Archive for the ‘WTSP’ Category

Tampa: New GM at WTSP-TV spurs station changes

November 21, 2008

Ken Tonning, chief executive at Gannett’s TV stations in Jacksonville, Fla., replaces retiring Sam Rosenwasser as head of WTSP in Tampa, Fla., Gannett’s broadcasting division said today. Dodie Cantrell-Bickley replaces Tonning; she has been GM at Gannett’s WMAZ in Macon, Ga. Her replacement there will be announced later.

Separately, a reader says in an e-mail, WTSP has extended the same buyout offer to older workers that’s now being made by some of Gannett’s other TV stations.

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WUSA-TV extends record — for highest turnover!

September 22, 2008

Gannett’s flagship TV station abruptly appointed yet another news director last week — the latest in a string of six general managers and eight news directors since 1996 at the CBS affiliate, a reader tells me. “I suspect that is the national record,” the reader says.

In a memo on Thursday, General Manager Allan Horlick told staff: “It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce that Lane Michaelsen has joined WUSA-TV as vice president/Information Center. Lane’s journalistic credentials and successful career track record speak for themselves, and I know you will all join me in welcoming Lane to his new position.”

In fact, Michaelsen’s credentials don’t speak for themselves, given his predecessor’s mysterious exit, my reader says: “Big questions surround the overnight departure of Mike Ward last Monday. Ward reportedly quarreled with General Manager Allan Horlick over a restructuring of the newsroom that included the firing of an anchor as well as other changes.”

My reader’s note continues: “Lane has served as a Gannett news director in the past. Credited with improving ratings at both Little Rock and Tampa. Though in both cases cutbacks at other stations as well as new and successful syndicated shows (one that replaced a newscast in Tampa) must be taken into account. Most recently, it was Michaelson who traveled the country instructing newspaper reporters in the art of videography. He is a proponent of ‘one-man-band’ journalism, where one person does it all.

“Since almost every move at WUSA and every manager at WUSA has been continually second-guessed by those in McLean, Va., it makes sense that the second-guessers are now running the place. Michaelson insisted the decision to take the quickly vacated WUSA job was his alone. Most guess it was part of a corporate downsize and that Ward was the odd man out.”

D.C., Tampa, Little Rock staffers: What more do you know? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: recent screenshot of WUSA’s homepage]

Documents: GCI eliminating 275 finance jobs; Asheville, WUSA-TV among first 11 taking hit

September 19, 2008

The company will eliminate the accounting and other jobs as part of the previously disclosed creation of two national shared service centers in Springfield, Mo., and Indianapolis, according to internal documents I’ve just obtained.

The documents were provided by a Gannett Blog reader who requested anonymity. They describe in detail the timetable and scale of the plan to consolidate finance work at newspapers and TV stations in a bid to cut costs as Gannett wrestles with declining revenue and profits. Previously published reports gave only a broad outline of the project.

The plan calls for a combined 11 papers and TV stations to be used as pilot sites starting last month, the documents show, with completion of the entire project expected by March 2009. About 55 jobs will be created at each of the two new centers — for a net job loss of 167 positions, the documents show. Gannett now employs about 46,000 in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

“The termination dates for employees losing their positions are determined by the implementation timetable,” one of the documents shows. “As a site begins migrating their activities to the national shared service centers, employees begin losing their positions.”

The documents say the first 11 pilot sites are the papers at Asheville, N.C.; Greenville, S.C.; Springfield, Mo.; Mountain Home, Ark.; Jackson, Miss., and Hattiesburg, Miss. The TV stations are WGRZ in Buffalo, N.Y.; WUSA in Washington, D.C.; WTSP in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; WBIR in Knoxville, Tenn., and KTHV in Little Rock.

In sharing the documents, my reader says: “This is top secret. You have to protect my identity! So many people are frustrated because Gannett is keeping this such a secret. People just want an idea of when this transition is going to happen at their units. These people are not stupid — they know there’s a schedule out there somewhere, so why not share it — even if it’s tentative. So, here it is. I’m not sure if Gannett is on schedule or not. Do with it as you feel is appropriate.”

All readers: Can you provide confirmation — and further details? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: yesterday’s Asheville Citizen-Times, Newseum]

Reports: KPNX, other stations ‘purging’ employees

May 15, 2008

Citing messages on its discussion board, TVSpy says Gannett is “purging” employees at some of its 23 TV stations — including at KPNX in Phoenix, and WTSP in St. Petersburg-Tampa, Fla. A Gannett Blog reader yesterday told me on the QT something would be coming down today, after that letter from Broadcasting President Dave Lougee.

Anyone from KUSA in Denver online? I hear you may have news for us. Leave a note, in the comments section, below. Or use this link to e-mail your reply; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.