Station Break

Eye on WGFL(TV)

WGFL(TV) Gainesville, Fla., has picked up the CBS affiliation in that market, filling the gap created when WJXT(TV) Jacksonville, Fla., which had provided Gainesville with CBS programming via Cox Cable, couldn't reach agreement with the network on a new affiliation deal.

Terms were not announced, but the deal is long-term. The CBS-WJXT pact halted largely over CBS's proposed reduction in network compensation.

WGFL has been a WB-UPN affiliate (both UPN and CBS are Viacom-owned). The switch to CBS affiliation will take place July 15, when WJXT becomes an independent station. The WB will be dropped, but for now, WGFL owner Harvey Budd said, UPN will still be carried on the station in the late afternoons after CBS soaps. Budd said he hopes to spin the UPN programming off to a stand-alone low-power station or directly to cable.

The station had carried The WB via broadcast in a rare small-market agreement. WB stations are typically carried only over cable in smaller markets; if The WB returns to the market, it will be by cable.

Budd is enthusiastic over the CBS deal and said local news could be in the long-term picture. The market has only one other local affiliate, ABC-programmed WJCB-TV.

Budd plans to add local news, "but we first need to make the transition to CBS. We do have a studio in the complex, and that will help."

Jack high at WRC-TV

Michael Jack, general manager of NBC O&O WCMH-TV Columbus, Ohio, has been named president and general manager of NBC's WRC-TV Washington, D.C.

He replaces Linda Sullivan, who last month took over at NBC's newly acquired KNTV(TV) San Jose, Calif. Jack also will take over as NBC's chief diversity officer from KNBC(TV) General Manager Paula Madison, who, the station group said, has a full plate with the melding of Telemundo and NBC stations in Los Angeles. Jack has been on NBC's short list for advancement and was the early favorite for the Washington job (B&C, May 13) and was also a candidate for GM jobs at KNTV and KNBC.

"Michael was hugely successful in guiding WCMH-TV to first place in prime time and late local news," said NBC Station Group President Jay Ireland. "I am confident he has what it takes to maintain WRC-TV's leadership in Washington."

Anchors away

Married WCHS-TV Charleston, W.Va., anchors Natalie Tennant and Erik Wells are leaving the station to join Bray Cary's fledgling West Virginia media network. The longtime anchors of Good Morning West Virginia
will now anchor the news at WBOY-TV Clarksburg.

The budding statewide network, which includes WBOY-TV and WTRF-TV Wheeling, has made several key personnel moves recently. Last month, TV veteran and former State Journal
owner Bill White was named general manager at WOWK-TV Huntington shortly after the station was purchased from SJL Northeast. Former KMTV(TV) Omaha, Neb., General Manager Christopher Leister was recently named senior vice president and national sales manager for the company.

Knott lands at duop

Fox Television Stations has named Stan Knott, who has been vice president and general manager of WDAF-TV Kansas City, Mo., to run Fox's new Orlando, Fla., duopoly: WOFL(TV) and WRBW(TV). He has been with the group in Kansas City since 1998. At WOFL, Knott replaces Mark Higgins, who left late last week to become vice president and station manager at Belo's KTVK(TV) and KASW(TV) Phoenix. Karen Adams, general manager at Fox's WGHP(TV) High Point, N.C., had been running WRBW.


When a firefighting plane crashed near Yosemite National Park, KOLO-TV Reno, Nev., reporter Terri Russell and chief photographer Tim Ill were nearby, covering the raging Yosemite fires and interviewing a man at a trailer park peering through his own viewfinder. The KOLO-TV crew captured the spectacular crash as the wings broke off the plane and the fuselage struck the ground. Russell reported that the plane circled before falling. The remarkable footage was picked up by all the broadcast and cable news nets. The amateur video being shot at the time also ran widely, first over KTVN(TV) Reno.