Tag Archives: WWOR

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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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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WWOR Drops Ten O’Clock News for Chasing New Jersey

brenda and harryEffective immediately, WWOR/Channel 9 is out of the news business. VP/station manager Dianne Doctor announced Secaucus-based WWOR will offer viewers all things Garden State. The 30-minute Chasing New Jersey will feature wide-ranging interviews with everyone from local politicians to area residents, as many important issues facing the state are discussed.

The new program, originating from Trenton, will not include an anchor. Instead Bill Spadea will be the “Ringleader.”

Tuned In has learned that Channel 9 employees were told about the news today with this terse statement from the human resources department.

“We regret to inform you that the news has been cancelled and we’re shutting down.”

Several staffers will be laid off as a result of this programming shift, TVSpy reports. The website says co-anchor Harry Martin has been offered a reporter position at WNYW. From 2009 to 2012, Martin was solo at 6 p.m. on WNYW along with his Channel 9 duties. Brenda Blackmon will produce and anchor specials for WWOR. She has been a mainstay of WWOR since 1990. Sports anchor Russ Salzberg and meteorologist Audrey Puente won’t be affected as much. Salzberg is the regular nightly sportscaster on Channel 5 and Puente is a featured back-up on the station.

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Brand New Documentary Keys on Volatile 80s Talker, Morton Downey Jr.

evocateur-posterBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

For a brief moment in the late 1980s, 55-year-old Morton Downey Jr. found the stardom that eluded him for his entire career. But as quickly as he shot to fame, he burned out.

In a new documentary by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger, Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr Movie examines that dramatic rise and fall with the backdrop of trying to duplicate, or to outshine, his successful parents.

The film, being distributed by Magnolia Pictures, was released last Friday mostly to smaller art houses as part of a smaller theatrical presence. However Evocateur, screened at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, is also available now on TV via On Demand and for downloading through iTunes. He anticipates the film will reach Netflix customers in the short term, and ultimately could be shown on cable.

With a direct lineage to politics-themed Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and the trashy Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, Kramer tells Tuned In that the timing was right for Downey’s story to finally be told. He says the three filmmakers are “recovering Mort fans.”

In 1987, Bob Pittman, who founded MTV, approached Downey about coming to television. Downey had begun turning heads as a right-wing radio host, and over-the-top guest. This was the era of kinder, gentler fare, with Phil Donahue still ruling the roost.

“It was like if you gave someone psychotic their own talk show,” Kramer says. “He was the most brutal, abusive host in the history of television.”

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