Denver News Channels Unveil ‘Pool Coverage’ System

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.”

KMGH Declines to Renew Steve Saunders’ Contract

KMGH/Channel 7 won’t renew longtime Denver news reporter and anchor Steve Saunders’ contract, and his last day will be Aug. 15. Saunders, the son of former Rocky Mountain News media critic Dusty Saunders and the widower of Emmy-award-winning Denver television news producer Pam Saunders, spent the past decade at KMGH, and was at KWGN/Channel 2 for eight years prior to that. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.

KWGN/Channel 2 Rebrands Itself ‘The Deuce’

Bad news for Microsoft. The best case study it had that a business could create a logo using nothing more than PowerPoint is going away. KWGN/Channel 2 is rebranding itself “The Deuce,” and a new logo will presumably follow. While Michael Roberts at Westword examines the scatological implications of the new brand, we’d rather use this opportunity to again make fun of GM Dennis Leonard for his claim that he discovered John Mayer, Maroon 5 and Five for Fighting.

Bjorkman’s 15 Minutes Not Quite Up

Ernie Bjorkman may have had a bigger audience in the past month as a vet tech than he had in his final six months as an anchor with KWGN/Channel 2. First, the New York Times profiled him as the face of what is happening to experienced (i.e. old and expensive) anchors, then 20/20 jumped on the bandwagon. Now, he will be appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (with Ted Danson) this Wednesday (3 p.m. on KUSA/Channel 9). So what does Bjorkman think of all this? He tells the Denver Post’s Bill Husted, “Getting fired has landed me more publicity than anything I’ve ever done in 26 years in Denver.”

Ernie Bjorkman to Cat: ‘Turn Your Head and Cough’

Here at the Denver PR Blog, we are committed to covering Ernie Bjorkman the way Penny Parker covers Wendy Aiello Trista and Ryan (seriously, Penny, we wish them the best but their 15 minutes of fame was up four-and-a-half years ago. Let it go). So in that spirit, we offer you the following “Ernie Update” sponsored by Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List, Denver’s leading purveyor of marketing-related jobs:

Ernie is headed to his mountain home in South Fork to become a veterinary technician.