WESH-2 weekend meteorologist Malachi Rodgers looks like he’ll finally have some weekends off. NewsBlues.com reports Rodgers is heading home to South Carolina to be the new weekday morning meteorologist on WSPA-CBS 7 in Spartanburg. According to his bio on WESH.com, Rodgers’ hometown is Jonesville, S.C. He was “formerly a meteorologist at WIS-TV, WACH-TV, and WOLO-TV in Columbia, S.C., and WCCB-TV in Charlotte, N.C.,” his bio says. Rodgers joined WESH in October 2007.
Other changes in Orlando TV news…
Central Florida News 13 weekend anchor Adam Longo is heading out west, taking a weekend anchor and weekday reporter position at KPHO-CBS 5 in Phoenix, Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reports. Longo joined News 13 in 2009 after spending a year and a half at WKMG-Local 6, before being dropped by the station during a large-scale staff reduction. Long starts his new job on Aug. 27. …
NewsBlues.com says the man replacing Longo will be Joel Schipper, weekend anchor and reporter at WNDU-NBC 16 in South Bend, Ind. According to his station bio, “A native to the Midwest, Joel was born and raised near Grand Rapids, MI. He moved to Barry University in Miami, FL on an acting scholarship and finished his college career at Grand Valley State University in Michigan with a degree in broadcast journalism.” …
Fox 35 has hired a new weekend morning anchor and weekday reporter. NewsBlues.com says she’s Lauren Johnson, and she’s coming to Orlando from Fox O&O WHBQ-Fox 13 in Memphis. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because she previously worked in O-Town at News 13.
Some personnel moves for a couple of Orlando TV news stations …
Former News 13 morning anchor Lisa Bell is coming back to Orlando TV news. In January, she’ll be a reporter and occasional anchor on WKMG-Local 6. “She will report for the 5, 6 and 7 p.m. news and fill in as anchor wherever we need her,” WKMG General Manager Skip Valettold Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. After working at the cable news station for four years, Bell left News 13 during the summer — and many viewers wondered what happened to her. Turns out she was just “on the beach.” …
Fox 35 has hired a new morning meteorologist to replace Jim Van Fleet. Jayme King is expected to join WOFL sometime early next year. He comes from Fox-owned sister station KSAZ in Phoenix. The Orlando Sentinel reports that King is a South Florida native whose weather experience included a first-hand encounter with Hurricane Andrew. …
Meanwhile, Jim Van Fleet began his new job in Tampa on Monday as chief meteorologist at WTSP-CBS 10. The station welcomed Van Fleet by inviting viewers to post questions for the new weather guy on Facebook, and he answered some of them during the 5 and 6 p.m. telecasts.
Anchor/reporter Scott Harris, a familiar face to Orlando TV news watchers since the 1970s, is now in hospice care.
David Waters, Harris’ former colleague at Central Florida News 13, posted this update Saturday on Facebook: “For friends of Scott Harris, stop by if you are up to it. His family is moved by all the people who love him. It is time to mention it like this since a few people hadn’t heard he was in hospice, and have raced to be with him.”
Harris spent his entire career in Florida and is widely regarded for his political knowledge, coverage of the space program and great sense of humor. In the 1970s and ’80s at WESH 2, he co-anchored the evening news with Wayne Bennett and later Carol Granstrom. He also worked as a reporter for WCPX-Channel 6 before joining Central Florida News 13 for its launch in 1997. He was at News 13 until March of this year, when he stopped anchoring. Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell had a great post in March about Harris’ changing role.
Our thoughts — and those of countless others — are with Harris and his family.
Central Florida News 13 announced Monday that Orlando TV news veteran Marla Weech is now the anchor for Your Morning News.
Weech, who has been on Orlando TV since the 1980s on channels 6 and 9, joined News 13 earlier this year.
“I can’t think of a better person than Marla to help Central Florida start their day,” News 13 VP/GM Robin said in a news release. “Marla is smart, she’s talented, she’s warm, and she truly cares about our community and our viewers.”
Said Weech: “I’m excited to be greeting Central Florida every morning. It’s also wonderful to be part of a team of journalists who work around the clock to make sure our viewers have the very latest news. We’re going to make sure they have all the news, weather, and traffic information they need to get their day started right.”
Central Florida News 13 says it was its viewers who first noticed Matthew Bartlett’s “middle finger of affection” — as Judge Belvin Perry called it — during the Casey Anthony trial.
Bartlett, the 28-year-old restaurant server, admitted in court that he flipped a bird at prosecutor Jeff Ashton. But Ashton didn’t see the incident — and just about everyone else missed it to. Except News 13, which notified the court.
“Our viewers first brought it to our attention,” News 13 general manager Robin Smythe told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “It was offensive to them. We took a look at it. If we were going to provide live coverage, it’s obscene behavior. Our viewers did not like this. We got a lot of calls.”
As to why News 13 alerted the court: “We have a responsibility,” Smythe said. “It was not an effort to be a tattletale. We have an obligation to keep it clean, and we’re going to do that for our viewers.”