Monthly Archives: July 2013

Time Warner May Drop WCBS in Cable Dispute

TwcIt’s not only a brutal summer outside, but inside, the heat is on as Time Warner Cable and CBS fight, in an all too familiar, carriage issue. The battle puts CBS in a contract struggle with the cable provider. CBS could go dark as early as next week.. A TWC spokesperson confirms CBS’ Showtime and The Movie Channel will follow suit.

CBS is using its resources–mainly TV and radio stations–to promote its side of the story. The voice-over announcer says TWC is threatening to cut WCBS. The narrator goes on to say that Time Warner Cable likely isn’t bluffing with nearly 50 stations being dumped in the last five years.

The squabble also affects customers in Dallas and Los Angeles.

“Time Warner Cable is planning to drop the most popular programming in its entire channel lineup because it won’t negotiate the same sort of deal that all other cable, satellite and telco companies have struck with CBS,” according to a CBS statement.

Not only is CBS proud to be the number one network in the country, it has never been dropped by a cable operator.

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Rob Schmitt Appears Nervous, Blows On-Air Sign-Out in WNBC Debut

SchmittIt was an inauspicious start for Rob Schmitt at WNBC.

The former KCAL/KCBS anchor and reporter began on yesterday’s 5 p.m. broadcast reading a 90-second story about the death of Glee actor Cory Monteith.

It appears the station’s decision to ease Schmitt into the newscast slowly was a smart move. Nerves clearly took hold of him. His voice wasn’t commanding, he had awkward pauses scattered about, and Schmitt concluded his live piece by giving an errant close to the story, “Rob Schmitt, NBC 4 News New York,” instead of “News 4 New York.”

We’ll give Schmitt the benefit of the doubt, and assume he won’t be another Steve Trout, a decent ballplayer who couldn’t handle the New York spotlight. Trout crashed and burned with the Yankees in the 1980s.

Schmitt was hired last month from the CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles as weekday general assignment reporter, and ultimately to be Channel 4’s noon anchor.


WNBC’s Scott Stanford Eyes Larger Role at WPIX

Scott_StanfordScott Stanford is the latest name leaked to have been brought in by WPIX for a
tryout. Multiple sources tell Tuned In that it’s not clear if Stanford, the WNBC number two sports anchor behind Bruce Beck, was applying for a sports position, news anchor, or both.

Before you shoot down the news anchoring concept for Stanford, realize that he does have recent experience, albeit minimal, in that venue. This year, the energetic sportscaster has dialed it down as occasional anchor on WNBC’s Cozi TV (formerly New York Nonstop) digital channel.

Whether that will convince WPIX, led by news director Mark Effron, remains to be seen.

Effron did not make himself available for comment to Tuned In. A station spokesperson would not address any audition by Stanford, only stating, “PIX11 has had meetings with several people regarding a variety of positions at the station.”

We attempted to reach Stanford without success.

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WCBS-FM Pulls Within an Eyelash of LITE-FM in June Ratings

wcbsfm2007It’s familiar territory for WLTW-FM. The Clear Channel top-rated station kept its streak alive winning the overall Arbitron PPM ratings for June. LITE-FM slipped .2 to 6.8.

The bigger story is WCBS-FM, creeping ever so close to WLTW. It was a huge month for the Classic Hits favorite with a .6 jump to 6.7, its best showing of the year, and just .1 behind the perennial numero uno.

WBLS continues its dominance at number three, adding .3 for June to 6.2.

WHTZ/Z100 fell .4 to 5.5. There’s a gap until sister station WAXQ arrives in fifth place at 4.5, a slight drop from May. WKTU had a slight improvement to 4.4.

WINS is the news ratings champ with a 4.3, although a .2 setback.

WFAN, maintaining its dual station properties (66 AM and 101.9 FM), gained .2 to 3.0. For those who think WEPN/ESPN 98.7 FM is half as good as the FAN, the ratings would indicate that. ESPN slipped .1 to a 1.5 in the overall litmus test of listeners.

Of note, WNSH, now featuring America’s Morning Show from Nashville, got a .2 boost to 2.1. Also in the Cumulus stable, WPLJ slipped to a 3.1, while WABC took a slight tumble to 2.7.


Sue Simmons Makes Magazine’s List of Would-Be Hosts of The View

sue_simmons2012-med-wideNow that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is out at The View, the spinning and prognosticating begins.

The Hollywood Reporter gave its readers a list of the 15 best choices to grab a chair permanently on the ABC daytime show. Some of the names have been bandied about from their previous guest hosting stints, including Brooke Shields and Jenny McCarthy. However, former Today host Ann Curry is propped up at number two.

Even more intriguing is the magazine’s pick for number 11—Sue Simmons.

There’s no doubt Simmons, whose contract was not renewed by Channel 4 in June 2012 after 32 memorable years, has the track record and pedigree to take a role at the table or coach of The View.

Simmons’ longtime WNBC colleague Jane Hanson thinks it would be an awesome fit.

“She’d be perfect for them for adding insight and perspective, and she is a very good interviewer,” Hanson tells Tuned In.

All you need to know is three words–Live at Five. During that one-hour WNBC broadcast in the 1980s, Simmons showed a knack for hard news, softer features, and, of course, those countless celebrity interviews.

“That show rocked, and a big chunk of its success was Sue’s ability to interview, especially people in the music and entertainment business, which comes from her background,” Hanson says.

(Poll) Would You Like To See Sue Simmons as a Host on The View?

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Source: PIX Management Made ‘Worst Move’ Letting Jodi Applegate ‘Walk Out the Door’

Jodi12Actually, she’s keeping busy at home since having her first child earlier this year via gestational carrier. But that shift from professional to family life with newborn and husband, YES’ Michael Kay, took Jodi Applegate off WPIX as the anchor at 5 and 10 p.m. late last year.

However, Applegate was trying for an 11th-hour negotiation that would keep her on PIX in some capacity. As we’ve reported, station management, led by GM Eric Meyrowitz, the last man standing from the previous regime, insisted on Applegate working full-time. In the end, a deal couldn’t be reached, and the ratings have been nothing short of awful in the intervening months with Tamsen Fadal as anchor.

For example, this Tuesday, WPIX washed away its .5 Maury lead-in with just a .1 at 5 p.m. among adults 25 to 54. The 10 p.m. broadcast improved to .7 in that key demographic, but WNYW was nearly three times better.

Several station insiders have been vocal to Tuned In about letting Applegate walk.

“Jodi had the credibility and authority to command a newscast,” one source says. “Her network and local market experience gave PIX11 the edge it needed to compete. Viewers knew who she was. She was an established anchor.”

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FCC Investigates WWOR as Former Anchor Harry Martin Seeks ‘Mutual Agreement’ with WNYW

WWOR_NewJerseyThe brave new world for WWOR minus a news department began last night with the debut of Chasing New Jersey. As we reported last week, Fox management, without any fanfare, opted out of its regular 10 p.m. newscast. Instead, Channel 9 is airing a show that is being labeled by some as TMZ meets A Current Affair. The nightly show jettisons anchors and reporters in favor of a ringleader and chasers to highlight New Jersey-centric topics. Perhaps the closest element to being “news” worthy is interviews with state politicians.

The dramatic movement by Rupert Murdoch and Fox in the last few days has brought attention squarely upon the FCC. The agency has been in a struggle with WWOR for years. Since Channel 9’s move to the shadows of the Meadowlands in the late 1980s, the station has been under the gun by the FCC. Becoming a New Jersey broadcast outlet forced Channel 9 (then owned by RKO) to cover the Garden State properly.

An FCC spokesperson tells Tuned In that the WWOR issue is before the Commission so it cannot comment.  The spokesperson adds that there is no specific timeframe for a decision.

In order to satisfy a license renewal, the FCC will need to determine if local news is getting the short end of the stick at WWOR, whose license expired in 2007.

Matthew Schwartz spent a career at Channel 9. The reporter worked at WWOR (and the original call letters WOR) for 20 years. Even though he’s been out of New York for a decade, Schwartz says the death knell sounded for Channel 9 News when Fox purchased the station in 2000.

“I wasn’t surprised at all. I saw it almost from the get-go,” Schwartz tells Tuned In. “I blame the FCC first, and then I blame Fox second, because they’re equal partners in this. How could [the FCC] let this station, licensed to New Jersey, not even have a newscast? What a joke. It’s a disgrace.”

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Late Reporter John Noel Still Part of WNBC Website

Noel bioIt was an upsetting time for family, friends and viewers, touched by the death of John Noel, who succumbed to brain cancer last month.

But in a sloppy, disrespectful move, Channel 4 (as of this posting) still has Noel’s bio and photo included with all of his former colleagues.

This is not paying any honor or homage to the popular reporter. This is simply someone in the Web department screwing up. But blame can easily be affixed to management or anyone else in the newsroom for not catching the egregious mistake.

Noel’s full unedited bio remains on the station’s page, along with a link to his Twitter page.

While updating or deleting a staffer’s bio is not usually an urgent matter given their world of breaking news coverage, it is inexcusable and somewhat creepy to keep a dead man as an active member of WNBC. Can we just let the man rest in peace?

WPIX’s Quick Thinking Mario Diaz, Cameraman Get Creative with Dual Rooftop Interview

Mario DiazNo blockbuster Spiderman in the theaters this summer? No problem.

A man set off some early “fireworks” by scaling down the Brooklyn Bridge on the Fourth of July.

While the daredevil had already left the scene, Channel 11 got there to retrace his descent.

Mario Diaz with his photojournalist Ken Evseroff were granted exclusive access to the roof of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Instead of just shooting some exterior shots, they got lucky.

Once on the roof, a neighbor’s guest, who was an eyewitness to the incident, emerged. Diaz initially was screaming across the building to the man, Johnny Peters. Ultimately, the intrepid reporter gave his cell phone number.

What happened next was a great piece of local news coverage.

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