WNBC to Air 4 p.m. News Starting in May

WNBC new logoDecades ago, WNBC set local news on fire when NewsCenter4 was born, ushering in New York’s first two-hour newscast. This time they are the follower, not the leader. Channel 4 will start its early evening newscast at 4.

The move is coming to four markets in May.

That means Ellen DeGeneres‘ Show gets pushed to 3 p.m. while The Steve Harvey Show moves back to 2.

There is no word on any anchor pairings for the one-hour WNBC broadcast.

Market leader Channel 7 has been the only 4 p.m. local newscast since Oprah Winfrey’s 2011 departure.

For now, WNBC does 30-minute “segments” from 5-6:30 p.m. with Chuck Scarborough and Sibila Vargas as bookends to David Ushery and Shiba Russell, anchoring at 5:30.

WPIX Suspends Reporter for ‘Inappropriate’ Trump Tweet

new-ramos-headshotThe media onslaught is relentless when it comes to Donald Trump. However, WPIX’s Andrew Ramos crossed a journalistic line with The Donald.

Using Twitter got the Channel 11 reporter into trouble. Last month, multiple sources confirmed he used the 140 characters in a threatening tone, saying he’d like to punch the billionaire candidate.

That offensive tweet was deleted; however, Ramos did post to his Twitter account on December 9:

“I meant no harm in an earlier tweet & apologize to Donald Trump & those I offended. It was inappropriate as a journalist.”

The tweets are clearly part of business and not for pleasure. His profile points out that he’s a 4-time Emmy Award nominated reporter at PIX11.

Despite Ramos’ tail between the legs, WPIX suspended him for a couple of weeks. Tuned In has learned that Ramos returns to the station Monday. He took a planned end-of-year time off, helping to bury the story during the holidays.

A station spokesperson, though, refused to comment on the situation.

Higher-ups were apparently contemplating whether to bring Ramos back at all, but not news director Amy Waldman.

The lack of understanding on the use of social media by reporters is directly reflective of the lack of editorial judgment from newsroom management,” an insider tells Tuned In. “Waldman had no issue with it until her bosses were made aware of Ramos’ tweet.”

Photo courtesy: pix11.com

WPIX New Weekend Anchor Hired Away from Channel 7

RamaWeekends at WPIX will have a new look in the new year. As we previously reported, Channel 11 is moving Kaity Tong back to weeknights as part of an expanded early evening broadcast with WWOR castoff Brenda Blackmon.

Kala Rama (left) is making the switch from reporter at Eyewitness News, the market’s top station, to weekend co-anchor at PIX. She’ll be joined by a Channel 11 veteran Craig Treadway. Rama will return to the street three days during the week.

A Fairfield County native, Rama tells Tuned In that making it to the anchor desk has been a goal. “My dream has always been to report in New York City. I achieved that in 2015 at ABC7. And now, 2016 brings another accomplishment I’ve dreamed of for years.”

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WPIX Adds 6:30 p.m. Newscast to Schedule

WPIX151206220111You can call Kaity Tong (left) a WPIX survivor. She weathered the storm when she was relegated to weekends five years ago.

Now the 23-year PIX veteran is ready to start anew. She’ll co-anchor a new 6:30 p.m. weeknight broadcast starting next month. Another familiar face to viewers, Brenda Blackmon, is coming on board to join Tong on the 30-minute newscast.

Blackmon spent 23 years at WWOR until Fox canceled its 10 p.m. broadcast in 2013, which she anchored for many years with Harry Martin.

blackmon300“Brenda is one of the most recognizable and talented journalists in the market, and we are thrilled to pair New York news icons Brenda and Kaity at the anchor desk of PIX11’s newest newscast,” WPIX President/GM Rich Graziano said in a statement.

Tong has been a fan favorite during her time at PIX, especially since dealing with the station adversity. She responded to numerous congratulatory tweets. In one saying, “Cannot WAIT to sit beside Brenda.”

Tamsen Fadal and John Muller hold down the fort from 5-6:30 p.m., before returning after dinner break for the 10 p.m.

Channel 11 will have the only local option opposite the network’s big three newscasts.

We’re not sure what this means for the Craig Ferguson-hosted game show, Celebrity Name Game, currently occupying the 6:30 p.m. slot.

Hip-Hop ‘Empire’ Takes Over Fox 5 News Each Wednesday

WNYWIt’s another example of the troubling state of local news.

In an effort to promote the second season of Fox’s successful drama, Empire, based on the music industry, WNYW is unthinkably giving away its last 30 minutes following each episode. Anchors Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander host the After Empire party, complete with hip-hop themed performances and DJs spinning on the turntables. Even this week, just 24 hours after a cop was gunned down, wasn’t enough to alter their programming, although hosting duties went to entertainment reporter Simone Boyce.

Yes, a station’s late newscast (still has the Fox 5 graphic in the corner with time and temperature) airing live music. Ever heard of that one?

This makes sense on the morning newscast Good Day New York, especially in the lighter 9 a.m. hour where performers regularly take the stage.

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WPIX Anchor Tamsen Fadal Draws Ire of Viewers

tamsen3Instagram, Twitter, Facebook—take your pick. Social media platforms are here to stay. And, apparently, so is how the news personalities use it.

The millennials rule the world. You see people everywhere looking down at their smartphones while walking, or sadly even behind the wheel. You would think news organizations are above the fray.

We’ve seen a marriage in recent years between local news and social media. Reporters can promote a story with photos from a scene. Think of it as a director’s cut on a DVD or Blu-Ray, providing extra content for interested followers. The person in the field can even engage in an impromptu live chat before going on the air. It’s a win-win for the journalist, the audience, and of course, the station.

But too many times, it doesn’t work, and is actually being abused by the talent. Even when beneficial, how often are the reporters more concerned with getting that shot for their social media fans than working on the on-air package?

Then there are the anchors who have a different mindset. Several want to stay connected with their loyal base, to the point of writing about personal information. For example, a veteran morning anchor took to Twitter, posting a picture sitting in the ER in a leg cast; another gave a medical update or his injured eye.

“Is anything private?” questions a veteran broadcasting insider.

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Source: WCBS’ Cindy Hsu Out on Medical Leave

cindyIf you’ve been tuning into Channel 2 on the weekend, you’ve noticed Cindy Hsu is M.I.A. from her anchoring duties.

The veteran WCBS weekend anchor hasn’t been on the air since late July. Hsu’s absence is shrouded in secrecy.

However, the mystery may be somewhat revealed.

While most people in the newsroom are in the dark as to the circumstances, a station insider believes Hsu is on short-term medical leave. No other details are known, but the insider says it’s “nothing dire” and that Hsu is “going to be OK.”

The source adds that the station is anxious to welcome Hsu back at the Broadcast Center.

The 49-year-old Emmy winning anchor/reporter has been a mainstay at Channel 2 for 22 years.

Update: Ann Mercogliano Joins Inside Edition

AnnMercogliano73013Ann Mercogliano, a versatile New York City reporter, is going national. She is now a member of Inside Edition. The newsmagazine is seen at 1:30 pm weekdays on WNYW/Channel 5.

Mercogliano quietly started last week as a freelancer, Tuned In has learned, while correspondent Megan Alexander is on maternity leave.

Mercogliano apparently told people last month she was exiting WPIX for a role at WABC/Channel 7, as we reported at the time.

With stints at WNBC and WCBS, along with Channel 11 gig, she became the Tim McCarver of local news. (McCarver, a longtime major leaguer, was a sportscaster on every major network.)

Mercogliano’s New York rise began in 2010 when she arrived at Channel 4.

Her reporting chops grew over the years, first with lighter fare, including a trip to London for the Royal Wedding, (which got the popular brunette an Emmy Award nomination), and how to stuff your Thanksgiving turkey. She was on the street for a many hard news stories since joining WPIX in 2013.

Photo: nycnewswomen.blogspot.com

Veteran Reporter Sarah Wallace Heading to WNBC

sarah

Wallace ready for new start at Channel 4

If Al Michaels can move to NBC after several decades and several Emmys at ABC, why not Sarah Wallace on the local level?

A distinguished 30-year career for Wallace at WABC/Channel 7 ended abruptly in February due to a clash of styles with news director Camille Edwards.

Now WNBC/Channel 4 is coming to the rescue, bringing the famed reporter back on the air. She’ll be a member of the station’s I-Team, investigative unit. Tuned In has learned she’ll debut shortly after Labor Day.

“Sarah Wallace is a reporter’s reporter,” Susan Sullivan, WNBC news director, said in a statement.

Insiders say Sullivan’s hard news focus is a good fit for Wallace.

WNBC is beefing up its I-Team that already includes Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst, Melissa Russo and Pei-Sze Chang. Insiders say Wallace’s hire signals their re-emphasis on investigative journalism.

Wallace has been a fixture in New York since joining Channel 7 in 1984. The veteran reporter is beloved among viewers and newsrooms.

insiders say Wallace received dozens of calls from her former Channel 7 colleagues. The overwhelming feeling is that WABC’s loss is WNBC’s gain.

Wallace has a mantle full of trophies, from 15 Emmy Awards to a Peabody and a couple of Murrow Awards.

Freelance Reporter Ann Mercogliano Exiting WPIX

PIX11_LogoShe’s made the rounds in New York, but multiple sources say the versatile Ann Mercogliano is ending ties with WPIX. Tuned In has learned Mercogliano’s last day in Monday. We’re told Channel 7 will be her next stop.

Mercogliano, previously worked on WNBC, transitioning from soft pieces at LX New York (today’s New York Live) to harder reporting. She also had a brief stint at WCBS/Channel 2 before Channel 11 came knocking.

“I enjoyed working with her. I think it’s a shame that they’re letting her leave and never gave her a staff position.”

Mercogliano’s tenure at PIX lasted 2 1/2 years.