In a move expected by many in the TV industry, WFTV has named Matt Parcell as news director — replacing Orlando TV legend Bob Jordan. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reported that Parcell started his new role on Monday, after Jordan exited last Friday for his new gig at Seattle’s KOMO-CBS 7. Wrote Boedeker:
Parcell, who has been at WFTV since 1997, had been managing editor and Jordan’s No. 2. Parcell said viewers won’t see a change in the station’s approach. “We are about local news and investigative reporting,” Parcell said. “Channel 9 Eyewitness News — it’s not Bob Jordan’s news. Jordan guided us, but we use research. We take a broader look. It’s not top down. It’s a group effort.”
Meanwhile, former PBS station WMFE-24 finally has a new owner — the University of Central Florida. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Federal Communications Commission gave approval for UCF to take over the WMFE license as part of a $3.3 million deal. The move will mean “WUCF TV” — the PBS channel that UCF runs with Brevard Community college on WBCC-TV 68, will be moving to Channel 24 — the longtime home of PBS in Central Florida. Read the full story here.
Catching up on stories missed while taking a summer break …
In time for the Olympics, WESH 2 debuted some flashy new graphics and music for WESH 2 News. These graphics replace the standard Hearst TV graphics that WESH has been using for the past six years — and some suspect they will become the new standard for Hearst stations. Got to say, I like them. In addition to the new graphics, WESH is also welcoming the London Olympics with its nightly Olympic Zone show, hosted by Martha Sugalski and Jim Payne. See more of the new WESH graphics here. …
Other changes at WESH: weekend anchor Meredith McDonough is moving to weekday mornings starting Aug. 6. She’ll replace Syan Rhodes, who will move to WESH’s 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WKCF-CW 18 — helping spell Sugalski and Payne. Read more about the shuffle here. …
Very quietly, Fox 35 recently launched weekend morning newscasts. The weekend editions of “Good Day” run from 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Looks like Tom Johnson is the anchor and Rob Eicher is handling the weather.
Orlando TV icon Bob Jordan is leaving his post as WFTV news director on Aug. 17. As reported earlier, he’s taking the news director spot at Cox sister station KIRO-7 in Seattle….
Apparently, Bob Jordan’s move to Seattle isn’t a done deal.
Today, NewsBlues.com offered this update on the WFTV news director’s career plans:
“Jordan, who turns 66 today, is considering the offer. Last week, he visited KIRO-7-CBS and even conducted a morning editorial meeting. Seattle is familiar territory. His daughter and grandkids live there, and he visits regularly. He was news director at Belo’s KING-5-NBC nearly 20 years ago. This week, Jordan and his wife are vacationing in Minnesota and have stayed below the radar while they try to figure out what to do next.”
Mike James, the NewsBlues.com founder and editor, was once WFTV’s sports director under Jordan, and likely has the inside scoop about his former boss.
Is longtime news director Bob Jordan leaving WFTV? That’s that insider website FTVLive.com is reporting.
“FTVLive FIRST told you days ago that WFTV (Orlando) News Director Bob Jordan was spotted interviewing at KIRO in Seattle. Now, Seattle insiders tell FTVLive that it is a “done deal” and that Jordan will be leaving O-Town and head to Seattle.”
Jordan has been at Channel 9 for the past 10 years — his third stint as news director at WFTV. He’s credited with providing stability to the station which had gone through five news directors in six years before his most recent arrival.
Why would Jordan leave now? Good question. He’s close to retirement age, and based on his previous Tweets, I believe he has family in the Seattle area. KIRO-CBS 7, like WFTV, is a Cox-owned station — so he gets to stay with this company. Seattle is familiar territory for Jordan, as he served as news director at KING-NBC 5 before heading to KCBS-2 in LA in the ’90s.
Back in Orlando, what’s left for Jordan? He’s built WFTV into a juggernaut (three times), but one that now is about to go through a series of transitions. Greg Warmoth is being eased into Bob Opsahl’s role as main anchor, there’s a new morning anchor team that’s been installed, too. And with Oprah gone, WESH-2 has been edging closer to Channel 9’s Eyewitness News in the early evening.
After seven years, anchor Cale Ramaker has quietly left WOFL-Fox 35. His final appearance on the station was last Thursday.
Wednesday morning, NewsBlues.com first reported Ramaker’s departure. After several websites also reported the news, Ramaker himself confirmed it on his Twitter account. “I kept quiet about it but, yes, I’ve left Fox 35 in Orlando. Specifics aside, I will be moving west and starting my new job July 16,” he tweeted.
Laurie Jacoby, Ramaker’s agent, told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker that Ramaker “has accepted another position, which we are not at liberty to discuss yet because his new station has not made an announcement. It’s a very exciting opportunity, and he is looking forward to a new challenge.”
NewsBlues, quoting “friends,” says Ramaker is heading to San Diego.
Ramaker joined Fox 35 in 2005 as the main male anchor on its 10 p.m. newscast. The station’s news footprint expanded during Ramaker’s tenure, and he also anchored at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
WOFL brought in former WKMG-Local 6 anchor Bob Frier in December 2009 and used him on the station’s hourlong 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts – somewhat diminishing Ramaker’s role at Fox 35.
Still, Ramaker had his admirers – even at rival stations. “Fox35 has lost a darned good anchor. Good luck, Cale Ramaker,” tweeted WFTV-Channel 9 News Director Bob Jordan.
As the November sweeps wind up, TVSpy.com asked a number of news directors around the country to talk about the quarterly sweeps period — and what are “successful” sweeps stories they plan and execute coverage during the important ratings period. One of those polled was WFTV veteran news director Bob Jordan. His answer, below, is that a successful station needs to act like it’s in a sweeps period all the time …
If the definition of a “sweeps story that works” is one that increases ratings, I would argue that most sweeps stories produced by local television stations do not work. They don’t move the needle.
I analyze ratings every day. Here’s what drives them: consistent execution of superior local news coverage. A strong lead-in is highly desirable (almost every station that ran “Oprah” as a news lead-in enjoyed a #1 newscast in the time period that followed) and trumps stunting.
It’s true that severe weather and breaking news spike ratings, but you can’t schedule either to happen during a ratings period. A well-executed, highly promoted investigative piece can spike ratings, but few of them actually do.
In today’s media environment, a winning station has to produce compelling content every day. At WFTV, we run a modified “sweeps drill” 12 months a year and simply ramp it up during rating periods. We choose stories that reinforce our brand.
Producing so-so content 9 months out of the year and then trotting out special content for the other 3 is not a winning strategy.