Monthly Archives: March 2010

Early-bird WESH adds 4:30 a.m. newscast

WESH on Tuesday began airing an additional half hour of morning news, starting at 4:30 a.m.

“We are always looking for opportunities to serve the local news and weather needs of our viewers at times that are both convenient and valuable to them,” WESH GM Jim Carter said in a news release. “We saw that need in this time period and we filled it.”

Many stations across the nation have been moving up their morning newscasts to 4:30 a.m. The reason? With longer commutes, folks are getting up earlier. And, as one TV wag once said, the best lead-in to news is news.

WESH 2 News Sunrise usually runs No. 2 behind WFTV’s Eyewitness News Daybreak. Will getting a 30-minute jump on the competition at 4:30 a.m. make a difference?

The new  half hour of news will be anchored by Syan Rhodes, with meteorologist Amy Sweezey and traffic reporter Kimberly Williams, WESH said.

Continue reading Early-bird WESH adds 4:30 a.m. newscast

On Fox 35: ‘Former Vice President’ Sarah Palin

Came across this on YouTube. It’s a report that aired on Fox 35 News at 10 over the weekend — an account from the Tea Party tour out West.

In it, the reporter refers to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as “former vice president Sarah Palin.” Of course, he meant to say, “former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.”

Now, from what I can tell, this was a report fed to WOFL by Fox — not national video with a local voice over.

Continue reading On Fox 35: ‘Former Vice President’ Sarah Palin

It’s spring, so time for Fox 35’s hawk

Fox 35's unwelcome annual visitor

While not quite as famous as the swallows returning  to San Juan Capistrano, the folks at WOFL-Fox 35 have their own spring tradition: the return of the big, bad mama hawk.

It started several years ago, when the mama hawk decided to take up residence in a tree outside the station’s Lake Mary studios. Being protective of her young, the hawk became aggressive and started swooping down on Fox 35 employees outside the building. Last year, it actually attacked then-sports guy Kevin Holden.

The bird’s return this year has the Fox folks buzzing again. Anchor Heidi Hatch posted an update on her blog, “We have a hawk that lives our News station- but only in Spring. She’s not very nice. In fact she attacks people she doesn’t like. She’s officially back and attacked her first victim today. We’ve been told to wear a hard hat or always walk with an umbrella because it’s illegal to kill it. I’m not one to kill… but what about bird nap ….”

Anchor Sonni Abatta even Tweeted about the big bird: “I find this picture in our work cafeteria to be simultaneously entertaining and terrifying.” She attached the picture below:

I find this picture in our work cafeteria to be simultaneousl... on Twitpic

Has WFTV found Bob Opsahl’s replacement?

Josh Benson

Come July, you’ll see a new face weekends on the WFTV Eyewitness News anchor desk. But could he ultimately be Bob Opshal’s replacement?

The newcomer is Josh Benson, who is currently morning anchor at KVOA-NBC 4 in Tucson, Ariz. According to,  Benson will be  leaving Arizona at the end of May and begin his new weekend gig at Channel 9 on July 6.

But it’s what else AZBiz had to say about Benson that’s very interesting: “WFTV is owned by Cox Enterprises — parent of the company that owns Tucson’s cable system — and has been Orlando’s news ratings leader for most of the last 20 years. The station’s main weekday anchorman, Bob Opsahl, has been in that position since 1984 and the word is he is planning to retired in about a year, which could propel Benson into the top spot in the market if things work out.”

Back in December, it was reported that WFTV was beginning to think about who would replace Opsahl — and the weekend anchor position was mentioned.

According to Benson’s bio, he joined KVOA in June 2005. Previously, he was the 6 and 10 p.m. anchor at KAAL in Austin, Minn. He interned at KSTP and WCCO in Minneapolis.