Stevens, the veteran newsman who was hired by Kevin O'Brien
as news director of Adell Broadcasting's WADL-38 in Detroit
(Market #11) but was fired nine days later by company president Kevin
Adell, says he feared for his life and worried that
"I might never be seen again," before a meeting with Adell
officials last week.
Stevens had his wife secretly
videotape his meeting in the station parking lot with WADL
General Manager Matt Uhl and Adell Security Chief Rich
Mazzari "just in case they decided to recreate the
disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa."
During the brief meeting, Stevens
handed over the keys to his company car and received, in return,
"a box of my belongings (awards trophies and plaques) I had
moved into my office" nine days earlier.
In a detailed
chronology on his website, Stevens explains how he was
hired by O'Brien after a 90-minute interview in Detroit on
Tues., Feb. 14. It was the first time he had ever met O'Brien.
days later, Stevens returned to the station "to fill
out my paperwork, move things into my office and have meetings
with some of the department heads." Later that day, the
station issued a press release in which General Manager Uhl
promised, "This is the start of many great things to come.”
Unbeknownst to Stevens, his new boss, Kevin O'Brien,
had been clashing behind the scenes with station owner Kevin
On Tues., Feb. 21, Stevens
was issued a security badge with his photo, was given keys to a
company vehicle, met with the production staff, then returned to
his home to Ohio in the company car. The next day, he learned that
O'Brien had been fired for "violation of numerous
days later, Stevens spoke with General Manager Matt
(left) on the telephone and was asked to meet him
Sunday morning in Detroit. Stevens put their conversation
on the speaker phone so his 12-year-old son could listen in.
"When it was over, my son said the GM sounded like a guy who
was about to kill himself."
On Sunday, Stevens had his
wife follow him to Detroit, where she videotaped him, from a
distance, getting fired in the station parking lot. "I asked
the GM why this had been done to me," wrote Stevens.
"He replied that it was because of my connection to Kevin
later issued a statement saying, "Stevens was
escorted from the station property by security." "I
don't know if that was written just to make me sound like some
sort of criminal, or if that was what Rich [Mazzari] had
been ordered to do but decided not to do," Stevens
writes. "Either way, it never happened."
As for Kevin Adell.
"I've never met the man. I've never spoken to him."
PROMOTED UP AND OUT
When it comes to making a news
manager disappear, Adell Broadcasting could learn a thing
or two from NBC.
Late Friday afternoon, at the tail
end of the week's news cycle, Vickie Burns, the sometimes
abrasive vice president of news at KNBC-4 in Los Angeles
(Market #2), announced
in an email to fellow employees that she was leaving the
station (effective immediately) after a little more than a year
and a half on the job.
According to KNBC, "Vickie
is pursuing other opportunities."
to Burns, she was making the move of her own accord after
"discussions" with Valari Staab, head of NBC's
owned stations, and Steve Carlston, general manager of KNBC-4.
Burns said she had "decided to move my career back to my
roots." She's originally from Chicago (Market #3), where she
had worked at NBC-owned WMAQ-5.
In 2003, NBC
"promoted" her to VP News at NBC-owned WRC-4
in DC (Market #9). In 2008, she was "promoted" to VP
News at WNBC-4 in New York, where she spent 15 tumultuous
months before being "promoted"
to Los Angeles.
At KNBC, employees
complained of Burns's confrontational management style. Latinos
bitched about losing status in the news department. And
Stations Group President Staab obsessed over NBC4's
"sloppy" production. In the end, Burns was
quietly promoted up and out at NBC. Her replacement will be
the station's fourth news boss in four years.
As far as we know, no one
videotaped her departure from a nearby grassy knoll.
Dan Jacobson, who has been
assistant news director at Time Warner Cable's NY1 since
2003, was promoted
to news director late Friday. The job has been vacant since
July, when Bernie Han was bumped up the Time Warner
management chain to VP of News and Programming.
Christine Tanaka is out as
news director of Grupo Televisa's XETV-6-CW (formerly Fox)
in San Diego (Market #28). She held the job just 15 months, hired
in Oct. 2010 on the bounce from Media General's WRBL-3-CBS
in Columbus, GA (Market #127).
|In case you missed
it, Steve Kroft began his "60 Minutes"
report on the Stuxnet virus last night by showing
America his best vagina pose.
than 300 curious tire-kickers waltzed through Andy Rooney's
former home in Norwalk, CT, on Friday.
"We never sold so many
neckties. The cashiers said they were going 5 and 6 at a clip; a
testament to the popularity of Andy Rooney," said Elizabeth
Jackson, who organized the
three-day estate sale. "Everybody wanted to see his
office and everybody wanted to see the typewriter."
The typewriter, a 1923 Underwood
manual, was bought by El Lay collector Steve Soboroff for
an undisclosed amount.
Soboroff also owns
typewriters used by Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, George
Bernard Shaw, Jim Murray, and John Lennon. A companion
model from Rooney's office at CBS is reportedly
headed to the Smithsonian.
Daily Mail reported Friday that, prior to his death, Andrew
Breitbart claimed he was "in early talks with CNN
about a Crossfire-style show" that he would co-host
with former House Rep. Anthony Weiner.
"It's totally false," said
CNN's Edie Emery. "CNN was not in
Koeppen, the primary anchor at CBS-owned KDKA-2
in Pittsburgh (Market #21), is scheduled for heart surgery today
to repair a damaged mitral valve. She'll be off the air for two
"Liquid diet before surgery =
one hungry lady," she
tweeted last night. "Doesn't my surgeon know I can't go
an hour without a slice of pizza?"
Broadcasting's WTVO-17-ABC and Nexstar sister-station
WQRF-39-Fox in Rockford, IL (Market #134), ordered
the building evacuated midway through Friday's 5:00 p.m.
newscast when engineers noticed heavy snow and low altitude winds
were causing the support cables to the broadcast tower to
"bounce wildly, like a galloping horse."
Power to the station was cut and a
dozen homes near the tower were also evacuated.
"Seeing the wires behave that
way, in all the years that I've been here I've never seen them
like that," said Chief Engineer Mike Real.
went to commercial and didn't come back," the station
explained later on its website, assuring everyone, "The tower
is not expected to collapse, but if it did, it is engineered to
fall on itself to minimize external damage."
Tower specialists were brought in
Saturday morning, but their efforts were delayed by continuing
snowfall and low visibility. Finally, on Sunday, after climbing
the 700-foot structure and looking for everything from
"chipped paint to missing bolts," the
all-clear was given, and the stations returned to the air.
"We are confident in the
structural integrity of the tower," said VP-GM Jon
Skorburg, "but we always want to err on the side of
caution when it comes to safety of our staff as well as the safety
of those living in the shadow of our tower."
SPINNING THE DEMOTION
Kersh, chief meteorologist at Barrington's KVII-7-ABC
in Amarillo (Market #130) since 1998, has been demoted to the
morning shift. No, no, wait. Kersh is looking forward to
getting up at 2:30 a.m. "I'm looking forward to making
the switch," he actually said.
to KVII President Thom Pritz, Kersh's
arrival on the morning shift...beginning today...signals "a
new era for morning TV in Amarillo, the Panhandle of Texas,
Oklahoma and Eastern New Mexico."
fact, Kersh is being replaced on the primary evening
newscasts by popular former morning weather guesser Brian James
(right), who held the a.m. job for eight years before resigning
last April to "switch careers to make more time for his
wife and two daughters."
James's return to prime time
and Kersh's move to mornings will result in the departure
of Tony Derda, who worked the morning shift just 10 months.
Las Vegas Review-Journal profiles Dayna Roselli,
the morning news anchor at KLAS-8-CBS in Las Vegas (Market
#42), who says she loves getting up at 2:30 a.m. "I
love the morning shift," she said. "I wouldn't want to
do any other shift."
of the great guessing games in Central Florida television has been
"who will replace Bob Opsahl" if/when he
retires as the primary news anchor at WFTV-9-ABC in Orlando
(Market #19). Opsahl joined the station in 1978 and has
been anchoring since the mid-1980s. He's 64 and still going
long string of eager heirs apparent have come and gone. Josh
Benson (right) was hired from KVOA-4-NBC in
Tucson (Market #70) two years ago and was carefully
groomed...starting on the weekend shift, then moving to the 10:00
p.m. news on sister-station WRDQ-27. Last
June, Benson replaced Opsahl at 11:00 p.m.,
usually the first step in decommissioning a long career.
when sweeps returned, so did Opsahl. Now, for reasons
unexplained, Benson has apparently fallen out of favor and,
on Friday, the station announced that former sports reporter and
longtime morning news anchor Greg
Warmoth, 48, would replace Opsahl in the
“Bob Opsahl is not going
News Director Bob Jordan. “He’s in no hurry to
retire, and we are in no hurry to have him retire.”
For now, Warmoth will move
from mornings to the 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts. Early this
summer, he'll add the 11:00 p.m. show. Jamie Holmes, who
has anchored weekend mornings for more than a year, will replace Warmoth
on the morning and noon shift.
And the waiting continues. “Greg
must feel a little bit like Prince Charles,” said Jordan.
“How long is Mom going to be around?”
your Surly Editor® was cowering in his office Friday,
afraid to venture north into the teeth of fierce weather in
Alabama, our pal Al Tompkins was busy monitoring local
television coverage of the storms. What he saw was "simply
has plenty of video clips on his website.
"WSMV in Nashville was pounded
by a hailstorm as a big cell passed right over the station on
Knob Hill. The hail was so strong that the sound of it pinging
off the roof overwhelmed the weathercaster’s voice on the
air. The station cleared the studio but the warnings went on
despite it all," according to Tompkins.
"I was struck by how important
it is to have seasoned veterans, especially weathermen, who know
their communities like the back of their hand. Birmingham’s James
Spann, for example, seems to know every street in Alabama, he
calls them by name. He Tweets, Facebooks, blogs, does radio chats
plus stays on TV non-stop.
[in Louisville] made exceptional use of its helicopter to get
video from Southern Indiana quickly after the storm cells passed.
The chopper shots were particularly useful because it was so
difficult for journalists to get to the scenes because of traffic
"WSMV, WTVF and
especially WKRN in Nashville weathercasters warned viewers
street-by-street as big storms approached. Then, as the storms
passed, they told people it was safe to come out of their 'safe
"Sometimes newsies get so
caught up in the coverage they forget that step," noted Tomkins.
"It is a real caring act to remember to tell folks it is okay
BLUEZETTE'S GRAMMAR YAMMER
"A PBS mind in an MTV world."
Mrs. B shares a letter from a
Biloxi station manager/news director:
Technically, only the Army has soldiers.
- I am sending you part of an
email from a viewer questioning how we used the word soldier.
I thought it would be interesting if you could enlighten us in
one of your columns on what is the correct usage. I just heard
the anchor read a report regarding "the most soldier
deaths in one year." The use of the term
"soldiers" is incorrect when addressing military
personnel as a whole.
The Marine Corps has Marines.
The Navy has sailors.
The Air Force has airmen.
The Coast Guard has guardsmen.
The word troops may be used to include any military
personnel, in other words, all branches of the US Armed Forces.
The website for the DOD Dictionary
of Military and Associated Terms might be helpful to you
- Two NATO troops were
killed in what may be the latest incident involving an Afghan
serviceman. (The Daily Beast, 3-1-12)
- Veterans’ advocates say
Captain Carlson stumbled upon evidence of something they had
long suspected but had struggled to prove: that military
commanders pressure clinicians to issue unwarranted
psychiatric diagnoses to get rid of troops. (nytimes.com,