‘Hey Kemosabe’ Brings Front-Row Seat for Musicradio WABC Era

KemosabeIt was a magical time in New York radio. Musicradio 77 WABC was the center of the universe for any Top 40 fan. But 77 was also the hottest spot on the dial for the country’s most acclaimed jocks.

Chris Ingram has placed us in the middle of that frenetic era. His new book, Hey Kemosabe! The Days (and Nights) of a Radio Idyll (Dog Ear Publishing) gives readers an equally fast-paced look at some key moments. (And I’m not just saying that because of my gig as 77 WABC street reporter!)

Yes, Ingram has some familiarity on the subject. His dad (who recently turned 80) is Dan Ingram. He is so revered for his radio work, specifically the more than two decades as afternoon DJ at WABC. Ingram is usually on the short list of greatest Top 40 jocks of all-time, and regarded by many as the best.

The junior Ingram does point out in the foreword that the book is “not a biography, nor is it a history book.”

But if you were expecting “the names have been changed to protect the innocent,” think again. They’re all here: Ingram, Cousin Brucie, Ron Lundy, Chuck Leonard, and Rick Sklar.

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WNBC Moves Forward at 5 p.m. with Split Newscast

WNBC140908172527Without any publicity or fanfare, WNBC quietly unveiled its revamped 5 p.m newscast without Tom Llamas.

Channel 4 opted to break the traditional one-hour broadcast into two separate 30-minute shows. Chuck Scarborough and Sibila Vargas anchor the first half. We’re told the “anchor” leg features a rotating male presence of either David Ushery or Rob Schmitt, alongside Shiba Russell.

At first blush we notice the previously demoted Russell is getting the short end of the stick again. She has the noon duties but loses a pivotal half hour of face time.

Of course, Chuck and Sibila are already the station workhorses as the lead team at 6 and 11 p.m.

It’s uncertain if this is a stopgap measure. In addition, Tuned In learned the station did not let the staff know about the changes.

“Newsroom insiders are concerned these changes will be confusing to viewers,” a source admits.

At 5 p.m. viewers have multiple options for local news. WCBS and WABC, usually performing better than WNBC, are joined by WPIX and WNYW.

Several years ago, Channel 2 tried a split 5 p.m. news that featured a lighter news slant at the bottom of the hour. There’s no word on what the direction for WNBC’s version will be.

Llamas departed for ABC News last month.

Breaking: Tom Llamas Exiting WNBC

LlamasHe’s a multiple Emmy Award winner. He’s covered the biggest stories since joining WNBC in 2009. Tom Llamas is leaving 30 Rock. Insiders say his last day is Friday.

Tuned In has learned that news director Susan Sullivan told staffers in an email today.

Llamas went from general assignment reporting to anchoring to more comprehensive investigative pieces.

No word on Llamas’ next move.

Among the breaking news he covered for Channel 4 and NBC News viewers were the Boston Marathon bombing and the earthquake in Haiti.

In June of 2013, Llamas was taken off the noon anchoring slot to concentrate on the I-Team reports. He has maintained the 5 p.m. broadcast with Shiba Russell.

Also last year, Llamas snatched the Best Anchor prize at the New York Emmys.

Remembering a Legendary Voice, Don Pardo Dies at 96

PardoHis deep voice was a throwback to the era of old time radio staff announcers. Don Pardo didn’t start his career welcoming viewers week after week to Saturday Night Live. It just seems that way. Pardo began a lifetime gig with the Peacock Network in 1944. Seventy years later he was still at the mic for SNL.

Pardo died Monday at age 96.

As Pardo joined the roster on radio, NBC and General David Sarnoff were experimenting with television. His voice would become even more popular on the burgeoning medium.

Pardo’s personality made him a go-to-guy among the NBC stable of voices for game show duty. He was announcer on the original Price Is Right and Jeopardy!. But as the latter ended its 11-year run in 1975, Pardo got another boost as SNL started later that year.

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Mark Effron Officially to ‘Step Down’ at WPIX in October

PIX11_LogoThere was confusion surrounding the story reported exclusively here last week that Mark Effron was fired as WPIX news director.

Despite the station saying he would return this week following the death of his father and mourning period to the position he’s held since April 2013, GM Rich Graziano confirmed in an email to the staff, and obtained by Tuned In, Effron “has decided to step down.”

He will remain in place until October 31.

“Mark has been instrumental in charting our course through a period of transition as we began repositioning the station with a greater emphasis on news,” Graziano writes.

Given what Tuned In reported last week, it would appear that Tribune’s plan was to fire Effron when he returned from sitting shiva.

However, that backfired.

Not only did some staffers likely find out (including this reporter) before Effron, the firing was handled in a classless way while he was grieving.

So Channel 11 may have planned his exit for this week, but instead of risking the public relations nightmare, it would appear that is why he is being eased out.

In Effron’s note to employees, short-term plans were mentioned.

“When Larry Wert talked to me early last year about joining WPIX as VP/News Director, I made clear my intention to view it as a two-year mission.”

But, even extending through October, Effron only logs 18 months on the job.

Effron says he’ll explore teaching and consulting, which will allow him more time to spend with his family.

“I’ll be here for a while, helping Rich, steering the ship, and paving the way,” Effron writes.

There is no mention of who will replace Effron.

Breaking: Mark Effron Fired at WPIX

PIX11_LogoTo say it was a tumultuous tenure would be an understatement. Mark Effron has been shown the door at WPIX, Tuned In has learned. We’re told Effron exited the building on East 42nd Street for the final time Wednesday at 2 p.m. He was named news director of the Tribune O&O in April 2013.

Katherine Green, Tribune’s Senior VP of News, alerted staffers in-person about Effron’s departure. Although nothing official, Amy Waldman as the second in command becomes interim news director.

It was an internal struggle as rumors persisted that Effron’s days were dwindling. Ratings were not seeing much improvement, despite Channel 11 pumping its chest about the recent July sweeps period. The station has picked up some viewers at 5 p.m., but hardly able to make a made a dent in the morning news wars or at 10 p.m. against WNYW/Channel 5.

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Strong July for WPIX at 5 p.m.

PIX11_LogoThere’s a respite from the turmoil at WPIX. In the all-important July sweeps period, WPIX claims victory in the crowded 5 p.m. race against rival WNYW/Channel 5 and WNBC. Tuned In would get spin from the other stations, but PIX typically is the only station to put such emphasis on the summertime, a time when viewership is drastically altered by vacations.

Regardless. when your management is getting scrutinized on a regular basis, any positive blip in the ratings is solid enough.

Just as John Muller returns to Channel 11, the early evening newscast he co-anchors with Tamsen Fadal makes another strong showing. WPIX is also proud of beating Fox 5 News at 5, anchored by Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander, in several key demos. They say it’s the first time outperforming the Fox O&O in three years, Adults 25-54, Women 25-54, and Adults 18-49. It also ended a three-year drought for WPIX against the folks at 30 Rock in the key demo: Adults 25-54.

The only thing worse than declaring an off-season victory is comparing results from last summer. However, the PIX Morning News was up 20 percent from last July in the Adults 25-54 groups. Summer or not, this marks the seventh consecutive sweep win for Channel 11 opposite CBS This Morning.

And in case you’re wondering, the PIX News at 10 made a 33 percent leap compared to July 2013. That stat is somewhat misleading since the station was still using one anchor. Scott Stanford didn’t join Fadal until September.

The next big question for WPIX is how will they fare in the November sweeps?

Retirement Awaits for Longtime WINS Anchor Judy DeAngelis

judy1If listening to WINS is as much a part of your morning ritual as that first cup of coffee, then you undoubtedly know Judy DeAngelis.

The veteran 1010 WINS anchor is set to retire, Tuned In has learned. Multiple sources say the morning mainstay will leave the station in September.

But before the retirement party takes place, we’re told DeAngelis has struggled with leaving three previous times. Barring any cold feet or last minute negotiations, DeAngelis will end a run of more than 25 years at WINS.

She was also a newscaster on WNBC in the 80s, during the Soupy Sales-Joey Reynolds era at 660.

DeAngelis remained at WNBC until WFAN took over the frequency in 1988.

WINS would not confirm DeAngelis’ departure.

Photo courtesy: 1010wins.com

WPIX Anchor Kirstin Cole Makes Inappropriate ‘Beanie’ Comment

WPIX140721072034A seasoned anchor/reporter crossed the line Monday morning. WPIX morning anchor Kirstin Cole, joining Kori Chambers, made a remark that could be deemed anti-Semitic. At the very least, it was inappropriate.

Leading into a story about a new Starbucks in Williamsburg, Chambers told viewers, “Some of the hipsters are all riled up this morning.”

Cole added, “Their beanies are all askew. They don’t know what do with themselves.”

She also gave a visual to viewers, straightening the mock headgear.

Let’s assume for a moment that Cole was intending to connect the beanies comment to Chambers’ hipsters, If that’s the case, then she is insensitive. Cole is certainly aware of the large Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg and the yarmulkes they wear.

Whether it was truly planned as a slur doesn’t really matter. The remark was still shocking and Cole should be held accountable.

Many are outraged by her “performance.”

“It was not the smartest thing to say,” a viewer tells Tuned In.

Incidentally, the Cole and Chambers introduction did not properly lead into the Joe Mauceri live report. There was no debate, no drama, not even a sound bite from people on the street, for or against the coffee shop opening.

Instead, Mauceri turned the story into “where you get your morning coffee.” He read some social media replies.

The reporter admitted seeing “people go in and out” at the new coffeehouse. But no reaction from customers was shown.

Welcoming John Muller Back, WPIX Gives Winning Viewer Dinner with Anchors

PIXIt’s a brand new start on East 42nd Street. We’ve seen the promos ushering home John Muller as Tamsen Fadal’s new partner tonight. Now the folks at Tribune have taken the re-do to another odd level.

The station had a contest where viewers could win an opening night seat in the studio when Muller and Fadal begin at 5 p.m. But the evening doesn’t end there! Following the early newscast, one lucky fan (said in game show announcer voice) will join the new duo for dinner. It’s a good bet the station is assured of solidifying at least one more regular viewer. To quote Greg Mocker, PIX is on the “trail of something different,” although that’s not necessarily something to be applauded.

“There are no adults watching the kids run around at Chuck E. Cheese,” one veteran broadcaster jokes. Continue reading