Jeff Lee, general manager at market-leading NBC affiliate WBIR-TV, agrees that the increased costs would be a challenge but said he will continue to talk with Nielsen.

WJLA-TV anchor Solly is dead at 53

WJLA-TV Washington reporter/anchor Dale Solly was found dead at his Silver Spring, Md., home April 27, apparently from natural causes. Friends said Solly, 53, had told them a few hours before that he was going jogging, and he was wearing running clothes when he was discovered on his patio. Preliminary medical examiner's reports said Solly suffered from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

The award-winning broadcaster was a 10-year veteran of the station, serving two stints interrupted by about five years when he worked at WJW(TV) and WKYC-TV Cleveland. A Cleveland native, he was remembered in both Cleveland and Washington as an intelligent broadcaster with a great sense of humor.

Former WJLA News Director Gary Wordlaw, now GM at WTVH(TV) Syracuse, N.Y., rehired Solly from Cleveland, calling him "one of the brightest reporter/writers I've ever had the occasion to work with. He was an ardent disciple of journalism, and, in our business, he was one of the good guys."

Solly is survived by two daughters. A memorial service is planned for Tuesday at a Silver Spring church.

KNTV becomes NBC O&O

NBC's purchase of San Jose affiliate KNTV(TV) San Jose, Calif., in the No. 5 DMA, San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland, closed Tuesday and was followed immediately by the announcement that, as expected, the station will be run by Linda Sullivan, president and general manager at NBC's WRC-TV (B&C, 4/8, page 4).

Steve Schwaid is promoted at NBC

Steve Schwaid, who has been NBC's man in San Jose, overseeing KNTV(TV)'s transition from an independent to NBC affiliate, has been named vice president of news programming for the NBC Television Stations Division.

In his new role, NBC said, Schwaid will be responsible for program development, negotiating syndication deals, digitizing the news for the Television Stations Division and coordinating division-wide news coverage. He will also work with the group's new Telemundo stations, MSNBC and CNBC in developing new synergies. Schwaid will be based in New York and report to station group President Jay Ireland.

And away they go…

Long before "yada, yada, yada," there was "homina, homina, homina." Viacom stations KYW-TV and WPSG(TV) Philadelphia and KDKA-TV Pittsburgh planned to celebrate The Honeymooners
' 50th anniversary with marathon runs of original episodes this past weekend, followed by the CBS Network special today.

On the scene

NBC's WRC-TV Washington brought out its new news chopper for aerial views of the devastation from the rare tornado that hit suburban Maryland last week. The addition of the helicopter—second in the market to WTTG-TV's—will be one of General Manager Linda Sullivan's last big decisions there, as she's moving to NBC's KNTV in San Jose (see item above).