Jim Douglas Joins WCBS-FM as Back-Up Saturday Night Voice

Jim-DouglasIt’s a homecoming for Jim Douglas. The former Fresh 102.7 morning man is returning to the air and CBS Radio on Hudson Street. This time the veteran air personality is the Saturday night fill-in for Joe Causi starting tonight at WCBS-FM.

Douglas left Fresh in October, leaving his legions of fans to wonder what’s next.

His work down the hall from the Fresh studios is a full-circle experience for Douglas.

“I was an intern there when I was 18 and now I get to sit in the ‘air chair,’” Douglas tells Tuned In.

It was a five-year stint at Fresh for Douglas, who also talked up songs on WKJY (KJOY) 98.3 on Long Island and the defunct “Mix 105″ in New York.

But for Douglas, the future is now at the classic hits station.

“I can’t begin to say how excited I am.”

Tuned In Exclusive: Lisa Colagrossi’s Husband Says Morning Shift Was ‘Contributing Factor’ to Her Death

11081013_402089466636141_5445076497163986496_nIt’s been a month since the WABC-TV family lost Lisa Colagrossi. But the ones really dealing with the tragedy are her husband of 17 years, Todd Crawford, and her two boys.

Crawford, in an exclusive conversation with Tuned In, says he’s overwhelmed by the support from the broadcasting industry.

“It was very comforting and very touching,” Crawford says. “What we knew before all of this happened is how important that she was to us. But what we didn’t realize was how special she was to a lot of other people around the country.”

While Crawford is so appreciative of the condolences, he recognizes it can only provide temporary support.

“We’ll never replace someone like Lisa. We would need four people to replace one Lisa; that’s how much she meant to our family.”

Colagrossi died suddenly from a brain aneurysm after working on a story in Queens for the morning newscast on Channel 7.  Crawford says the medical problem is genetic, but Colagrossi had no symptoms and there was no a family history.

Continue reading

Tributes for Veteran Business Anchor Ken Prewitt, Dead at 68

Ken-PrewittKen Prewitt, a man who brought his strong knowledge of financial news to radio and TV for decades, has died. He was battling brain cancer since 2012. Prewitt was 68.

In command of his copy, Prewitt was known for long stints providing business news updates on various stations, primarily WCBS 880, first with Wall Street Journal Radio, then through Money Magazine.

During the last decade, Prewitt redefined his spot as one of the best business broadcasters, bringing his booming voice to Bloomberg Radio in 2005, serving as morning host for much of that time until his illness forced a leave in 2013.

Veteran broadcaster Janice Kirkel shares a unique perspective on Prewitt, having worked together at Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

“Ken was someone you could talk about absolutely anything with — not just business news, but theater, history, politics, music,” Kirkel, a WFAN update anchor, tells Tuned In. “He always had great stories to tell and a great sense of humor.”

Continue reading

Frank Cipolla Relives Best Moments for Autobiography

CIPOLLA 8x10 HEADSHOT 1-15Whether you know his work from name, voice, or face, chances are if you’ve been paying attention to New York news coverage in the last three decades you know Frank Cipolla.

His longevity and versatile reporting skills for radio and TV are the framework for his 2011 autobiography, It Shocked Even Us and More Crazy Stories Covering Local News. (Available directly through Cipolla’s website, itshockedevenus.com)

No need to be a war correspondent for anecdotes. Cipolla has tons, probably enough for another installment from his beat in the five boroughs and New Jersey. His time at WNBC is a favorite chapter worth the price of the book on its own. As a newscaster, Cipolla was on the front line for some of biggest egos in the business: Howard Stern, Don Imus and Soupy Sales.

Cipolla tells Tuned In it was equally stressful and hilarious.

Continue reading

Diana Williams Takes Leave of Absence from Channel 7

wabc_bio_dianawilliams_160x200Longtime anchor Diana Williams is taking a break from her duties at WABC-TV. She wrote on her Facebook page that she’s stepping away to care of her ailing husband.

“On Friday we said our goodbyes. For those who have been following me via social media my husband will begin a bone marrow, now referred to as a stem cell transplant, starting today. And I will be at his side as he gets a new birthday,” Williams tells her Facebook followers. “I bid farewell to the best team you could ask for on Friday as I take a leave of absence from work. I don’t know how long I will be gone but I couldn’t do this without the support of my amazing co-workers. God bless them and all of you.”

If, or when, Williams will return is undetermined. Her tenure at WABC started in 1991. She co-anchored several years with Bill Beutel. These days Williams has been the co-anchor at 5 p.m. with Sade Baderinwa.

It’s been a difficult several weeks for WABC staffers. Last month, Sarah Wallace abruptly quit after three decades covering stories. But the station was emotionally rocked on March 20, when reporter Lisa Colagrossi died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage.

Photo: 7online.com

Michael Jack Successor Expected to be Named Monday

mj+new1WNBC is ready to hand over the reigns of power. Tuned In has learned that Channel 4 is holding a staff meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

While details haven’t been revealed, it appears the newsroom will learn that WCAU President and GM Eric Lerner is succeeding Michael Jack in those roles.

At that same time, sources say NBC’s WCAU in Philadelphia has called its own full staff meeting.

Jack previously announced his Channel 4 retirement for June. He has been in charge of the NBC flagship station for five years.

During Jack’s tenure at 30 Rock, Comcast completed its purchase of General Electric, which was finalized in March 2013.

Under Jack’s leadership, there was tumult in the ratings. A handful of anchor changes dotted the landscape in the last few years and viewers needed a scorecard to know the talent.

Tom Llamas left for ABC News last year, causing Channel 4 to form a split newscast at 5 p.m. Speaking of split, the anchor team of Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell was broken up in early 2014. Russell, hired in the summer of 2012, was swapped with Sibila Vargas, who along with Rob Schmitt was brought in from KCBS in Los Angeles. Another anchor added to the roster was Stacey Bell, who joined WNBC on the weekend desk last year.

Jack’s WNBC bio indicates that he managed the local website nbcnewyork.com and additional platforms including taxis and PATH trains.

Lerner has been with WCAU for four years. Prior to that, he had a six-year stint as GM at KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle.

Photo: nbcnewyork.com

Colleagues Cope with Loss of Lisa Colagrossi

11081013_402089466636141_5445076497163986496_nFriends and co-workers are in mourning after the stunning death of Lisa Colagrossi. The veteran Channel 7 reporter died from a brain hemorrhage after covering a story Thursday morning. She was 49.

Longtime WABC-TV anchor Bill Ritter says what most close to Colagrossi are feeling.

“We are all crushed, devastated,” Ritter tells Tuned In. “Lisa was the ultimate pro, and set the bar for how to work hard and effectively as both an immersed reporter and an immersed mom and spouse. I’m filled with sorrow, but also with joy for having known her.”

A familiar face since joining WABC in 2001, at home Colagrossi was hockey mom to her two sons.

In a statement, Dave Davis, President and GM at WABC, says, “All of us in the Channel 7 family are in shock over her sudden death, Our attention is now focused on helping her husband and two children through this difficult time.”

After finishing her morning shift covering a Queens house fire, Colagrossi collapsed in the news van and was rushed to the hospital. Unable to regain consciousness, she died Friday morning.

Continue reading

Channel 7 Reporter Lisa Colagrossi Dies From Aneurysm

wabc_bio_lisacolagrossi_160x200Lisa Colagrossi, well respected within the walls of WABC-TV and among her many peers, died after suffering a brain aneurysm while on a story Thursday in Queens.

Tuned In learned the family made the painful decision to remove Colagrossi from life support Friday morning. She was 49.

She worked the early shift on Eyewitness News This Morning to spend more time with her boys, ages 11 and 15.

Colagrossi joined Channel 7 in September 2001, freelancing just days after the 9/11 attacks.

One good friend and local broadcaster describes Colagrossi as “kind, generous, and a women’s woman in a business that is tough for women to be together.”

Perhaps shocked, the station did not air a tribute Friday. Many colleagues, however, turned to Twitter and Facebook to grieve.

Continue reading

Sarah Wallace Appreciates ‘Great Support’ from Former Channel 7 Co-Workers

wabc_bio_sarahwallace_160x200There is shock and sadness still permeating Channel 7. It’s been a week since venerable investigative reporter Sarah Wallace left the station. Questions remain as to why she’s no longer part of the “Circle 7″ staff after more than three exemplary decades.

Did Wallace quit? Did she get fired? Was she pushed out by News Director Camille Edwards?

While it may take time for those answers to be revealed, it is clear that the station is devastated by the abruptness of her departure and lack of closure.

“People are heartbroken at the loss. Sarah is respected, admired and loved by her colleagues,” a station insider tells Tuned In. “It’s like a death in the family.”

One veteran anchor takes it a step further for her longtime friend and colleague.

WPIX’s Kaity Tong writes on her Facebook page that Wallace is “absolutely THE most dedicated, tenacious, fair, and professional journalist around. She is brilliant. And has been brilliant for more than 30 years.”

Continue reading

Veteran WABC Reporter Sarah Wallace Quits After Three Decades

wabc_bio_sarahwallace_160x200Longtime investigative reporter Sarah Wallace is no longer at Channel 7. Insiders tell Tuned In the award-winning reporter abruptly left the station Thursday.

There is some confusion surrounding her departure.

“We don’t know what happened,” a source says. “She’s a great reporter and a huge part of the Eyewitness News team. But why this happened – no one has said and no one seems to know.”

But we do know she is beloved by most at the station. Her former co-workers started sending an email chain sharing how they felt about her work.

“The outpouring of support for her has been huge,” another insider says.

That outpouring is apparently not extending to management. News director Camille Edwards sent a two-sentence note to staffers saying, “I wanted to let you know that Sarah Wallace is no longer with Eyewitness News. We want to thank Sarah for her many years of service and wish her the best,” FTVLive reports.

It all started for Wallace at WABC in 1984, originally as a consumer reporter.

But she found her calling on the investigative beat, where she would chase down subjects with a kinder/gentler version of Mike Wallace’s ambush theater perfected on 60 Minutes.

Continue reading