Tag Archives: Mark Effron

Kaitlin Monte Leaves WPIX for Reporting in Houston

WPIX160629090038Morning traffic anchor Kaitlin Monte is embarking on a new start to her burgeoning broadcasting career. After two years at WPIX she exited for the Fox station in Houston, where she’ll be a general assignment reporter.

Monte, who returned from her honeymoon last week to say goodbye to WPIX, tells Tuned In that she wants to spread her wings.

“I was always concerned that I’d be pegged as a traffic babe.” But Monte says that job is not trivial. “For fear of anyone accusing me of just showing up and reading maps in a pretty dress, it was very important to me that I got other opportunities to do more than that.”

So instead, she’s padding her resume in the Lone Star state.

“My new role is going to give me a lot of different types of experience,” Monte says. “A big goal for me was, before I turn 30, getting as much as experience within the industry as possible…also cutting my teeth. A big element of this was getting a chance to leave New York City.”

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Shakeup Could Be in the Works at WPIX

AmyThe noose is tightening for management at WPIX. It’s only three months since the Tribune flagship added a 6:30 evening newscast. But it’s not too soon to realize it’s a disaster. The ratings for the Kaity Tong/Brenda Blackmon 30-minute broadcast, aside from the first week curiosity, are in the tank. Channel 11 performed better with Craig Ferguson‘s poorly received Celebrity Name Game in syndication, previously holding down the slot.

Multiple sources confirm to Tuned In that executives are upset with the PIX direction led by news director Amy Waldman (above) and GM Rich Graziano, who promoted her once Mark Effron was shown the door.

“Graziano was honest about why he greenlighted Waldman- her market knowledge” an insider admits. “But knowing how many live trucks your competition has does not make a news director. Now Graziano is tied to dismal ratings, low morale, and an unimpressive news director.”

Insiders say that Waldman, who took on the high profile positiion last April, will not survive beyond the May sweeps. But Graziano’s days could be numbered as well for orchestrating the creation of the 6:30 p.m. newscast.

Another indication that he may be on the hot seat, Tuned In has learned that Bart Feder, Tribune’s SVP of News will lead the search for Waldman’s replacement–not Graziano.

All of the backdoor maneuvering comes as Tribune is reportedly up for sale. What that could mean for WPIX remains a mystery.

Update from Feder:
“I am absolutely not engaged in a search for a new news director at WPIX, nor is anyone else. Amy Waldman is our news director. Period.” 

Source: WPIX ‘Worse’ Under News Director Amy Waldman

AmyWPIX has its news director in place, but they still have a major ratings problem. That’s not the only problem at the Tribune flagship.

When Amy Waldman officially took the reins, she gained support from numerous newsroom staffers.

However, multiple sources tell Tuned In that Waldman, the eight-year Channel 11 veteran, is losing her cred among the rank and file.

“She has two priorities: herself and what’s for lunch?” one PIX insider says.

While she has had conversations with employees since taking the managerial role, sources say Waldman isn’t actually listening to any of the staffers.

That style falls short compared to previous WPIX news directors. For example, insiders say Karen Scott listened to her group and “would try to rectify” any problems.

They say Bill Carey, a veteran news manager in New York and elsewhere, was straight-forward.

“With Bill we knew where we were headed,” a source says.

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WPIX Set to Promote Amy Waldman to News Director, Expand Evening Newscast

AmyThe ratings are improving at WPIX, but the internal strife is still present. Part of the problem, no one is officially steering the ship in the newsroom.

Tribune hadn’t named a successor to Mark Effron, who was bounced in October. But that is about to change. Amy Waldman (left), the station’s managing editor, who has primarily handled the day-to-day operations since Effron’s departure, will be the Channel 11 news director, Tuned In has learned.

VP/GM Rich Graziano addressed staffers in two separate meetings this week to announce the hire of new Senior VP of News, Bart Feder, a New York veteran, replacing Katherine Green.

Graziano was asked in the first meeting about the elephant in the room, the lack of a news director. He told the group that Vickie Burns is back in the building, but not in a managerial role. Graziano said Burns is a consultant, who will guide and mentor Waldman, who just needs some “tweaking.”

Burns ran newsrooms at WNBC and KNBC.

While not specifically addressing a promotion for Waldman, Graziano told employees that he’s stopped taking phone calls from people applying for the news director position.

 

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More Tumult at Tribune’s WPIX

PIX11_LogoIn another shakeup at WPIX, Katherine Green is out.

The Senior VP of News at Tribune’s local stations failed to see much improvement at Channel 11. Green, with the company since May, clearly had a WPIX bulls-eye on her back.

During her short stint, the station got rid of its news director, Mark Effron, who hung on for 18 months. Two general managers also exited in the last three years.

The only (somewhat) ratings bright spot is in a crowded field at 5 p.m.  But the station has had no success bringing extra viewers to the 10 p.m. newscast.

“The November book was supposed to be a game changer,” the insider says. “Instead, people changed the channel to other stations.”

WPIX still needs to name Effron’s replacement, and apparently that long process is coming close to an end.

Insiders tell Tuned In that three candidates are left standing for the management position.

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Mark Effron Exits WPIX; Who’s Next as News Director?

PIX11_LogoThe winds of change are blowing through WPIX. News director Mark Effron was scheduled to leave the station October 31. But insiders say he officially exited Friday. We’re told Effron was primarily a figurehead since management made the decision to let him go, something Tuned In first told you last month.

The plan on paper was to have the new news director in place for a few weeks before Effron left. With his early, albeit, not surprising departure, station brass are forced to expedite their search.

We’re told two big name television programmers were approached to succeed Effron. But they balked. Kenny Plotnik, the longtime Channel 7 news director, ultimately ended his courtship by taking a VP role at New England Cable News in September.

More recently, Dianne Doctor‘s name surfaced as a possible replacement. Doctor is VP of the mythological newsroom at Fox’s WWOR. Insiders tell Tuned In that she also declined the offer.

Speaking of Fox, Emad Asghar is the WNYW assistant news director with ties to PIX. He was another person that was interviewed for the opening, and he was another individual who said no.

While the station has received dozens of resumes, it appears to be a two-horse race.

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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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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

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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