Tag Archives: Rolland Smith

Longtime Anchor Michele Marsh Dies at 63

Michele Marsh was a pleasant and competent anchor for years in New York. She died Tuesday of breast cancer at age 63.

Marsh was only 25 when she hit the big time, arriving at WCBS/Channel 2 in 1979. She sat with several colleagues during her 17-year career at WCBS, but viewers probably recall her and Rolland Smith most fondly.

“In the time we spent together as anchors we became good friends and confidants,” Smith tells TunedIn.

Smith occasionally spoke to her after his exit from WCBS. As for Marsh, she was abruptly let go as part of the infamous “Black Friday” mass firings in 1996.

John Johnson was also shown the door that autumn day. The duo would immediately turn to WNBC as anchor colleagues on a new noon broadcast.

“I am very distressed over Michele’s death,” Johnson tells me. “She was a true professional and an outstanding woman journalist in a field dominated by men.”

Johnson says she was terribly hurt how it ended at Channel 2 given her many years of service.

Other than a brief hiccup when Dave Marash was rehired and reteamed with Smith in the early 1980s, Marsh was on the late newscast until 1993, where she got to know Ernie Anastos.

He tweeted, “She was loved by so many, a top professional. I will miss my sweet friend.”

At Channel 4, Marsh also co-anchored the 6 p.m. with Chuck Scarborough.

“We liked one another and did some good work together,” Johnson recalls.

Marsh died surrounded by her family at her Connecticut home. She is survived by her husband, son John and daughter-in-law Anna.

The family is asking that a donation be made to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in her memory.

“My personal life and my professional life was made so much richer for knowing her humor, her laughter, and her spirit,” Smith says.

Frank Cipolla Relives Best Moments for Autobiography

CIPOLLA 8x10 HEADSHOT 1-15Whether you know his work from name, voice, or face, chances are if you’ve been paying attention to New York news coverage in the last three decades you know Frank Cipolla.

His longevity and versatile reporting skills for radio and TV are the framework for his 2011 autobiography, It Shocked Even Us and More Crazy Stories Covering Local News. (Available directly through Cipolla’s website, itshockedevenus.com)

No need to be a war correspondent for anecdotes. Cipolla has tons, probably enough for another installment from his beat in the five boroughs and New Jersey. His time at WNBC is a favorite chapter worth the price of the book on its own. As a newscaster, Cipolla was on the front line for some of biggest egos in the business: Howard Stern, Don Imus and Soupy Sales.

Cipolla tells Tuned In it was equally stressful and hilarious.

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Death of WCBS Reporter John Slattery Shocks Colleagues

johnslattery1He was a consumate pro, who was one of the great New York TV street reporters. John Slattery passed away suddenly early Thursday. Tuned In has learned that the veteran WCBS-TV reporter died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep. A spokesperson could not confirm his cause of death. He was 63. His death comes just hours after filing a story for the station.

His death stunned colleagues and competitors alike.

“We are saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague John Slattery… He was great at reporting the news and was someone we counted on to cover big stories for us, both here in New York and around the world,” Peter Dunn, WCBS President and GM, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife, Suzie, and their children and grandchildren.”

During a legendary 35-year run in New York City, Slattery intersected with some of the most famous anchors the market ever saw. After a stint at Philly’s WCAU, Slattery reached the big time when Eyewitness News came calling in 1979. He spent five years with WABC, where Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel still ruled the roost. The station also added Ernie Anastos and Tom Snyder while Slattery was pounding the pavement. While there, he was part of Channel 7’s John Lennon assassination coverage. In 1981, Slattery made history as the first reporter to conduct a post-Watergate interview with former president Richard Nixon.

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Use of Social Media on Local News ‘Detrimental to the Journalistic Profession’

Grymes MacedoTelevision news has always been about garnering the ratings. That’s what news directors and GMs liked. Now, it’s not only about sales revenue and the Nielsen numbers. Today there’s a definite realignment with social media. At the same time, there’s also evidence  of “dumbing down” the broadcasts.

If you’re up early on the weekend, for example, you may have noticed a different look on WCBS-TV.

With Cindy Hsu, a solid pro, moved to weekend nights, Channel 2 is opting for style at the desk.

Teaming anchor Andrea Grymes (above left) and recent hire Diane Macedo (above right) has the feel of girls “playing TV.”

Thankfully, the initial giggles and smiles have eased. That isn’t the type of chemistry essential in New York. Altoona, maybe, but not NYC.

Grymes is a decent enough reporter, but lacks in the substance department, especially when placed behind the desk. As for Macedo, her stock is apparently rising with management as an occasional fill-in anchor at other times.

Rolland Smith logged nearly 40 years in local news, including many in New York a generation ago at the aforementioned WCBS. He says change is not always for the better.

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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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