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Station Break

Baltimore news exec dies

Jeffrey Abrams, director of news operations at WBAL-TV Baltimore, died of an apparent heart attack last week while jogging near his home in Woodbine, Md., according to local sources. He was 46. Abrams supervised a team of videographers and technical staff for the Hearst-Argyle-owned station, where he had worked since 1999. He is survived by wife Joan, two children, and a brother and sister.

Thick neck, thin skin

Part-time WGNO(TV) New Orleans broadcaster and full-time New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Kyle Turley ended his brief career with the TV station following questions he didn't like from Sports Director Harry McCulla.

McCulla asked the 300-lb.-plus lineman what had happened in a less-than-divine performance in which the Saints allowed great pressure on quarterback Aaron Brooks, including a couple of sacks. "He looked at me and asked, 'Are you saying it was my fault?'" McCulla recalls.

When Turley's agent called the station, News Director Paula Pendarvis explained that the veteran sportscaster was just doing his job. Turley then decided he no longer wanted to be with the station.

McCulla, a former minor-league baseball player, says he had been a booster of the Where Y'at Turley
lifestyle spots from the oft-entertaining athlete and is sorry to see them go. "He was a good get for us," he says. "The segments were well-thought out and funny."

Weiser news head prevails at KCRA-TV

KCRA-TV Sacramento, Calif., has hired Dan Weiser as news director. He comes from WGAL-TV Lancaster-Harrisburg, Pa., where he had also been news director. Both stations are owned by Hearst-Argyle. Weiser replaces Ed Chapuis, who lost his job at the top-rated KCRA-TV last month, surprising many in and out of the market.

Hale in Hartford

Elden Hale has been named VP and general manager at Meredith Corp.'s WFSB(TV) Hartford, Conn. He has been running Hale Digital Strategies Inc. and is a past CEO of New York Times Co.'s eight-station broadcast group. He replaces Al Bova, who left the station last month.

Helloo, Columbus

Longtime WREX-TV Rockford, Ill., reporter/ anchor Heather Pick has joined WBNS-TV Columbus, Ohio, to co-anchor its morning show. In 10 years at the Rockville station, she not only had become primary weeknight anchor but also had been an executive producer.

WBNS-TV is Central Ohio's top-rated newscast, the station said. "This newscast is critically important to us and finding the right person was vital," said WBNS-TV News Director John Cardenas. In June, Lisa Kick left WBNS-TV's morning show to co-anchor WBNS-FM's morning radio show.

Both stations are owned by the Dispatch Broadcasting Group.

Hat trick for Rico

Suzanne Rico will leave NBC-owned KNSD(TV) San Diego for KCBS-TV Los Angeles, where she'll partner with Kent Shocknek on the station's morning show.

Rico, who did extensive national and international reporting at the NBC station, will also be a reporter for the CBS 2 Special Assignment unit. It means a Big Three network hat trick for Rico, who previously worked in Los Angeles as a reporter for ABC's affiliate news service News One and for its WLS-TV Chicago.

Curtis's 'get'

Those bleacher seats that KTVU(TV) Oakland-San Francisco morning anchor Mark Curtis and his son, Patrick, had for game four of the San Francisco Giants-St. Louis Cardinals NL Championship series turned out to be the best seats at Pacific Bell Park: Curtis caught Giant Benito Santiago's game-winning homer. Curtis's play-by-play: "I was in the eighth row. When Benito hit the ball, I knew it was a home run, and, although it was coming near us, I knew it would go past us by a couple of rows. Some poor guy brought his glove; it bounced off the heel over our heads to the sixth row. A couple of people collided in the sixth row going for it, and it bounced back to me." Several people reached for the ball, knocking down 7-year-old Patrick, but Dad fielded it bare-handed.