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

WNYW’s Greg Kelly Fawns and Flirts With Reporter in Bikini

GilliganGreg Kelly is getting lambasted online about his inappropriate behavior on a recent episode of WNYW’s Good Day New York. Despite his borderline awkward exchange with a bikini clad Anna Gilligan, the blame falls directly at station management’s feet.

Like him or not, Kelly was just being Kelly. We’ve seen these moments before; sometimes they appear contrived when his on-air mom Rosanna Scotto has to reign him in, if not scold him. This was one of those times.

Of course, Kelly isn’t six years old and should know the difference between a good boy and being a problem child.

Gilligan, the Good Day entertainment reporter, was live from Action Park for its reopening. She disrobed to show off her body as she took a swing across the new Tarzan ride.

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Marysol Castro Out, Dan Mannarino Uncertain, as WPIX Cuts Early Morning Newscast

WPIX140605055949We barely had time to take a deep breath since the night time changes at PIX, bouncing Scott Stanford to sports and rolling out the red carpet for John Muller (more in a moment), when another salvo struck.

The PIX (early) Morning News was upended today, right before our eyes. Marysol Castro, who rejoined Channel 11 in September, anchored for the final time today. Tuned In confirmed it from multiple sources and she alluded to her dismissal in the closing seconds with on-air partner Dan Mannarino.

“Hey dude, it was nice knowing you,” Castro told Mannarino.

“It was fun,” he replied.

As for Mannarino, his status is a bit muddy. He’s been part of numerous rumors for months. But we’ve learned on good authority that Mannarino is taking some time off to decide on his future. Another definite, if Mannarino returns it won’t be behind the anchor desk.

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Breaking: John Muller Returns to WPIX; Scott Stanford Dropped as Anchor

Tamsen ScottThe latest drama at WPIX is a doozy. In fact, it’s a rumor that’s been gathering steam. Now it’s official.

Scott Stanford is losing his co-anchor role with Tamsen Fadal. The station is bringing back John Muller, the former morning anchor, to team with Fadal at 5 and 10 p.m.

Muller was an original member of the PIX Morning News when it launched in 2000.

In a note sent to staffers tonight and obtained by Tuned In, news director Mark Effron says Stanford, who joined Channel 11 in September, will be the station’s lead sports anchor and host the weekly Sports Desk on Friday nights.

Effron told staffers that PIX will be increasing in-depth analysis and team coverage of sports in the newscasts.

Although Stanford wasn’t the first sportscaster to make the move to news anchoring, oddly he covered both within the same broadcast.

Stanford has several years of sports experience on WNBC and WWOR.

Muller’s second stint at WPIX follows his tenure at ABC as anchor on World News Now and  America This Morning. He also was a fill-in news reader on Good Morning America.

Muller returns to PIX on June 23.