Station Break

H-A News execs get VP stripes

Hearst-Argyle has promoted News Directors Candy Altman, Brian Bracco and Gary Griffith to vice president. Altman and Bracco are former station news directors, from WCVB-TV Boston and KMBC-TV Kansas City, Mo., respectively, who became group executives, overseeing news at numerous Hearst stations. Griffith has been chief of Hearst's Washington news bureau. All three will continue to report to Hearst Senior Vice President for News Fred Young.

Portland plug-pulling

The Maine TV station that broke the story about President George W. Bush's 1976 drunk-driving arrest just before the 2000 election has pulled the plug on its local newscast. The last broadcast of Our Maine News
on WPXT(TV) Portland was scheduled for last Friday.

According to GM Ann Gagne, the single daily half-hour of news—which was not the market's lowest-rated newscast—simply did not justify its cost, and efforts to expand in other time slots were unsuccessful. About 20 full- and part-time employees, including veteran News Director Kevin Kelly, will lose jobs, station sources said.

The 10-year-old newscast had received numerous honors, including Associated Press regional awards and several Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

CBS officially taps Baur Gonzales

Nancy Bauer Gonzales was officially ensconced atop the news operations at CBS stations' new duopoly in Los Angeles, KCBS-TV and KCAL(TV). A former KNBC(TV) news director, she was new duopoly GM Don Corsini's choice to head the soon-to-be combined news departments.

Princell Hair, who had been KCBS-TV's news director since the end of last year and had been the early favorite to run the duopoly's news operations, will return to his previous role as director of news for the group. CBS executives had made it clear during early reports of Bauer Gonzales' selection that they have a high regard for Hair and want to keep him in a prominent place in the group.

WYMT news director seriously injured

WYMT(TV) Lexington, Ky., News Director and Station Manager Tony Turner was critically injured in a crash that killed a mother and her baby last week in Whitley County, Ky., and sent two other children to the hospital.

Police told the station that Turner's sport utility vehicle was struck on the driver's side when a driver traveling in the opposite direction lost control of her vehicle and crossed into Turner's lane. She and her 8-month-old child were killed. The woman's 3- and 4-year-old children were taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where they were listed in serious condition. Police said only the baby was restrained in the vehicle.

Turner, who was alone in his vehicle, suffered numerous broken bones and internal injuries, but the station reported late last week that his condition had stabilized.

Nielsen adds metered market

Nielsen Media Research said Monday that Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.-Anderson, S.C. (DMA 36)—will be the next (and 55th) market to be measured using set-tuning meters, which Nielsen considers a step up from diaries, starting in October.

Nielsen GM, Local Services, Jack Oken said the addition will "extend local, electronic ratings service to 69.2% of the U.S." According to Nielsen, Meredith-owned Fox affiliate WHNS(TV) has signed up for the service. Local metered service will begin with 400 sample homes in October, increasing to 500 sample homes by October 2003.

Ratings rise

KCOP(TV) Los Angeles's move from a 10 p.m. newscast to 11 p.m. got off to a promising start, improving its rating from a 0.5 to a 2.0 within its first full week, although it was still fourth behind the market's three O&Os. KCOP drew a 1.9 and 1.3 rating, respectively, for the first two days of last week.

Health talk

WABC-TV New York anchor/reporter Bill Ritter interviews former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani about prostate cancer, for which Giuliani has undergone treatment. The station's multi-part series on the disease will include Ritter's undergoing a live test for it.