A couple of quick midweek notes…
If you’re an early, early bird, don’t expect anytime soon to turn on your TV at 4:30 a.m. and find news on market leader WFTV-Channel 9. “It’s not something I’m doing this fall,” WFTV General Manager Shawn Bartelt told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “Traffic is worse in other places. People have to get up earlier. If I see a demand, we’ll meet that demand. I’m not seeing it.” …
Elsewhere, former Fox 35 morning meteorologist Doug Kammerer continues his industry climb. The newly installed chief meteorologist at NBC O&O WRC-Channel 4 in Washington, D.C., sat down for a Q&A piece with The Washington Post. I think we now know why Doug isn’t in the Sunshine State anymore. When asked, “What do you most look forward to covering weather in D.C., ” Kammerer said, “I look forward to covering the winters here. I love the winters in this area. Last winter was simply amazing as we saw storm after storm. I doubt we will ever see another winter like that one, but just give me one big storm a year and I will be happy. I love to forecast snow totals and I pride myself on getting them right.”
Mark McEwen on CBS' Early Show in 2006 (courtesy CBSNews.com)
As we mentioned earlier this week, former WKMG-Local 6 anchor Mark McEwen returns to television this Saturday when he fills-in as the weatherman on CBS’ Saturday Early Show.
Now, media outlets around the country are picking up the feel-good story — noting McEwen’s miraculous recovery from his massive stroke nearly five years ago. …
- “Mark McEwen is a survivor, who has beat all odds and is returning to his true passion — reporting,” CBS News reports.
- “Mark McEwen will return to ‘The Early Show’ on Saturday. But it’s more than a homecoming — it will be McEwen’s first nationally televised weather forecast since suffering a devastating and debilitating stroke in 2005,” the New York Post reports.
- “Mark McEwen returning to visit ‘The Early Show,’ ” The Associated Press reports.
- “Weatherman Mark McEwen will return to CBS News and The Early Show Saturday for the first time since recovering from a near-fatal stroke,” Broadcasting & Cable reports.
- “Mark McEwen, who worked for CBS from 1987 to 2002, will appear in his first nationally televised weather forecast — and he’ll sit down for an interview — since recovering from a near-fatal stroke in 2005,” USA Today reports.
By the way, this won’t be his first appearance on the CBS morning program since his stroke. He returned in 2006 to discuss it and his recovery.
Dennis Welsh, who headed Fox-TV’s Dallas duopoly of WDFW-Fox 4 and KDFI-My 27, is the new VP and general manager for WOFL-Fox 35 and WRBW-My 65. He succeeds Stan Knott, who led the Orlando stations for the past eight years before retiring.
MediaWeek.com quotes Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, as saying: “Dennis has proven over the last 13 years that he is a strong leader who knows how to deliver successful results. His creativity make him an invaluable asset to FTS and the ideal person to lead WOFL and WRBW.”
According to MediaWeek, Welsh was VP and director of sales at Fox’s Dallas stations for the past eight years. Prior to his gig in the Big D, Welsh spent a year as VP and director of sales for Fox station sales in New York.
“I am honored to take on this new and exciting role at WOFL and WRBW and look forward to expanding the station’s presence in the market,” Welsh said in a statement.
Finally … news from WKMG-Local 6 about folks who AREN’T leaving.
MediaStars talent representation reports that weekend sports anchor Todd Romero has signed a contract extension with WKMG.
FTVLive.com, citing MediaStars, says morning anchor Laura Diaz signed a multi-year deal with WKMG — but that bit of information is not listed on MediaStars’ website. So maybe she did, maybe she didn’t — but at least she’s not leaving.
In the summer of surprising changes at WKMG Local 6 continued Tuesday with word that main 6 and 11 p.m. anchor Mike Garofalo has left the station.
This switch “started with Mike’s decision,” WKMG GM Skip Valet told Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. Garofalo was married in October to a reporter at Post-Newsweek sister station WPLG-10 in Miami. Apparently the two decided they wanted to live in Miami.
Garofalo arrived at WKMG in December 2008 from KOAT in Albuquerque, where he worked with his now-wife. In Orlando, he’ll likely will be best remembered as the man who replaced longtime popular anchor Bob Frier on Channel 6′s anchor desk.
Garofalo’s replacement — at least for now — will be Erik von Ancken. He has the 6 and 11 p.m. co-anchor slot next to Lauren Rowe on an interim basis and is a candidate to take the job permanently. “I have a lot of confidence in Erik and want to give him a chance to do the job,” Valet told Boedeker.
In an odd arrangement, von Ancken was anchoring on Saturday evenings and Garofalo was anchoring Sunday evenings. Now that both are off the weekend shift, who’s going to anchor? WKMG said that task falls to Bridgett Williams, who arrives at Local 6 from WAGT, the NBC affiliate in Augusta, Ga.
Garofalo joins the other high-profile departures from the station in the past several months, including longtime anchor Jacqueline London, morning weather guy Eric Wilson and reporter Donald Forbes.
“I don’t think we have any more turnover than the other stations,” Valet said. “Ours are coming a little quickly. I’m back to fix our product.”
Good news for former WKMG-Local 6 anchor Mark McEwen. He’s returning to network TV.
However, it’s just for a day — next Saturday when he presents the weather on CBS’ Saturday Early Show.
“It’s very heartening to be back on TV,” McEwen told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “I want to show people you can overcome a stroke or anything. I got in touch with them [CBS] about by doing entertainment pieces. They came back and said, ‘How about the weather?’ I said OK. It’s a one-day fill-in.”
As you likely know, McEwen suffered a massive stroke in 2005, just a couple of months after he was named the new morning anchor for Local 6.
Since then has come lots of therapy, public appearances to raise awareness about strokes and a book he wrote about his experience, “After the Stroke: My Journey Back to Life.” He even has a website to promote the publication.
McEwen told Boedeker that while he’s “doing fine,” “I’m still kind of dealing with the aftermath of a massive stroke.”
Read more with McEwen here.