Tag Archives: WFTV-9

Recent RogerSimmons.com Orlando TV News reports involving WFTV-Channel 9, the ABC affiliate for Central Florida. The station calls its newscasts Eyewitness News. Channel 9’s original call letters were WLOF (We Love Orlando Florida).

Miami anchor joining Fox 35 morning news team

LuAnne Sorrell (courtesy WSVN.com)

Some news related to Orlando TV newspeople …

LuAnne Sorrell will be joining WOFL-Fox 35 as a morning news anchor this summer, her agency — Napoli Management Group — announced. She’s arriving from Miami Fox affiliate WSVN-7, where she is a reporter and weekend anchor. According to her bio, she joined WSVN in 2005 after spending 2-1/2 years at KLAS-CBS 8 in Las Vegas. TVSpy.com says  she’s replacing  Heidi Hatch, who left Fox 35 a year ago for KUTV-CBS 2 in Salt Lake City. …

Sorrell’s replacement at WSVN in South Florida is a face familiar to Orlando TV news viewers: former WESH reporter/anchor Jeff Lennox. He left the TV biz after departing WESH but ended up at WSVN as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Lennox broke the news about his new gig on his Twitter account last week: “Anchoring weekend mornings now full-time in Miami! Couldn’t be more excited!” …

Former WFTV reporter and Hearst TV Washington reporter Jane Watrel is returning to O-Town. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reports that Watrel is joining the Orange County Sheriff’s office as a media specialist/public information officer ….

NewsBlues.com reports that Stephanie Kolp, a reporter WBBH-NBC 2 in Fort Myers, is joining WESH at a reporter. She starts June 21. …

Mark Joyella will join WFTV-Channel 9 as reporter/weekend morning anchor. Joyella previously worked at CNN, WNYW-Fox 5 and WPIX-CW 11 in New York and WPLG-ABC 10 in Miami. NewsBlues says that WFTV News Director Bob Jordan hired Joyella in 1994 when Jordan was running the newsroom at WFTS-ABC 28 in Tampa.

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.

Jorge Estevez returning to WFTV-WRDQ anchor desk

from http://www.youtube.com/user/esteveztv

The changes keep coming at Channel 9, and there’s a familiar face returning to town. WFTV announced this week that former anchor Jorge Estevez will be back on the Eyewitness News anchor desk starting June 4.

Estevez left WFTV in 2006 for CBS O&O WFOR-4 in Miami. He’s coming back to Orlando to report for WFTV but also anchor on sister station WRDQ-27 with Vanessa Welch at 6:30 p.m. and Martie Salt at 10 p.m. He’s replacing Josh Benson, who will be leaving WFTV-WRDQ after veteran Greg Warmoth was elevated as “heir apparent” for Bob Opsahl’s anchor chair.

Video of Estevez’s most recent audition at WFTV appeared to accidentally make its way onto the Internet and was indexed by Google earlier this week. Oops. But that’s OK.

Estevez is already going out of his way to ingratiate himself to his new co-anchors, sending them flowers — based on a picture posted on Twitter on Thursday.

Orlando TV news anchors in the news

Some updates for you on some former Orlando TV newsers who are making news …

Mike Garofalo, who left Local 6 back in September 2010 to be closer to his reporter wife in Miami, has landed back on the anchor desk. TVSpy.com reports that he joined  WOAI-NBC 4 in San Antonio as morning anchor.  Garofalo arrived at WKMG in December 2008 from KOAT-ABC 7 in Albuquerque. He’s likely best remembered here as the man who replaced longtime popular anchor Bob Frier on Channel 6’s anchor desk. …

Popular former WFTV anchor Chris Egert, who left Channel 9 in 2007 to head to Cox sister station KIRO-CBS 7 in Seattle, is heading to Minneapolis. NewsBlues.com reports that Egert is making the move to care for his ailing father. On Thursday, Egert posted on his Facebook page that his last day as morning anchor at KIRO is Friday, and that he’ll start at  KSTP-ABC 5 in Minneapolis on April 26. …

If you were watching the cable or national networks’ coverage of this week’s Texas tornadoes, you might have spotted a couple of former Orlando newsers. Former WKMG morning meteorologist Larry Mowry was doing storm coverage on KTVT-CBS 11 in Continue reading Orlando TV news anchors in the news

Bob Baxa, Greg Warmoth involved in changes at WFTV-Channel 9

There are some changes in roles taking place at market-leader WFTV-Channel 9.

First, longtime morning traffic guy Bob Baxa is no longer reporting for the station. He’s been replaced by Racquel Asa. “He did a good job for us. I was very happy with Bob’s performance,” WFTV news director Bob Jordan told Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “He had been here the better part of 10 years. We wanted to do something different.” Baxa wasn’t actually a WFTV employee; he worked for traffic-data provider Metro Networks. Asa, who comes to Orlando from WSYR-ABC 9 in Syracuse, N.Y., is a WFTV employee and will also report for later newscasts, too.

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News Daybreak anchor Greg Warmoth is getting some additional duties at WFTV. He’s been tapped as the interim moderator of Channel 9’s public affairs show, Central Florida Spotlight. He replaces Craig Patrick. “Craig has family in Tampa. His old station, WTVT, offered him a job to come back. It was a family motivated decision,”  WFTV General Manager Shawn Bartelt told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s a great guy, and we were lucky to have him when we did.”

WFTV’s Daralene Jones grills Magic’s Bob Vander Weide over fake report

Bob Vander Weide and Daralene JonesIt was a bit bizarre and a little awkward during the Orlando Magic’s news conference on Wednesday as Bob Vander Weide announced his retirement as the team’s CEO. His sudden departure has rumors flying on the Internet — but it’s facts we’re after.

Unfortunately, WFTV-Channel 9 news reporter Daralene Jones aggressively questioned Vander Weide about his decision — and quoted a made-up conversation between the Magic exec and Dwight Howard, created by writer Barry Petchesky at Deadspin.com.

“Did you drunk-dial Dwight Howard?” Jones asked. She then interrupted Vander Weide during his answer to ask again, “You called him, but you weren’t drunk?” Vander Weide said he had two or three glasses of wine over a three-hour period but wasn’t drunk.

Jones then quoted from the Deadspin.com post, asking, “Do you recall saying ‘Me and Otis and Stan [Van Gundy], we don’t want you to go anywhere. We suck without you. Everyone knows. We’ve got nothing else. Orlando is a terrible place, and we’ve got the Amway thing, but who the [“f”] cares?’ Do you recall saying any of that?”

Vander Weide said he wouldn’t discuss any conversation he had with Howard.

Jones persisted. “The people of Orlando spent a lot of money on this venue and they would probably want to know if you are out there trashing the city.” Vander Weide said he’s not doing that, he loves Orlando and he will keep a home here.

(Watch raw video of the the exchange for yourself — it starts around the 22:05 mark)

After the odd episode was chronicled by George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel and blogger Evan Dunlap on Orlando Pinstriped Post, Petchesky responded on Deadspin.com …

So I wrote an imaginary voicemail message from Vander Weide to Howard. I filled it with the “I love you man’s” and exaggerated emotions common to every late-night drunk call ever, and threw in some shots at Orlando and the Magic. … At no point did I write that this was fake, but I also never claimed it was an actual conversation. If you have to make clear that something [is] satire, you’ve failed. Conversely, if people are fooled into thinking it’s real, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve succeeded. Plenty of people were fooled, both on Twitter and in the comments of my post. And apparently Daralene Jones and Alyssa Newcomb of ABC News, who also ran with the “report” that Vander Weide told Howard the Magic would “suck” without him.

There are so many “major fails” involved in this episode, it’s hard to keep track of all of them. But I think you can figure that out on your own.