Recent RogerSimmons.com Orlando TV News reports involving WOFL-Channel 35, the Fox affiliate for Central Florida. The station calls its newscasts Fox 35 News. WOFL is owned by Fox Broadcasting and is part of an Orlando duopoly with WRBW-Channel 65. Channel 35’s original call letters were WSWB.
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.
When Cale Ramaker left the WOFL-Fox 35 anchor desk in late May, he tweeted, “Specifics aside, I will be moving west and starting my new job July 16.” Now we have the specifics.
TVSpy.com reports that Ramaker is joining Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-8 as its new morning anchor:
Beginning July 30th, the KLAS morning newscast will be anchored by Cale Ramaker and Shauna Khorrami.
Ramaker comes to KLAS after seven years at WOFL in Orlando, where he anchored the station’s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. Khorrami joins the station after anchoring the morning news at KSTU in Salt Lake City.
“We are thrilled to welcome two new anchors to our morning newscasts,” KLAS news director Ron Comings said. “Las Vegans will have a fresh new alternative to help get their mornings off to a great start.”
Meanwhile back at Fox 35, the station has posted Ramaker’s former anchor job on its website: ANCHOR/REPORTER– (Regular Full Time / Orlando): Anchor newscasts as assigned. Enterprise and report news stories. Write creatively, clearly, accurately and quickly. Provide live coverage of breaking events. Take initiative and be a leader in the newsroom. A minimum of three years experience working as an anchor in a medium or large market preferred. Good news judgment and knowledge of fair and accurate journalism practices. Ability to tell stories, ask good probing questions in Q&A with reporters and ad-lib effectively. Strong writing skills and thorough knowledge of current events. Excellent people and communication skills; must be a team player. Working knowledge of newsroom compute
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 …
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.
After seven years, anchor Cale Ramaker has quietly left WOFL-Fox 35. His final appearance on the station was last Thursday.
Wednesday morning, NewsBlues.com first reported Ramaker’s departure. After several websites also reported the news, Ramaker himself confirmed it on his Twitter account. “I kept quiet about it but, yes, I’ve left Fox 35 in Orlando. Specifics aside, I will be moving west and starting my new job July 16,” he tweeted.
Laurie Jacoby, Ramaker’s agent, told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker that Ramaker “has accepted another position, which we are not at liberty to discuss yet because his new station has not made an announcement. It’s a very exciting opportunity, and he is looking forward to a new challenge.”
NewsBlues, quoting “friends,” says Ramaker is heading to San Diego.
Ramaker joined Fox 35 in 2005 as the main male anchor on its 10 p.m. newscast. The station’s news footprint expanded during Ramaker’s tenure, and he also anchored at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
WOFL brought in former WKMG-Local 6 anchor Bob Frier in December 2009 and used him on the station’s hourlong 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts – somewhat diminishing Ramaker’s role at Fox 35.
Still, Ramaker had his admirers – even at rival stations. “Fox35 has lost a darned good anchor. Good luck, Cale Ramaker,” tweeted WFTV-Channel 9 News Director Bob Jordan.
Self-proclaimed Weather Authority Fox 35 is getting some help in its forecasting department.
Fox Television Stations signed a deal with AccuWeather to partner with 11 Fox owned-and-operated stations. The deal includes running AccuWeather’s content online and “jointly produced and branded content across virtually all of the stations’ media platforms.”
“Weather is one of the most important services our stations provide to their communities and has long been a major focus for FTS,” Ron Stitt, the Fox group’s vice president of digital media and internet operations, told BroadcastingCable.com . “This exclusive partnership with AccuWeather, a company who has been extremely effective in pursuing digital platform distribution, notably Connected TVs, will help us take our digital weather products to the next level.”
Because of existing partnerships with competitors, the Fox-AccuWeather deal will not include Fox O&Os in New York or L.A. In addition to Orlando’s Fox 35, the other Fox stations taking part in the deal are in Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa, Minneapolis, Memphis, Austin and Gainesville (which is really a satellite of WOFL).
Locally, WFTV had a long-running partnership with AccuWeather years ago (see video below). I believe that Channel 6 (then WCPX) picked up AccuWeather for a short time after WFTV.