Tag Archives: Vanessa Echols

WFTV has good reason to break up Warmoth-Echols morning team

Vanessa Echols and Greg Warmoth (courtesy WFTV.com)

If you want to break up a longtime, top-rated anchor team, you better have a good reason. And WFTV did last week when it ended the Orlando TV-record, 15-year on-air partnership of Greg Warmoth and Vanessa Echols on its morning Daybreak newscast.

Warmoth has moved to evenings at 5:30 and 11 — replacing Bob Opsahl and becoming the heir apparent as Opsahl’s ultimate successor. Weekend morning anchor Jamie Holmes has taken Warmoth’s early-morning seat next to the popular Echols.

WFTV has tried before to find Opsahl’s replacement, only to find viewers didn’t agree with the choice. But this time, essentially grooming a popular Orlando TV veteran for its main anchor role, Channel 9 has probably got the right man in Warmoth.

Warmoth has been around Orlando TV news since 1986, when he joined WFTV. Here are some things you may or may not know about Warmoth …

  • When Warmoth joined Channel 9 in 1986,  he was part of Channel 9’s three (yes, three!) sports reporters: the other two were Glenn Dehmer and Pat Clarke.
  • He developed a strong relationship with Orlando Magic star Shaquille O’Neal — and was the one who broke the story of O’Neal leaving Orlando for the L.A. Lakers.
  • He co-hosted the morning show on Orlando sports radio station WQTM-AM with former WDIZ disc jockey “Slats” (aka Tim Guinane).
  • If my memory is correct, when ABC’s affiliates were meeting at Walt Disney World in 1997, WFTV asked weekend sports anchor Warmoth to fill-in on its morning newscast. He would become the permanent Daybreak anchor later that year.
  • For awhile, Warmoth was doing the Channel 9 morning show and then anchoring the 10 p.m. news on sister station WRDQ-Channel 27.

Casey Anthony verdict: How Orlando TV tweeted the news

In addition to watching the Casey Anthony trial on Orlando TV news, many followed coverage via reporters’ and anchors’ tweets on Twitter. Here’s a sampling of Orlando TV tweets following the verdict. (I especially like WFTV news director Bob Jordan’s tweet at the bottom):

Summer break over: Catching up on Orlando TV

After a nice summer break away from TV news, it’s time to catch up. And, wow, there has been a lot going on ….

WFTV-Channel 9: Some of the most newsworthy changes have come from an unexpected place: the usually rock-steady Eyewitness News juggernaut. The big shocker: longtime anchor Barbara West is being taken off the 5:30 p.m. news, making way for rising star Vanessa Welch. GM  Shawn Bartelt told Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker the station is making the 5:30 change to provide some flow its new  6:30 p.m. news on WRDQ-TV 27. “I have the utmost respect for Barbara West,” Bartelt said. “This is no reflection on Barbara. I have to get more faces into those 90 minutes” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. West has been at WFTV since 1986 and will continue to anchor at noon and report on the health beat. … Another longtime WFTV anchor is also getting her air time scaled back, too. Daybreak anchor Vanessa Echols will be replaced by newcomer Bianca Castro from 7-9 a.m. on the Eyewitness News This Morning show on WRDQ. “We felt she needed a break,” Bartelt said of Echols. … And even more changes at WFTV: Main sports anchor Phil Burton is being shuffled out the door to make way for Christian Bruey, 26, who does play by play for the Daytona Cubs. Bruey starts in September. Burton will hang around through football season. … Morning meteorologist Matt Makens is departing WFTV to accept a weather position at Denver’s KMGH-ABC 7. … Speaking of Channel 9’s new  6:30 p.m. news, with Welch and newcomer Josh Benson, it will debut on Labor Day. … Finally (whew!), WFTV announced it will replace Oprah at 4 p.m. with Dr. Oz, starting in 2011. So much for theories that WFTV was going to launch a 4 p.m. newscast.

WOFL-Fox 35: After eight years, General Manager Stan Knott announced plans to leave the Fox O&O. While he’s been on board, the station has greatly expanded its news footprint in the mornings, evenings and weekends. No word on a replacement yet. More here.  … Dr. Phil will be joining the Fox 35 family in 2011.

WKMG-Local 6: Well, when we last checked, WKMG was in the process of a major house cleaning. Gone were anchor Jacqueline London, reporter Donald Forbes and morning weather guy Eric Wilson. The changes kept on coming. Reporter Jessica D’Onofrio has left, stepping up to ABC O&O WLS-7 in her hometown of Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times says she starts Aug. 30 will be covering breaking news in the mornings. So, what about all those openings at WKMG? Julie Broughton, formerly of Central Florida News 13, has been brought in temporarily to help anchor on the weekends. More new faces at the stationShaun Chaiyabhat, from Memphis, is a GA; Quinn Schuler, from Tuscon, Ariz.,  is a GA; and Cortney Hall, from Champaign, Ill. is a morning reporter. … We mentioned earlier, WKMG is going to let Dr. Phil — which replaced its 5 p.m. news — go to WOFL in 2011. Will WKMG get back into the early evening news game? GM SkipValet isn’t saying.

WESH 2 News: Sunrise anchor Jason Guy became a daddy earlier this month. He and his wife welcome daughter Quinn Katherine Guy. … And congrats to Todd Grasley, who had been heading up WESH’s High School Playbook website. He’s off to Panama City for a new weekend sports anchor gig.

Central Florida News 13: Well, I was surprised. Hal Boedeker reported on News 13’s ratings and how they fare against the other stations in town. I didn’t think 13 was much of a player, but the local cable news station regularly beats some of its broadcast competitors in several news time slots. Who knew “Weather on the 1’s” could be so popular? … Anchor Jackie Brockington, missing for three months, returned to the air. Where was she? On medical leave. “Nothing serious — reconstructive foot surgery,” Brockington told Boedeker.

WESH anchors keep rolling in Celebrity Smackdown game

smack3The WESH duo of Jim Payne and Martha Sugalski dispatched WKMG’s main anchors to move into the third round of OrlandoSentinel.com’s Celebrity Smackdown game. Also advancing to face the Channel 2 Cinderellas — the anchors of WFTV’s top-rated Daybreak show, Greg Warmoth and Vanessa Echols. Earlier, Payne and Sugalski upset WFTV evening anchors Bob Opsahl and Martie Salt.

More on the other big O-Town TV matchup after the jump …

Continue reading WESH anchors keep rolling in Celebrity Smackdown game

Channel 9’s Echols helping cancer patients

 WFTV morning and noon anchor Vanessa Echols went through a very public battle with breast cancer four years ago. Today, she’s healthy, in remission and giving something back. She has  founded the Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach, a volunteer group that helps breast-cancer patients with errands, visits to the doctor and providing the emotional support that is so needed during a health crisis.

In a story in today’s Orlando Sentinel, Echols also says

Continue reading Channel 9’s Echols helping cancer patients