reporter storyteller Kevin Torres – who may or may not have been fired for a traffic citation that occurred in a station-owned vehicle – has landed a try-out with Fox31, according to The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow. From Torres’ Facebook page:
EXCITING NEWS to share: I will be staying in Colorado and joining the amazing news team over at FOX31 and Colorado’s Own Channel 2! To say I’m ecstatic would be an understatement. FOX31 was just named ‘Best Newscast’ by the Colorado Broadcasters Association this past weekend. The legacy both stations hold in this market can’t be matched.
Fox31 and reporter Hendrik Sybrandy may be playing a little defense after 9News fact-checked a recent Fox31 story about an Italian gun manufacturer executive being mistaken for a terrorist and determined the whole thing was a “hoax.”
UPDATE: Fox31 has pulled the online version of its story, but not made any statement about why or offered a correction.
Fox31’s Heidi Hemmat exacts some revenge after learning that the station’s recent heating repairman sting was sabotaged.
(Bonus points for this one because its features Jane Dvorak [via speakerphone] defending Applewood Heating & Plumbing’s role.)
Who could have foreseen an eventual lawsuit for Fox31 when it got into bed with such a paragon of virtue as the now-bankrupt creator of The Troubleshooter and Martino TV?
Former Fox31 anchor and Westword “Best Hair on a Male Anchor” winner Jeremy Hubbard is returning to Denver following a stint at ABC’s overnight “World News Now.” Hubbard will co-anchor the 7 pm newscast on KWGN-2 and the 10 pm newscast on Fox31.
“My wife and I have a new baby, seven-month-old Charlie, and we can’t wait to raise him in Denver…the greatest city in America,” said Hubbard.
(Hat Tip: Denver Media Watch)
Fox31 meteorologist Crystal Egger has left to join The Weather Channel. Expect a wave of cranky old people threatening to never watch Fox again.
(Hat tip: Denver Media Watch)
Fox31 anchor Ron Zappolo is the subject of Bill Husted’s “Bar & Grilled” column this morning. One interesting quote:
If you listen to the smart guys, they say (the future of local TV news is) not very bright. There will always be local news, but the face of it is going to change. I don’t think you’re going to see people like me anymore, people who spend 35 years in one market. You’re going to see a lot more young people with shorter deals, more turnover. I’m a survivor. People ask me what I’ve accomplished and I say, “I survived.”
Fox31 weekend anchor Leland Vittert is the latest Denver television news personality to make the move to a national spot. Vittert has been named Fox News’ Middle East correspondent and will be based in Jerusalem.
As the Denver Post’s Bill Husted points out, Vittert follows Bill O’Reilly, Phil Keating, Jeremy Hubbard, Tom Costello, Thanh Truong, Kevin Corke and Harry Smith as local personalities who have made the move to the national stage.
After 18 months of slashing and burning the Fox31 and KWGN/Channel 2 news departments to the tune of 30-40 layoffs, Fox31 GM/VP Dennis Leonard is “ready to re-evaluate (his) priorities” and will be leaving the station.
It’s hard to pick my favorite Dennis Leonard moment, but here are a few finalists:
Denver’s Fox31/The Deuce searches for the worst Valentine’s Day ever, and pretty much hits a bullseye.
After seeing the public relations bonanza that Denver Magazine garnered with its Fox31 news “skankors” cover photo, Colorado View magazine called in a couple of Photoshop experts for its inaugural cover. Michael Roberts at Westword has the background. In the meantime, don’t hold your breath waiting for that Ron-Zappolo-and-Mike-Landess-in-Speedos covershot.
On the heels of Denver Magazine’s controversial cover shot of Fox31 anchors Libby Weaver and Natalie Tysdal, the Denver Post profiles the magazine’s CEO, publisher and editor Michael Ledwitz.
Denver Magazine has scored this week’s PR Win of the Week. Magazine covers are all about capturing attention, and Denver Magazine’s cover shot of Fox31 anchors Libby Weaver and Natalie Tysdal has been the talk of the town this week. Westword offers Photoshopped versions of the cover featuring various Denver duos, and Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post even weighed in on it this morning.
When 303 Magazine announced its recent “Gentleman’s Issue” featuring nude local marketing directors, I wrote it off as the desperate last gasp of a magazine being squeezed to death by 5280 and Denver Magazine. But now Denver Magazine has followed suit with its own “Men’s Issue,” and Michael Roberts at Westword has called out Fox31 GM Dennis Leonard for allowing anchors Libby Weaver and Natalie Tysdal to transform themselves from “anchors to skank-ers” for the cover photo shoot.
Meteorologist Chris Dunn, who was let go from Fox31 last month, has been picked up by Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO-TV. Dunn is the station’s new weekday evening meteorologist.
You can always count on Fox31 “journalist” Tom Martino to liven things up. Note to Fox31 GM Dennis Leonard: You’ve canned a dozen people since you arrived here last year. How the hell was Tom Martino not one of them?
Fox31 has told high school sports reporter Marcia Neville that her contract will not be renewed, making her the eighth television sports personality to be let go this year, according to the Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow.
It’s no secret that the news resources of local television affiliates are stretched thin. Layoffs have hit every station, and the Fox31/WB2 “marketing agreement” looks to be the future of local news. But it was still surprising to see the details that Pete Webb of Webb PR shared of a new “pool coverage” system that Fox31, 9News, KMGH7, CBS4 and Univision are implementing.
Starting today, the five stations will pool coverage of up to three events per day. The pool is on a rotating basis with each station responsible one day a week. The assignment desks will join a conference call each morning at 8:30 a.m. to determine which events will be covered by a pool representative, and the resulting raw video will be sent to all stations at 3 p.m. According to Webb, the arrangement “is intended for newsworthy events that all the stations would customarily cover on their own, such as gubernatorial news conferences, the Mayor’s State of the City, product launches, events.”
Says Webb, “My fervent hope is that we’ll see more enterprise reporting, now that crews are being freed up, but I’m not holding out much hope. More likely, viewers will see more of the same, with identical footage on each broadcast. That doesn’t reward creativity, enterprise, or just good old fashioned newsgathering, and it doesn’t reward the viewer.”
Meteorologist Chris Dunn and reporters Audra Ensign and Charlie Brennan were among six laid off at KDVR/Fox31 yesterday. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.
Meterologist Nick Carter, who was let go from 9News for salary reasons in January, has landed at Fox31.
Who has more credibility? Shagman or Tom Martino?
KWGN/Channel 2, now known as “The Deuce,” has reshuffled its evening newscasts so it is not competing directly against sister station Fox31. The Deuce has moved its 9 p.m. newscast to 7 p.m., and made it more entertainment focused, in an effort to attract the 18-34 year old audience. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.
Fox 31 sports anchor Eric Goodman is the latest Denver television personality to be let go. Dusty Saunders at the Rocky Mountain News reports that Fox 31 “executives did not renew the contract of Goodman, who joined the station in October 2004.”
Former Fox31 morning anchor Steve Kelley may have been “blindsided” by his dismissal, but he tells the Denver Post’s Bill Husted that he is back and looking “to reinvent myself” to find his next job. For what its worth, Webb PR’s Pete Webb predicts Kelley will wind up back at 850 KOA, his home for nearly two decades before he took the Fox31 position.
Based on the number of irate comments this blog receives about TV news anchors being fired/demoted (see here, here, here and here), I can confidently say that the first station to package Molly Hughes with Steve Kelley is going to hit the ratings motherlode.
Fox 31 anchors Ron Zappolo and Deborah Takahara have trouble delivering back-to-back stories that involve a naked intruder named Michael Dick and a new CIA policy that rewards cooperative Afghani warlords with Viagra. (Hat tip to Michael Roberts at Westword and David Harsanyi at the Denver Post.)
Fox31 morning news anchor Steve Kelley says being laid off was “a shock … it’s like a death.” But, he adds, you can expect him to rebound and pursue other television and radio opportunities in Denver.
Fox31 weekday morning anchor Steve Kelley is the latest big-name, big-paycheck Denver news personality to be let go (see Ernie Bjorkman and Bob Kendrick). Kelley was a victim of the station’s “belt-tightening,” according to Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post, and he will not be replaced. Kelley spent nearly two decades at KOA Radio (850 AM) before joining Fox in 2005.
An update from last week’s update: Ernie Bjorkman’s bio has now reappeared on the CW2 Web site.
The details of the CW2 layoffs are starting to emerge, and Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post reports that more than 25 staffers are being let go. Anchor Ernie Bjorkman, a fixture of Denver television news for 26 years, is the highest-profile employee to be let go, although he will remain on the air for the next three months.
UPDATE: And, gracious to the end, Fox 31’s Dennis Leonard (yes, the guy who discovered John Mayer, Maroon 5 and Five for Fighting) has wasted no time marginalizing Ernie Bjorkman. Here is Ernie’s CW2 bio prior to the layoff announcement, and here is the new-and-improved version.
We noted last month that the Fox31/CW2 news “marketing agreement” would likely result in layoffs, and today we have learned those layoffs will be “significant.” A CW2 official confirmed that news director Carl Bilek was among those notified today they are being let go, but the official refused to discuss whether any on-air personalities have been affected. Mark Harden at the DBJ has the details.
New Fox31 GM Dennis Leonard tells the Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow that, while at his previous station in Birmingham, Ala., he “broke a number of music acts who later went national: John Mayer, Maroon 5, Five for Fighting.”
The consolidation continues. Fox31 and CW2 today announced a “marketing agreement” effective Oct. 1 that will have the two stations sharing news, sales, operations and engineering services. CW2 also will relocate from its Greenwood Village headquarters to the Fox31 building downtown. Fox31 GM Dennis Leonard confirmed what everyone already knew: layoffs are coming. Said Leonard: “(We are) evaluating how things will change, (including) evaluating the talent and people we have on both sides.”
Interestingly, neither Fox31 or CW2 has the news on its Web site yet, but you can see the coverage here: Denver Post, Denver Business Journal, 9News, MediaWeek, Westword.
Fox31 has named Dennis Leonard vice president and general manager, replacing Bill Schneider who left in June to take over the Fox affiliate in Tampa Bay. Leonard joins Fox31 from WBRC-FOX in Birmingham, Ala., so expect an increase in news stories on pickup trucks and chewing tobacco (that was for Pete Webb, who was concerned we had lost some of our snarkiness).
The local Fox affiliate in Las Vegas has signed a product placement deal with McDonald’s that puts two cups of the fast-food chain’s iced coffee on the desk in front of the anchors. But fear not. The Fox news director assures viewers that the “nontraditional revenue source” won’t impact his station’s reporting. How long until Ron and Libby are sipping after-dinner cappuccinos provided by Starbucks between stories?
KUSA/Channel 9 was the big winner at the 2008 Regional Emmy Award ceremony this weekend. Among the individual awards:
- KUSA/Channel 9’s Nelson Garcia, winner of the journalistic enterprise trophy
- KUSA/Channel 9, winner of the overall station excellence and interactivity award
- KUSA/Channel 9’s Adam Schrager, winner of the award for general assignment reporting
- KMGH/Channel 7’s Anne Trujillo, winner for best news anchor
- KMGH/Channel 7’s Mike Landess, winner for his report on prostate cancer
- KMGH/Channel 7’s Tony Kovaleski, winner for his investigative report on the Denver Jail
- KCNC/Channel 4’s Brian Maas, winner for his investigative report on airplane de-icing
- KCNC/Channel 4’s Vic Lombardi, named as best sports anchor
- KDVR/Channel 31’s Sari Padorr, winner for her serious news features
And congratulations to the four inductees of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Silver Circle for 25 years of service: KWGN/Channel 2 anchor Ernie Bjorkman, KCNC/Channel 4 reporter Suzanne McCarroll, KUSA/Channel 9 anchor Ward Lucas and KRMA/Channel 6 PBS president and GM James Morgese.
Congratulations to former Fox31 reporter Sari Padorr and current Fox31 sports reporter Marcia Neville for picking up Gracie Allen awards. The awards, presented by The Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, recognize and encourage “positive and realistic portrayals of women in entertainment, commercials, news, features, and other programs.”
Fox31 anchor Libby Weaver is engaged to Denver orthopedic surgeon John Papilion.
9News has a little scheudenfraude going on this morning after a Fox31 videographer was arrested early this morning for interfering with police. This 2 a.m. arrest occurred as videographers from several stations were trying to get footage of an SUV that had plunged onto the banks of Cherry Creek.
Joanne Ostrow reports that Fox31 has re-signed news anchor Ron Zappolo to a new contract that will likely mean he retires in Denver.