Monthly Archives: March 2008

After 20 years, Wendy Chioji to leave WESH

WESH veteran anchor Wendy Chioji — who celebrates her 20th anniversary with the station today — will leave Channel 2 at the end of the May sweeps. In a press release issued Thursday, WESH said Chioji’s decision to leave “was based on her personal interest in moving west and the opportunity to open a new business in Park City, Utah. She and two partners will launch a new Vision Quest cycling center in that city.”

 “It’s a bittersweet time for me,” said Chioji. “I have loved living in Central Florida for 20 years. I’ve also learned that life cycles have an ending, and it’s time to end my life cycle at WESH. I am forever grateful to Hearst-Argyle and WESH for the amazing two decades-long run here. It has allowed me to work with the most talented people in the business and live in one of the greatest cities on earth. I am excited about my new adventure.”

 It became apparent not too long ago that WESH was turning away from its iconic anchor when the station brought in Martha Sugalski to anchor the 11 p.m. news with Jim Payne. Despite WESH’s improved numbers at 11 p.m., Chioji remains popular.

 How popular? News of Chioji’s departure was among the top stories on the OrlandoSentinel.com Web site, and a photo gallery of her career at WESH had more than 65,000 page views on the Sentinel Web site on Thursday. That’s really not surprising for someone who has been in viewers’ homes for 20 years, sharing personal information such as her battle with breast cancer.

 “Wendy is a class act,” said WESH 2 News Director Barbara Maushard. “She will be greatly missed in the WESH 2 newsroom and in homes all around Central Florida.”

 No decisions have been made regarding Chioji’s replacement or other anchor assignment changes at the station.

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WKMG Local 6 News goes 16:9

UPDATED: With little fanfare, WKMG has thrown the switch on 16:9 for its newscasts. (Oops — I reported early that Local 6 had gone to HD. Not the case, however.)

 Local 6 is using 16:9 studio cameras, but its weather graphics and most field reports are still in standard 4:3 with “wings” on the side of the screen. I believe there was at least one 16:9 report tonight — some highlights from the Magic’s game.

 The 16:9 switch comes after WKMG has been stretching its picture to fill the 16:9 ratio of today’s HD televisions. That was a bit annoying and also stretched out the anchors’ faces, making them look like the reflections in one of those old carnival funhouse mirrors.

 WFTV was the first in Florida to switch to HD for its newscasts in July 2006, and WESH followed with its HD newscasts on Nov. 1, 2007. Now in O-Town, only WKMG and is Fox O&O WOFL-Channel 35 are not in HD.

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