Some quick Orlando TV News updates …
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.
PBS fans in Orlando can breathe easier. On July 1, WUCF TV will officially take over as the main PBS affiliate in Central Florida when public broadcasting leaves longtime home WMFE-TV.
Though reported earlier, the deal was officially announced today. The University of Central Florida said in a news release that WUCF TV will become the main channel on WBCC-Channel 68.1 and begin airing PBS programming the day WMFE adopts its new religious programming format.
“In April, when WMFE-TV announced its affiliation with PBS would end as of June 30, we at UCF knew that Central Florida stood to lose a treasured community resource,” UCF President John Hitt said. “However, as America’s leading partnership university, we also know that great turnarounds can happen for the common good through the power of partnerships. I look forward to July 1 and enjoying some of my favorite shows on the new WUCF TV.”
WBCC-TV, named after Brevard Community College, has been programming Channel 68 since October 1991 and started carring PBS shows as a secondary affiliate in 2002. (Side note: The college station was originally WRES-Channel 18, when it went on the air in 1988. But in 1991 it executed a deal with then-independent — now CW affiliate — WKCF to swap channel positions. But I digress …) UCF has been airing its community programming, dubbed UCF TV, on WBCC’s digital subchannel 68.2. Part of the new arrangement will have WUCF’s main PBS programming on 68.1, with WBCC’s programming and UCF TV sliding to subchannels 68.2 and 68.3.
Still not totally clear to me: will WUCF be the official call letters of record for Channel 68, or does it retain WBCC?
Click here to read the full press release, and click here to see the new website for WUCF TV (you can also make a donation to the new PBS station there, too.)
Click here for Orlando Sentinel coverage.