Station Break

WHAS-TV breaks sex/political scandal

WHAS-TV Louisville, Ky., broke the story of a scandal when it reported last week that Tina Connor, an acknowledged long-time supporter of Kentucky Governor Paul Patton and a gubernatorial appointee to some state commissions, was expected to file a civil-rights lawsuit contending that the nursing home she owns came under harsh state scrutiny—causing significant financial difficulty—after she broke off a sexual relationship with Patton.

The station's initial report included a denial from Patton. Mark Hebert's story got big play throughout the state, including newspapers and competing stations.

News Director Scott Diener said he would have liked more time to work the story, although the station did spend several weeks on it, but it would have lost its exclusive once Connor filed her lawsuit. "We don't know her claim to be true," he said, "and we haven't reported that it's true. But it's an incredible story, and I'm glad it broke on our air."

KRBC-TV reporter Servo is murdered

The death of a 22-year-old Abilene, Texas, reporter is being investigated as a homicide. Police have been spare with details but have revealed that Jennifer Servo of KRBC-TV suffered trauma to the head.

Her body was discovered Wednesday by a manager and maintenance man at her apartment complex, who had been alerted by station staff that she had not returned more than a dozen messages on her cell phone. News Director Toby Dagenhart said friends at the station noted that her car had not been moved for a few days and that her shades, usually raised a bit so that her cat could look out, were completely down.

Servo would have had her 23rd birthday today.

The station canceled its 5 p.m. newscast and devoted its 6 p.m. program to Servo's death, including several moments when a photo of the young woman filled the screen. On its 10 p.m. newscast, "we did no sports or fluff pieces," Dagenhart said.

Coincidentally, the only other homicide in the area took place in June—on the other side of a wall shared by Servo's apartment. The confessed killer in that case, in fact, turned himself in at KRBC-TV. The cases have not been linked, though. "He came to our back door to confess," Dagenhart said.

Servo began studying journalism while in the Army Reserves, where she became a sergeant and earned numerous commendations.

She continued her studies at the University of Montana in Missoula and earlier this year won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for radio reporting. In Montana, she worked for both Montana PBS and Montana Public Radio, for CBS affiliate KPAX-TV Missoula's morning show, and as a weekend reporter at KECI-TV Missoula.

Change for buch

Shawn Oswald, general sales manager of Emmis-owned WFTX-TV Fort Myers, Fla., has replaced Al Buch as VP and general manager of co-owned KSNW-TV Wichita, Kan. Buch, a veteran general manager and longtime newsman before that, has left the company.

Big Apple addition

The raiding continues in New York City. Last week, WNBC(TV)—whose corporate ranks, along with those of a few other broadcast groups, have been diminished by the departure of General Manager Dennis Swanson and a few top protégés—hired veteran WABC-TV executive producer Barbara Johnson as news director. She will report to Dan Forman, who recently left as news director at WABC-TV to become station manager and senior vice president for news at WNBC, where he had previously worked.

Name change

Today, Clear Channel's KMOL-TV San Antonio officially switches on-air to its original call letters, WOAI-TV, sharing calls with its co-owned AM radio station.