Station Break

Boston addition

Boston's Entravision Communications-owned Univision affiliate WUNI(TV) became the second Boston-area station to sign up for Nielsen Media Research's Local People Meter (LPM) service.

Philip C. Wilkinson, president of Entravision, called the People Meter "the gold standard in television-measurement technology." Derry, N.H.-based independent WNDS(TV) signed up only a few days before May sweeps.

Boston's other TV stations rejected the service and have sent back their Nielsen gear, changing the way advertising time is bought and sold in Beantown. The stations say the new service is unproven and flawed. LPMs have shown lower overall viewership for broadcast TV and lower ratings for Boston's major stations.

The pen is mightier

After several weeks of settlement talks, WPVI-TV Philadelphia reporter Rose Tibayan will leave the station to write her book of advice for young journalists. Neither side would comment on the amount or terms of the settlement with Tibayan, whose contract was to expire in June, but it leaves her free to work at any station in or outside Philadelphia.

Tibayan was suspended without pay in late March for continuing her work on the book without the approval of station management, an action that, the station said, was in violation of her contract. But under that same contract, the station had to begin paying her after two weeks of suspension.

Sources said WPVI-TV GM Dave Davis objected to Tibayan's using her position to access experts and other sources for her book. Tibayan remained adamant that she would not allow the station to keep her from writing the book.

Story of Sam

A quarter-century ago, Secaucus, N.J.-based WWOR-TV's Matt Schwartz was a desk assistant at WCBS(AM) New York and David Berkowitz was terrorizing the metro area with the Son of Sam killings. Last week, Berkowitz picked Schwartz from among several media entreaties for an interview in anticipation of Berkowitz's parole eligibility next month.

Schwartz credited his producer, Gerry Wagschal, with getting the interview by going in person to see Berkowitz. The confessed killer told Schwartz he wanted to ease the fears of victims' families, by saying he had found religion and did not want parole.

"What's scary," says Schwartz. "is that he's like a million other guys: very polite, very intelligent." Between July 1976 and August 1977, Berkowitz killed six people and wounded seven. This was his first local-TV interview in years, WWOR-TV owner Fox Television said.

Low-power lift-off

WBCQ-CA Cincinnati says it's on its way to becoming what it says will be the first low-power station carried via satellite. "We're not must-carry," says owner and GM Elliott Block. "We're 'should-carry.'" He said negotiations with DirecTV benefited from the station's being in the No. 32 market with a dearth of local programming, although he still hopes for more time on the dominant local cable carrier, Time Warner Cable.

Freedom fighter

KDFW(TV) Dallas reporter Jeff Crilley is trying to drum up media attention for a story he has been working for months that, he hopes, will lead to an inmate's freedom.

In February, the brother of a man sentenced to 30 years in prison for robbery confessed to the robbery. Now both inmate James Byrd and brother Donnie Johnson have passed lie-detector tests, and Crilley hopes the light shed will lead local prosecutors to move toward Byrd's release. With witnesses maintaining Byrd's guilt, Crilley says, prosecutors have resisted such a move.

Crilley says he's comfortable moving from the reporter's role to advocate's. "The reporter's job can't be just to report," he says. "I can't walk away from this. My job is to keep this in the news, to make good people do the right thing."

Formerly Bozo charities live on

Bozo may be off the air, but "The Bozo Ball 2002" still managed to raise more that $300,000 for WGN-TV Chicago's youth charities. Among those with a nose for good deeds are Joey D'Auria–who, Chicago papers report, now bills himself as "The Artist Formerly Known as Bozo"–and John Vitanovic, VP/GM, WGN-TV Chicago.