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Station Break

Rios heads KCOP news

Longtime KTTV(TV) Los Angeles news VP Jose Rios will expand his duties to include oversight of news at Fox duopoly partner KCOP(TV). Rios's hour-long 10 p.m. newscast is a perennial winner, and the station has strong performers in its morning news and Good Day LA, now syndicated. A 20-year market veteran, Rios was news director at KCBS-TV prior to KTTV and was at KTTV when GM David Boylan began his tenure. All departments at the station have been consolidated, all under prior Fox-station leadership—including Boylan.

Rios's promotion means the departure from KCOP of another well-regarded L.A. news director, Larry Perrett. Questions over the future of both Perrett—also a former KCBS-TV news director—and KCOP news began when Fox took over the former Chris-Craft station.

The station's newscast was switched in June from an hour at 10 p.m. to a half-hour at 11, to avoid direct competition with KTTV and allow KCOP an hour syndicated-sitcom block at 10. News has continued, and Boylan said it will continue. Both stations are expected to share Fox's West L.A. facilities, a move delayed by union concerns.

KRON apologizes for private screening

The title "Puppetry of the Penis" already suggests that something other than Señor Wences's thumb would be showcased, but KRON-TV San Francisco staff didn't expect the kind of brief, no-briefs shot that made it on the air.

The shot of the "genital origami" practitioners—in a segment on its morning news show—was supposed to have been blocked to avoid the exposure of cast member Doug Friend, but the choreography proved flawed.

An on-air apology was followed by an off-air apology. "Even though the nature of live television lends itself to surprises and unexpected activities," the station said, "we take full responsibility and assure viewers that this will not happen again."

Clearly, said station manager Craig Marrs, more caution could have been exercised, but it basically was a case of bad choreography, although station officials would not confirm or deny local reports that some staffers had been disciplined. Following the exposure, the performers were chastised by news managers and escorted out, station sources said.

Sinclair names news chief

Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is launching its combined local and centralized newscast in "beta market" WSMH(TV) Flint, Mich., Oct. 28, has named Joe DeFeo its corporate news director.

Veteran newsman DeFeo had been the news director of flagship station WBFF(TV) Baltimore, helping launch news there in 1991, but was tapped earlier this year to build the group's central news operation in Hunt Valley, Md. In appointing DeFeo, Sinclair credited his leadership for the station's numerous Washington regional Emmy awards and Associated Press awards. Sinclair says it intends to use its News Central to provide news to stations that currently don't have local newscasts.

Producing for Pax

KGW(TV) Portland, Ore., will produce a 10 p.m. newscast for Paxson's KPXG(TV) Salem, Ore., beginning in January. KGW said Tuesday that the KPXG newscast will have the same look as KGW's, including the same weekday anchor team of Joe Donlon and Laural Porter, meteorologist Matt Zaffino and sportscaster Colin Cowherd.

Culliton to head KNXV

John M. Culliton, who ran stations in Minneapolis and Los Angeles for the CBS group during the 1990s, has been named VP and general manager of Scripps's KNXV-TV Phoenix.

"John Culliton has a national reputation as an innovative television executive," said John F. Lansing, senior VP for the Scripps television station group and a longtime friend and associate of Culliton.

Since leaving KCBS-TV, Culliton helped found Internet Broadcasting Systems (IBS), which co-owns and operates Web sites for major broadcast companies, and Digital Cyclone, an online and wireless service affiliated with Belo and IBS. Culliton succeeds Brad Nilsen, who is leaving KNXV-TV after 21 years but will continue as a consultant, Scripps said.

Dunsmore game

The new man at WVNY(TV) Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y., DMA No. 91, is Barrie Dunsmore, the well-known 30-year veteran of ABC News. Dunsmore has lived for years in the market with his young second family and recently decided to get back in the game, albeit on a part-time basis. He's clearly not in it for the money: "I'm doing it to keep my brain working." Look for station promos from longtime friend and colleague Peter Jennings—the best man at Dunsmore's wedding. "He's been beating up on me since I retired," says Dunsmore.