WESH 2 anchor Martha Sugalski had some personal “live, local, late-breaking” news at her Seminole County home this morning when a bear broke into her screened-in pool enclosure.
“Woke up to a MASSIVE bear in our pool area who broke thru screen and was trying to get into cabinets. Don’t need coffee to wake up,” Sugalski tweeted today.
According to WESH.com, this is the sixth bear Sugalski has seen in her Seminole neighborhood in the past two months — more sightings than she has had in the previous six years at the home. It has been the summer of the bear on Orlando TV news, with bears showing up unexpectedly in several neighborhoods, in downtown Winter Park and even in downtown Orlando next to the 408.
WESH dispatched a crew to document the break-in and interviewed Sugalski’s husband.
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.
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….
It was breaking bear news you can use on Orlando’s big four TV news stations Friday night. WESH, WFTV, WKMG and WOFL all spent nearly the first 10 minutes of their 6 p.m. newscasts waiting for a young black bear to fall out of a tree. Holy, Goldilocks!
The bear was spotted in downtown Orlando near Orange Blossom Trail and State Road 408 around 12:30 p.m., according to the Orlando Sentinel. At 6 p.m., wildlife officials shot the bear with a tranquilizer gun. Some eight or nine minutes later, it came plunging out of its tree and into a net held by local law enforcement officials.
The bear reportedly appeared unhurt and will be relocated to the Ocala National Forest. (Local 6’s 7 p.m. news had its chopper show live coverage of pickup truck transporting the bear back to the forest.) Now, before we go back to regular programming, here’s your complete bear team coverage …
For nearly three years, WKMG-Local 6 has been the only major news outlet in Orlando not broadcasting its local news in high definition. That apparently changed this week.
Nearly six years after WFTV-Channel 9 became the first station in Florida to broadcast its news in high definition, Local 6 finally made the switch to HD in a low-key affair today.
WKMG has been broadcasting its news in the widescreen 16:9 format since 2008, but it didn’t immediately follow its rivals in upgrading to HD for its newscasts. WFTV launched HD in 2006, WESH 2 followed in 2007 and WOFL-Fox 35 in 2009. Several folks emailed me about the switch. I didn’t see where WKMG noted the change, but I did notice the graphics look better as well as the studio shots.
SAD NEWS FROM WESH:Linda Fern, 60, who had been with WESH 2 News for more than 27 years, was killed early Monday in a two-vehicle crash on I-4 in Volusia County.
“For many years, she was our go-to satellite truck operator and is best known by our reporters and photographers as the glue that made all those many satellite shots from all those storms and hurricanes work. She will be missed.”
The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash.
There are some new, improved websites in Orlando TV news, courtesy of WESH 2 and WOFL-Fox 35.
The new WESH.com site rolled out on Thursday along with others in the Hearst TV chain. The Internet Broadcasting-powered site is a big improvement of the previous version, though the homepage is still a bit cluttered. The colors are somewhat muted with a lot of gray, but that helps content stand out more than station branding. There’s a content rotator at the top to play up big stories, and weather is easily found above the scroll on the right side.
Among the best new features are an easy to use horizontal navigation bar, Facebook integration for story commenting, larger video player and photo galleries, and large icons that make it easier to use the site when viewing on an iPad or Android tablet.
The latest version of MyFoxOrlando.com debuted earlier this month, and it too is an improvement on its predecessor. This time Fox outsourced its web hosting to World Now. The new Fox site has its weather radar prominently above the scroll and a cleaner look to content areas on its home page, along with lots of “Fox” red and blue colors. The footer area at the bottom of the page nearly takes up a full screen — for no apparent reason.