With college football in the midst of an expansion craze, WKMG Sports Director David “Ping” Pingalorehad a big scoop Wednesday: “multiple college football sources have said that the University of Central Florida and Memphis could be invited to join the Big East conference as soon as next week.”
Big East commissioner John Marinatto and other league officials told FanHouse that an Orlando TV report claiming the Memphis and the University of Central Florida would be invited to join the Big East as soon as next week is inaccurate. “Those reports are not true,” Marinatto told FanHouse Thursday.
This isn’t the first time Ping has gone out on a limb with a report. Back in December, he reported that Florida Gators football Coach Urban Meyer had a heart attack during mid-season — one health reason that may have led to the coach’s decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the team.
As a UCF grad and Knights fan, I hope Ping’s latest report proves to be true.
WKMG’s THE 6 O’Clock News hour is about to get some competition.
WFTV announced today that it will expand its Eyewitness News by a half hour in September, adding a 6:30 p.m. show on sister station WRDQ-TV 27 — giving Central Floridians two choices for local news at a time that has traditionally been reserved for national news.
But don’t expect to see Bob Opsahl or Martie Salt working the extra half hour. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reports that Vanessa Welch and Josh Benson will co-anchor the 6:30 show — which goes up against ABC’s World News on WFTV.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a reduction in ABC ‘World News’ at all,” WFTV/WRDQ GM Shawn Bartelt told Boedeker. “You’ll see people who want local news at 6:30 coming to WRDQ.”
My 2 Cents:Benson was hired to be WFTV’s weekend anchor, but he’s moving the WRDQ 10 p.m. and 6:30 shows to replace Darrell Greene, who is leaving for Memphis. Sure looks like he’s being groomed as Opsahl’s eventual replacement. … Perhaps this new show is WFTV’s way of also gearing up to add news at 4 p.m. in the fall of 2011 once Oprah goes away. … Knowing the rivalry between WFTV and WESH, it wouldn’t surprise me if WESH had planned a 6:30 show on its sister station, WKCF-CW 18, and WFTV wanted to trump its foe by announcing now. Also wouldn’t surprise me if WESH now decides to to add a 6:30 show on CW18. … And, how embarassing would it be for WKMG’s low-rated 6 p.m. hour to get beat by WRDQ this fall!
Some quick out-of-town news with Orlando connections …
Former WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Doug Kammerer — who was part of the team that launched the station’s first morning show, Good Day Orlando — is making news in the nation’s capital. He’s been named the new chief met at NBC O&O WRC-4. The Washington Post reports, “The hiring of Kammerer suggests management at NBC-4 prioritized injecting youth into its evening news team of veterans Jim Vance, Doreen Gentzler, and Dan Hellie [the former WFTV-Channel 9 sports anchor]. Kammerer just celebrated his 35th birthday last month which will make him the youngest chief meteorologist in the D.C. area by a long shot. He is young enough to be [departing weatherman] Bob Ryan’s son … and younger than any of the meteorologists at NBC-4 who will be under him.” …
Cox’s Charlotte dupolopy — WSOC-ABC 9 and WAXN-TV 64 — is taking a page out of its Orlando sister stations’ playbook. Just as WFTV launched an expanded Eyewitness News This Morning show on WRDQ-TV 27 from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays, WSOC will now do the same in Charlotte on WAXN. The Charlotte Observer reports, “WSOC has two sister stations in Orlando, also owned by Atlanta-based Cox, that use the same model — two hours of early news on the network affiliate, then another two hours on the independent station. It has proven successful, says Joe Pomilla, WSOC vice president.”
You may remember Scott Walker, the former WESH 2 Sunrise anchor who left O-Town to anchor at Hearst sister station WDSU-NBC 6 in New Orleans. He’s been out on the front lines of the oil spill — and he’s been trying to do his job reporting from the beaches where BP workers are cleaning up oil. Only problem is BP doesn’t want Walker there. This video clip of Walker’s attempt to talk to BP workers has made the rounds, even earning him a mention on Huffington Post.
Walker, an avid Tweeter, posted earlier on Twitter, “I’m getting e-mails and tweets from all over the U.S. after this video. Thanks to everyone sending kind words.”
Some quick notes from the news that is television …
Happy birthday, WESH. Channel 2 turned 54 years old on Friday. The station went on the air June 11, 1956, from Daytona Beach. Some fun facts about WESH: It was the 19th television station in Florida. … It wasn’t the only NBC affiliate in Central Florida when it went on the air. It shared NBC with WDBO-Channel 6 because most folks outside of Volusia County could not receive WESH, which was broadcasting on a 300-foot tower in Daytona at the time. On November 5, 1957 — the day WESH activated a new 1,000-foot tower in Orange City — it got the NBC affiliation all to itself. … Of the Big 4 network affiliates in Orlando, WESH is the only station with its original call letters. Check out our WESH history page for more information. …
Fox-owned WRBW-My 65 celebrated its sweet 16 birthday on June 4. It went on the air as independent Rainbow 65 in 1994. …
I’ve been traveling a lot lately and came across some familiar faces on TV. In Chicago, former WKMG sports anchorRyan Bakeris now at WBBM-CBS 2 as the main sports guy at the CBS O&O. In Norfolk/Virginia Beach, former WESH morning anchor Tom Schaad is the main anchor at WAVY-NBC 10. …
Eboni Deon has joined WFTV as Channel 9’s new weekend meteorologist. She previously worked at CNN International and The Weather Channel — which could explain why she has admirers from across the globe on her Facebook Fan Page. She replaces Ben Smith, who moved from Channel 9 to WHNT-CBS 19 in Huntsville, Ala. (And WHNT is also the home of former WESH meteorologist Dan Sattefield.) …
I don’t write much about Central Florida News 13 — since I can’t get it on my home TV — but the cable station says it will launch a new website soon. “More video. Easier to Use. More of What YOU Want,” is how News 13 is describing its new cfnews13.com page. Stay turned.
Orlando’s WFTV-Channel 9 is among seven TV stations across the nation being penalized by the Federal Communications Commission for violations of the Children’s Television Act of 1990. WFTV was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine for exceeding the limits on commercials allowed during kids’ TV shows more than 150 times.
According to FCC documents, the violations were self reported by WFTV during its 2004 license renewal. The station blamed a former employee for not understanding the FCC rules.
Here’s part of what the FCC report said:
“In Exhibit 25, the Licensee reported that the Station exceeded the children’s television commercial limits on 154 occasions during the license term. Of these overages, 153 were 15 seconds in duration. The Licensee appeared to indicate that the remaining overage was two minutes and 45 seconds in duration, and indicated that this overage was caused by a technical failure.
“… The Licensee attributed the overages to human error by the Station’s staff in scheduling the ABC network children’s programs to accommodate the Station’s local news. The Licensee stated that pursuant to its review of the Station’s programming after the departure of the employee handling the Station’s children’s programming responsibilities, it discovered an apparent misunderstanding by this former employee of the Commission’s commercial limits requirements. The Licensee asserted that it took immediate steps to ensure the Station’s future compliance with the children’s television commercial limits. The Licensee also averred that the overages were not motivated by monetary benefit. According to the Licensee, the Station is committed to broadcast and non-broadcast efforts for children and has participated in programs and events dedicated to supporting families and children during the license term. The Licensee requested that in reviewing its admitted overages, the Commission consider the mitigating circumstances7 and the Station’s “record as a licensee with a demonstrated commitment to children and children’s programming.”