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Station Break

Singing Duop in Western Louisiana

Shreveport, La.— The country's No. 81 TV market is getting its first duopoly. Paxson Communications is selling KPXJ(TV) Minden, La. (in the Shreveport DMA), to KTBS Inc. for $10 million. KTBS-TV is the city's ABC affiliate and has been running KPXJ under a joint sales agreement for the past five years.

Paxson Chairman Bud Paxson said the deal is further evidence of the continued interest in his stations, "heightened by the FCC's new rules."

Edwin Wray, who runs KTBS-TV, says he plans to introduce local news on KPXJ, which currently has none. The ability of new station combos to add more news in a market has been one of the arguments made by those advocating loosening the duopoly restrictions.

The deal is expected to close this fall, pending FCC approval.

Hurler Hauls in Households

New York— When Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees threw himself into the record book with the twin accomplishments of his 300th victory and 4,000th strikeout on June 13, he also set a third record. This one wasn't for the Yankees but for WCBS-TV. That Friday-night game against the St. Louis Cardinals gave the station its highest Nielsen marks this season for Yankees games, an 8.4 rating/14 share. (The station's season-to-date average is a 7.3/13, up 1% from last year, according to WCBS-TV. It's a minor triumph, however: Most games are being shown on YES, the Yankees-owned cable network.

Growing Pains

Greenville, N.C.— Two stations in the country's No. 103 TV market are experiencing weaker signals as they convert to digital. On June 11, WITN-TV, Gray Television's NBC affiliate on ch. 7, and WNCT-TV, Media General's CBS affil on ch. 9, switched to temporary antennas, but they are only about halfway up their shared 2,000-foot tower. The stations then began installing new antennas that will broadcast the two stations' digital channels (WITN-DT will be on ch. 32, WNCT-DT on ch. 10) along with the analog signals. The stations expect the work to take two to three weeks.

War Stories

Miami— Viacom's WFOR-TV, which says its reporter Mike Kirsch was the only South Florida reporter in Iraq during the war, on June 28 will air an hour-long special on how journalists covered the war. Produced by Kirsch and compiled from the footage he and photojournalist Rudy Marshall shot in Iraq, GI Journalists—Behind Iraqi Lines
examines the relationship between the media and the military on the frontlines.

The documentary begins with the media circus's arrival in Kuwait, the staging ground for coalition troops preparing to move north into Iraq. It also features profiles of several war-zone media veterans.

Kirsch and Marshall, says WFOR-TV, were the first American journalists on the scene to report on the rescue of POW Jessica Lynch.

Bilingual and Busy

Miami— Jose Diaz-Balart is returning to Miami to do anchoring double duty. Beginning July 1, the Telemundo anchor will co-anchor NBC O&O WTVJ(TV)'s 5 p.m. news with Jennifer Valoppi, while continuing to co-anchor Hoy En El Mundo, Telemundo's national morning news program. During his original tenure at WTVJ, which began in 1988, Diaz-Balart was co-anchor of the weekend, midday and 5 p.m. newscasts in succession. He won two Emmy Awards and was part of the WTVJ team that won Peabody and duPont awards for outstanding coverage of Hurricane Andrew.

Dan Trigoboff is recovering from surgery and will return. In his absence, Mark Miller is writing Station Break and can be reached by e-mail at Readers and contributors may also send e-mails to