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.
Today is a historic day for Orlando TV for two important reasons, with something old and something new.
First, it was on this day 57 years ago that television began in Orlando. WDBO-Channel 6 started broadcasting, airing shows from CBS, NBC, ABC and DuMont. It would be the area’s only TV station for two years until WESH-2 began in Daytona Beach.
Adding to the importance of July 1 in Orlando TV history, the area’s new home for PBS — WUCF-TV — begins broadcasting today on channel 68. It replaces WMFE-Channel 24, whose new owner will flip it to a religious format shortly.
“These organizations have done an outstanding job coming together to ensure that everyone in central Florida can continue enjoying their favorite PBS content, on television and online,” PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said in a news release Thursday. “WUCF will offer a full range of PBS content as well as one-of-a-kind local programming that allows everyone to discover more, to experience more and to be more. I am confident that this new collaboration will provide even greater service to the people of Central Florida.”
QUICK NOTE: Also found out that July 1 is also the anniversary of the launch of commercial television in the U.S. Friday was the anniversary of the first broadcast on New York City’s WNBT (now known as WNBC). TVNewser.com has more info.
The Federal Communications Commission has set Friday as the deadline for those opposed to the sale of public broadcaster WMFE to make their case.
According to RBRTV.com, ‘”The deadline to file a petition to deny is 5/6/11, and all related filings should reference MB Docket No. 11-75 and File No. BALEDT-20110401ACW.”
As you likely know, Orlando’s money-troubled PBS affiliate announced last month that it had entered into a deal to be acquired by Texas religious broadcaster Daystar TV for about $3 million. Unless there is some reason for the FCC to block the sale, WMFE is expected to flip off its PBS programming and become the area’s fourth religious broadcaster after WTGL-Ch. 45, WHLV-Ch. 52 and WACX-Ch. 55.
However, as RBBTV.com noted, “We’re not exactly sure what would constitute an actionable objection to the sale of this station. Daystar has the portfolio to prove that it is a qualified licensee. Some may bemoan the loss of PBS programming; others may welcome the advent of Daystar programming. The FCC does not delve into programming matters and can offer no help on that count to either side. We suspect this deal with go through according to the agreement between the two parties.”
Former longtime WESH 2 News anchors Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer have reason to celebrate this weekend.
“Growing Bolder,” the focus of their attention since leaving the world of TV news, has been picked up nationally. This weekend, the 30-minute show begins airing on more than 100 PBS stations, including markets like L.A., San Francisco, Denver and Indianapolis.
“It’s a huge piece for us — it’s pivotal,” Middleton, CEO of Bolder Media Group, told the Orlando Business Journal. Now that the show — in its fourth season — will be seen beyond Central Florida, it can go after national sponsors, pulling in cash to continue to fund this effort at journalism focused on the 50-plus demographic.
Up until this big break, the show has been airing on local PBS station WMFE-Channel 24 as well as Tampa PBS affiliate WEDU-Channel 3. But the Growing Bolder brand isn’t restricted to television. There’s a radio show that airs on 90.7 WMFE-FM, as well as lots of social media outreach, including a Growing Bolder Facebook page and Twitter feed.
The show even has a new website, GrowingBolderTV.com that explains its mission: “It’s the newest show on PBS stations coast-to-coast. It’s inspirational, affirmational and entertaining. Produced by an Emmy Award-winning team, Growing Bolder tells the stories of ordinary men and women living extra ordinary lives. It’s about people reinventing themselves to pursue their passions and build lives of significance. It’s about entrepreneurs, cancer survivors, masters athletes, rock stars, artists, and more.”
Some say the future of journalism will be in non-profit groups. One Central Florida media executive is going see if that’s true.
Former longtime WMFE TV and radio president and CEO Stephen McKenney Steck has announced the formation of the Carroll McKenney Foundation for Public Media.
“Carroll McKenney Foundation for Public Media is a new Oviedo based non-profit public charity launching as a non-commercial and educational online public media program venture,” the group said in a news release. “CMF will produce and distribute the programming via the Internet in the form of short audio segments of features and full length sound-rich audio programs and documentaries all available online via on-demand audio streaming and downloadable audio podcasts.”
After the jump, what local anchor is involved with this project …
One of the big losers is WESH 2 (NBC). The good news: Homes with digital boxes in Polk, Brevard, Osceola and Indian River counties can pick up WESH’s digital signal — thanks to its digital broadcast tower being in east Orange county. The bad news: When WESH’s transmitter on its tower in Orange City is turned off, households in Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Marion, Levy, Alachua, Putnam, Clay and St. Johns counties won’t get WESH’s signal anymore. You can read more about WESH’s signal here.
Here’s how some other area stations will fare:
WRDQ- 27 (Independent): Analog tower in Osceola County; digital tower in east Orange. It picks up a larger number of households in Volusia, Putnam, Marion, Sumter, Hernando, Pasco and Polk. The more northerly digital tower means the loss of households in Hardee, Highlands, Okechobee and Indian River counties.
WOFL-35 (Fox): Analog tower in east Orange; digital tower in east Orange. With new digital footprint, it gains households in Flagler, Putnam, Marion, Sumter, Hernando, Citrus, Polk, Osceola, Brevard and Indian River counties.
WKMG-6 (CBS): Analog tower in east Orange; digital tower in east Orange. It gains households in Flagler, Putnum, Marion and Sumter; it loses homes in Pasco and Polk counties.
WFTV- 9 (ABC): Analog tower in east Orange; digital tower in east Orange. It keeps its signal footprint vitrually the same, but it gains households in Polk and Indian River counties.
WMFE-24 (PBS): Analog tower in east Orange; digital tower in east Orange. Gains households in Flagler, Marion, Lake, Sumter, Polk, Osceola and Brevard counties.
WVEN-26 (Univision): Analog tower in northwest Volusia County; digital tower in Orange City. It gains households in Lake, northern Osceola and northern Brevard. It loses households in St. Johns, Putnam, Alachua and Marion counties.
WBCC-68 (PBS): Analog tower in Oscoela; digital tower in east Orange. It gains households in Volusia, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties.
WDSC-15 (PBS): Analog tower in Daytona Beach; digital tower in east Orange. It picks up households in Lake, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Polk and Brevard counties.