Monthly Archives: December 2010

Orlando TV (and print) newsers come together for Christmas

It’s back. The Orlando Sentinel’s annual ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas video has been posted. In addition to Sentinel staffers, it also includes  prominent Orlando TV newsers, politicians, athletes and theme park characters reading the famous holiday poem. (I even make a cameo — see me waving my hands like an idiot in the background while Greg Dawson is reading his part.)

Merry Christmas to you and you family!

Barbara West leaving WFTV’s Eyewitness News

Veteran anchor Barbara West, who has been with WFTV’s Eyewitness News for 24 years, is leaving the station. reported today that West will leave the station sometime before Jan. 1. “She’s had a great run. We’ll miss her,”  News Director Bob Jordan told NewsBlues.

Despite a long career in Orlando in which she was Channel 9’s health reporter and anchor for various time slots over the years, she is best remembered — at least from a national perspective — for her satellite interview with Sen. Joe Biden during the 2008 presidential campaign. She asked Biden “How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?”

Biden’s reponse: “Are you joking? Is this a joke? Is that a real question?”

Locally, West is well-known on the charity event circuit.

West, who has been the station’s longtime noon and 5:30 p.m. anchor, started to she her role diminish in the past several months. She was taken off the 5:30 news to make way for rising star Vanessa Welch.

NewsBlues said “West will likely use accumulated vacation days, and is expected to sign off soon.”

Industry honors for WKMG’s Pipitone, WESH’s Delis

Belated congratulations to WKMG investigative reporter Tony Pipitone and WESH chief photographer Pete Delis.

The two Orlando TV newsmen were honored with Regional Silver Circle Awards at the Suncoast Emmy Awards on Dec. 4 in Fort Lauderdale.

The Silver Circle Award recognizes those people who have made significant contributions to television over a period of 25 years or more. The Suncoast Chapter has offered these awards to television professionals in its southern U.S. region since 1989.

Noah joins News 13 as morning traffic reporter

Veteran Orlando traffic watcher Ted Noah has joined News 13 as its weekday morning news traffic reporter, the station announced Monday.

Noah’s face may not be familiar to Central Florida viewers, but his voice should be. He previously worked for Metro Traffic, providing traffic reports for radio and for News 13’s Traffic Check since 2005. The station also said on many occasions he also served as the photographer for Sky 13 — its shared Metro Traffic helicopter.

“Our viewers count on News 13 to get their day started right and to help them get to work and school on time,” Robin Smythe, News 13’s Vice President/General Manager, said in a news release. “Ted Noah elevates our News 13 Traffic Check reports by offering extended live coverage of morning traffic conditions across Central Florida.  If you need to know the best way to get to work in the morning, there’s no one better to count on than Ted and News 13’s Traffic Check.”

Blast from the Past: INN on WOFL-TV 35

Today’s “Blast from the Past” newspaper advertisement comes from the February 15, 1981, edition of the (Orlando) Sentinel Star.

It highlights the weeknight information programming on then-independent WOFL-TV 35. Like many independent stations, WOFL picked up the syndicated Independent Network News, produced out of WPIX-11 in New York City. For many small stations, including TV 35, this was the only newscast they carried. WOFL did air “News Capsule” updates in prime time, but I’m pretty sure they had not yet started when this newspaper advertisement appeared.

If you have trouble making out the type, here’s what it says: “Catch national and international news as it happens! Anchors Pat Harper, Bill Jorgensen and Steve Bosh keep you up-to-date on top news, sports and weather.

INN was followed at 10:30 p.m. on TV 35 with the short-lived syndicatesd show, World of People. “Tonight, Sara Edwards takes us out on the town with 80-year-old Disco Sally, to find out why she married a man 52 years her junior.” (Gee, I think I would like to know the answer to that myself.)

INN ran from 1980 to 1990. The start of Cable News Network and the birth of the Fox network make the need for a national 10 p.m. newscast on independent stations less important for viewers. That’s too bad.

Here’s a YouTube clip of Independent Network News.

And click here for previous entires in our Blast from the Past series.

WESH gang back together again at Growing Bolder

Catching up on Orlando TV news after being busy Christmas shopping …

Former WESH anchor Wendy Chioji has reunited with former Channel 2 colleagues Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer on their Growing Bolder television venture. She’s joining the show for its second season on public television. She was at the show’s Maitland headquarters recently to tape segments for season 2. Click here to see a video of the shoot. And the Orlando Sentinel  has more on Chioji’s new role with Growing Bolder. …

WESH News Director Bob Longo responded to Comedy Central’s poking of the station for its incorrect report about “red and green” being banned at Heathrow Elementary for the holidays. Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker says Longo sent him the following email: “We pride ourselves on providing our viewers with accurate information. It’s one of our core tenets. And while we always strive to be accurate, in this case we made a mistake We regret it. We spoke to the school superintendent after the story aired and asked what we could do to make it right. We corrected our mistake immediately on TV and posted the school’s entire statement on line, which was two weeks ago. They are satisfied.” …

WKMG reacts to that news, reported here via, that it was dropping weekend sports anchor Todd Romero and bringing in Jamie Seh from Albany, N.Y., as his replacement. “It’s a personnel matter. He has left the station following the conclusion of his contract,” WKMG General Manager Skip Valet told Boedeker. Said Romero, “My contract was ending Dec. 31. I just think they didn’t want me to say goodbye on the air.” …

Finally, another WKMG alumnus, Donald Forbes, has joined Bright House Networks as its senior director of corporate communications. Congrats.