WPIX Going the Contest Route to Elicit Morning Ratings

PIX11_LogoHow bad are the WPIX ratings in the morning? Non-existant would best describe them. The station wants to break out of the funk with a May sweeps giveaway to sway viewers from WNYW.

Tuned In has learned exclusively that WPIX will foot the bill for one year’s worth of mortgage or rent for four viewers. The desperate move is called Home Free Friday, and starts April 28. Winners will be announced each Friday in May on the PIX Morning News with Sukanya Krishnan and Kori Chambers.

We’re told that up to $1,500 per month will be handed out, and as much as $18,000 in total to one winner for their yearly mortgage or rent payment.

Viewers will watch for a code word during the morning broadcast. They will text the word to enter the drawing.

Major WPIX Overhaul Could Be on the Way

Tamsen ScottThe fate of WPIX’s news director is likely tied to next month’s pivotal ratings performance. Mark Effron got the position a year ago and, although he made several personnel moves, it’s no different than rearranging the Titanic chairs.

Channel 11 has been facing an ongoing battle for eyeballs. The numbers have remained poor, primarily at 10 p.m. with Effron ‘s biggest acquisition— when Scott Stanford was pulled away from sports for a full-time opportunity to co-anchor with Tamsen Fadal.

“There’s a growing feeling within Tribune that it’s not working at 5 and 10 [p.m.],”  a PIX insider charges.

Morning is another problem area for WPIX, with no ground gained on WNYW’s powerhouse Good Day New York. The Rosanna Scotto/Greg Kelly led program typically beats some of the big boys….having better results than NBC’s Today show.

The May sweeps could bring potential sweeping change to the Tribune flagship. Sources tell Tuned In this is a final chance for on-air talent and behind-the-scenes staffers to fight for their jobs.

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40 Years And Counting: Chuck Scarborough ‘Astonished I’m Still Here’

Chuck+ScarboroughFor a man celebrating his ruby anniversary in New York, Chuck Scarborough is certainly worthy of additional blog space. The longtime anchor is mix of gravitas and greatness. We recently wrote about his major milestone at WNBC, but without the cooperation of Scarborough himself.

At the New York Emmys Sunday night, the anchor great was on hand to receive the prestigious Governor’s Award. While there, Tuned In caught up with Scarborough and finally was granted a few minutes.

As you probably know by now, the trajectory of local news in New York was forever changed when Scarborough debuted at WNBC. It was March 25, 1974 and he was manning the first half of a new expanded two-hour NewsCenter4 broadcast. With the onslaught of Star Wars and Star Trek to follow later in the decade, there was a definite Hollywood spaceship feel at Studio 6B.

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MSG Network Leads Emmy Wins; Tamsen Fadal Named Best Anchor

tamsenThe best in local news were showcased Sunday night at the New York Emmys. WPIX and WNBC took home the most awards among the over-the-air stations. The 57th annual shindig featured trophies in more than 100 categories.

Channel 4 took the top prize–Best Newscast of the Year (over 35 minutes). Telemundo Channel 41/WNJU was a big winner in the Best Morning and Evening Newscast (under 35 minutes).

WPIX’s Tamsen Fadal (left) was a surprise Best Anchor winner. She added hardware as anchor in the Politics Special category.

WCBS’ Lonnie Quinn returns to the winner’s circle as Best Weather Anchor. His colleague Chris Wragge got another Emmy in the Live Reporter category.

Former WPIX commentator Larry Mendte was honored with three awards.

In sports, MSG’s Mike Breen took home the Play-By-Play trophy, while YES’ Jim Spanarkel was named Best Analyst.

Superstorm Sandy helped WPIX earn a pair of Emmys, including News Excellence. WABC, WCBS, and WNBC also were honored for the hurricane coverage.

Winning reporters include: WCBS/WLNY’s Alice Gainer, WABC’s Sarah Wallace, and WNBC’s Chris Glorioso.

WNBC’s Cat Greenleaf and Talk Stoop picked up the award for Best Interview/Discussion.

MSG Network topped all outlets with 14 winners. YES Network finished with 13.

Vickie Burns Exits WPIX

Vickie_BurnsWhile the ratings remain subpar at WPIX, Tuned In has learned that consultant Vickie Burns has left the building.

She had been a major sounding board for news director Mark Effron since surfacing during tbe summer. Because of her strong programming resume, which included stints running newsrooms at WNBC and KNBC, and the poor ratings, Burns was always considered a wild card to attain a larger role at Channel 11.

While it’s not clear why Burns is out, one thing appears certain: the new GM Rich Graziano is feeling pressure to right the ship.

“Graziano inherited Effron,” a source says. “He has the option to go a different route at
anytime.”

The station is badly trailing WNYW in the morning and not doing much better at 10 p.m. WPIX has made slight inroads in the crowded 5 p.m. field.

Burns’ exit could, once again, place the spotlight on Effron. With his tenure now at one year, many speculate that he won’t survive the next ratings book in May.

“The problem is there’s a severe lack of confidence in Effron and his managers,” the source says “Everyday, the station is hindered by a weak leadership team. We’re always a step behind.”

Perhaps to help close that gap, last week, the station announced veteran investigative reporter Arnold Diaz joined WPIX.

Milestone Moment: WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough Marks 40 Years On Air

Chuck+ScarboroughAmerica was in the final throws of Watergate. It was March 25, 1974 when Chuck Scarborough debuted on WNBC. An anchor from the outset, Scarborough has weathered various co-anchor combinations, multiple news directors and a sale of the company.

Scarborough, 70, and WNBC would not participate in this piece, but this celebration of four decades on the air in New York goes on without the legendary anchorman.

He’s the longest serving anchor in New York behind only Rafael Pineda, who has been seen uninterrupted on Univision’s WXTV/Channel 41 since 1972.

Scarborough was hired to helm Channel 4’s new 5 p.m. edition of NewsCenter4. Ultimately, he was named lead anchor at 6 and 11 p.m.

He had his share of on-air partners from Pat Harper and John Hambrick, to Lynda Baquero and Jack Cafferty.

But, of course, he is most remembered for his time with Sue Simmons. Their 32-year tandem ended in June 2012. (See video clip below.)

Simmons recalls the night “Chuck and Sue” was born.

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Andy Adler Returns to New York as WPIX Morning Entertainment Reporter and Sports Anchor

adlerPopular sports anchor Andy Adler is city bound! She’s been named an entertainment reporter and sports anchor for the PIX Morning News. Adler starts April 7.

Adler had a “test run” on Channel 11 as a contributor during the station’s Super Bowl coverage.

“After working with Andy during Super Bowl week, we knew she would make a great addition to our team, her talents and energy are the perfect complement to PIX11′s Morning News,” Mark Effron, VP/News Director, said.

She gained a following at WNYW as a weekend sports anchor and co-host of Sports Extra. She was field reporter for the New York Giants pre and post-game shows on Channel 5 and served as traveling reporter for New York Jets games on WWOR.

Adler had been based in Los Angeles since 2010, where she most recently was the Los Angeles Lakers pre-and post-game host on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. In addition, she was a reporter and anchor at KNBC.

“Andy’s dynamic personality will be a great enhancement to the morning news team, and her extensive sports knowledge will be a catalyst for growth as we continue to develop PIX11′s newscasts and special sports coverage,” said Rich Graziano, President/GM, PIX11.

WINS Reporter Eileen Lehpamer To Focus On TV, Going Full Time at News 12

LehpamerNo more splitting time for versatile reporter Eileen Lehpamer. She is ready to take on television in a full-time role. Lehpamer tells Tuned In that she’ll be on the crime and court beat for News 12 Long Island. She’s been a reporter at News 12 since 2003.

But her focus to TV means radio takes a backseat.

Lehpamer grew up in the business at WINS, rising up the ranks in more than 15 years. She began her WINS career as a news production assistant in 1997; a year later she became a writer. By 1999, Lehpamer started sitting at the “editor’s desk.” For the first time, listeners heard more than her name as a WINS reporter in 2001.

“It is bittersweet though to leave WINS.” Lehpamer says. “It is my home.”

The broadcasting bug first bit the native New Yorker at Fordham University’s WFUV.

Now with radio in the rearview mirror, she is ready for the challenge ahead.

“I am extremely excited and looking forward to breaking more stories in my expanded roll at News 12 Long Island,” Lehpamer says.

After her final WINS shift Sunday, Lehpamer jumps into her full-time debut the next morning.

WKJY to Drop Steve Harper as Program Director; Will Remain Morning Show Host

HarperConnoisseur Media is giving into the pressure. It is expected to announce that Steve Harper is losing his managerial role at WKJY 98.3, effective Monday. Multiple sources confirm to Tuned In that Harper will retain his morning show duties.

We’re told that afternoon jock Jon Daniels will be named the station’s program director.

The decision by Connoisseur comes as Long Island watchdog Fair Media Council chose not to withdraw their complaint with the FCC.

As we reported last month, Harper and his morning cohort, Leeana Karlson made headlines for fabricating a bit involving angry anti-gay remarks. Harper wrote on the station’s website thereafter that the hoax was to created to push the hot-button topic upon the public.

The duo was suspended for a week.

Attempts to reach GM Dave Widmer, Daniels, and Harper were not returned.

Photo: Facebook

Seth Everett Joins Mets Radio Team as Pre-Game Host

everett2Now the Mets can officially start the 2014 season.

WOR, which was named the new radio home of the Mets during the off-season, has added the final piece to its broadcast team.

Seth Everett has been named pre- and post-game host. His been heard doing sports reports on 1010 WINS and Fox Sports Radio. Everett joins veteran Mets play-by-play voice Howie Rose and Josh Lewin, teaming for their third season.

Everett tells Tuned In he’s honored to be part of that “first class group of broadcasters.”

“[I] will try my best to engage fans, both on the radio and with social media,” Everett says.

His baseball prowess shined with shows on SiriusXM’s MLB Radio Network. Everett also spent eight years at Major League Baseball Advanced Media where he was a studio host at mlb.com.

Everett succeeds Ed Coleman, the longtime Mets broadcaster who stays behind at WFAN. The sports radio station had broadcast Mets games since its debut in 1987.

“[I] will try to hold a candle to the amazing job Ed Coleman did through the years,” Everett says.

Everett and Co. crack the mic on the season with Opening Day March 31.