Tuesday, December 17, 2013

JCSU educator new anchor at Fox46Carolinas

WJZY (Channel 46) announced Tuesday that Cheryl Butler-Brayboy will be the station's new anchor when it launches its own 10 p.m. newscast in January.

Cheryl Brayboy 

Brayboy, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in English and cultural studies, has worked for stations in Allentown, Pa.; Columbus, Ga.; and Washington. She has also worked at Johnson C. Smith University as an assistant professor of literature and languages.

She was host of the "Queen City Blocks," a show about Charlotte neighborhoods and hotspots, on WTVI (Channel 42) in 2009.

She is the wife of Jack Brayboy, a Charlotte producer and former news host on "Fox News Rising" on WCCB (Channel 18). 

WJZY will begin streaming daily rehearsals of its newscasts at 10 p.m. Wednesday on its web site, www.myfoxcarolinas.com. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Al Gardner gets weekly gig on ESPN 730

Al Gardner
Longtime WBT-AM (1110) morning host Al Gardner will return to local radio as a weekly Monday co-host on WZGV-AM ("ESPN" 730).

Gardner will begin next Monday on "The Bottom Line" show, which airs at 6 p.m., with Lanny Ford

Ford said Monday that Gardner, who was host of "Charlotte's Morning News" on WBT for 14 years before leaving at the end of 2011, will discuss local sports and his own two passions -- boxing and golf.

Gardner, 66, said that he looks forward to being part of ESPN 730 because it is a locally owned and focused station. "They're going to grow locally," he said. "That's what I want to be part of."

First question: What does he think of the Panthers' performance Sunday night? "Unprintable," Gardner replied.

ESPN 730 announced in November it will be the flagship station for the Charlotte Knights beginning in April. It also carries Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers games.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fly Ty joining WBAV-FM afternoon show

Veteran Charlotte radio personality Fly Ty is returning to CBS Radio as a sidekick to Artie Goins on her "Artie in the Afternoons" show on WBAV-FM ("V" 101.9).

CBS Radio made the announcement at the top of Goins' Monday show. In making the move, the station pairs two well-known Charlotte broadcasters, both of whom grew up in the area.

Goins joined WBAV's sister station WPEG-FM ("Power 98" 97.9) in 1992 and Fly Ty, known as Derrick Jacobs in real life,  joined the old "Breakfast Brothas" show there in 1997.

Fly Ty, who joined WBAV on Monday.

Goins took over the afternoon shift at WBAV in June, replacing the syndicated Skip Murphy show. Her show was No. 1 last month among Charlotte radio stations in WBAV's target demographic, adults 25-54, operations manager Terri Avery said Monday.

Avery said she wanted to team Goins and Jacobs because of their deep roots in the community and to build on the momentum of launching a local show in the time slot this year.

Jacobs graduated from Myers Park High School in 1990 and became a barber with his brother. One of the heads he trimmed belonged to B.J. Murphy, then a  morning personality at Power 98.

He gave Murphy a comedy tape and Murphy, now a broadcaster in Greensboro, got him aboard the "Breakfast Brothas" show.

In 2004, Murphy left "Power 98" for a morning show in Dallas, and took Jacobs along as his sidekick. 

Jacobs returned to Charlotte in 2010 and started working for Radio One-owned stations, WQNC-FM ("Q" 92.7) and WOSF-FM ("Old School" 105.3).

"I could not be more pleased to work with a long-term friend of mine and a veteran in radio, Artie," Jacobs said in a statement Monday.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

WSOC to expand 10 p.m. newscast to an hour

Beginning Dec. 2, WSOC (Channel 9) will expand its 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WAXN (Channel 64) to an hour.

Natalie Pasquarella

Natalie Pasquarella will continue as sole anchor with meteorologist Steve Udelson

News director Julie Szulczewski said Thursday the expansion was not driven by competition with Fox-owned WJZY (Channel 46), which is planning to launch an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast in January. Construction is under way at WJZY for a new studio and a news staff is being hired. WJZY now carries a 30-minute newscast at 10 p.m. provided by WBTV (Channel 3) and anchored by Molly Grantham.

Szulczewski said station research conducted in the spring of this year indicated there would be an audience and desire for an expanded newscast. Executives have been talking about it since March but were waiting until other projects were finished, like the months-long renovation of the station's newsroom, which is now complete.

There will be no change in format for the show, she said. On weekends, the 10 p.m. newscast will continue with its half-hour length. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Panthers soar in ratings on Monday Night Football

Nearly 650,000 viewers in the region tuned in for Monday night's Panthers game against New England, making it the most-watched game of the season in Charlotte.

"This absolutely crushed any previous regular season game this year," Robert Wendt, research director for WSOC (Channel 9), said Tuesday.

Final overnight ratings from Nielsen showed that in the Charlotte market, 348,000 people on average watched the game on Channel 9 and 309,000 on ESPN.

By comparison, the previously most-watched game to date this season, the Nov. 10 Panthers-49ers match-up, attracted 456,000 viewers.

Nielsen numbers show that 66 percent of household televisions in the 22-county Charlotte market -- which stretches from the Virginia line to Chester, S.C. -- were tuned to the Monday night game.

It was the first time since 2008 the Panthers appeared at home on "Monday Night Football."

Peak viewing came during the last half of the second quarter, about 9:30 p.m., when the Panthers were up by 7, Wendt said.   

ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer said Nielsen data showed that 38 percent of people with televisions in the Charlotte region watched the game and 36 percent in New England.

Elsewhere in the Carolinas, 23 percent of all viewers in Greensboro tuned into the game, 17 percent in Greenville, N.C., and 15 percent in Raleigh-Durham.

Here are TV audience figures for earlier Panther games in Charlotte this season, on Fox (WJZY, Channel 46):

Sept. 8: Vs. Seahawks (1 p.m. game) -- 374,000.
Sept. 15: Vs. Bills (1 p.m.) -- 316,000.
Sept. 22: Vs. Giants (1 p.m.) -- 382,000.
Oct. 6: Vs. Cardinals (4 p.m.) -- 312,000.
Oct. 13: Vs. Vikings (1 p.m.) -- 424,000.
Oct. 20: Vs. Rams (1 p.m.) -- 403,000.
Oct. 24: Vs. Tampa (8:30 p.m., Thursday) -- 287,000.*
Nov. 3: Vs. Falcons (1 p.m.) -- 407,000.
Nov. 10: Vs. 49ers (4 p.m.) -- 456,000. 

*Carried on the NFL Network and WMYT (Channel 55).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bo Thompson adds an hour on WBT

Slight schedule shake-up is coming Monday at WBT-AM (1110): "Charlotte Morning News" adds an hour, cutting Keith Larson back to 10 a.m. to noon.

Bo Thompson

In the 9 a.m. hour, morning host Bo Thompson will preside over a topical segment keyed to the day's major story or something trending in the news. Expect extended interviews and calls from listeners.

Larson, who's held the hour since coming to WBT in 2002 and announced the change on the air Tuesday morning, says he's fine with it. He hopes to do more writing after the success of his book on Hope Stout and the Panthers, "That Season of Hope," and his side advertising and marketing business is picking up steam. 

"A change in daily schedule and body-clock will work well," says Larson, who habitually shows up at WBT at dawn to prepare for his show. "WBT is a part of who I am and what I do."

WBT program director Jason Furst says it will give Thompson, who succeeded Al Gardner as the morning news show host in 2012, a chance to do more long-form content and give him a more prominent role.

"Bo is the rising star at the station," says Furst.

Thompson is one of the few local broadcast personalities who grew up in Charlotte. He was still a student at Myers Park High School when he started working part-time at WBT in 1990, and here's an irony: His first gig there was as an intern for Mike Collins, whose hour-long "Charlotte Talks" show runs at 9 a.m. on WFAE-FM (NPR 90.7), opposite Thompson's new hour.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Andy Griffith mini-marathon on WCCB

WCCB (Channel 18) has scheduled a weekend mini-marathon of the old "Andy Griffith Show."

WCCB will air old episodes Saturday and Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. Next weekend, the station has scheduled episodes 5 to 8 p.m.

Griffith, a native of Mount Airy, died a year ago this week. Mount Airy is said to be the model for Mayberry, the North Carolina hamlet featured in the folksy show that ran on CBS for eight years beginning in 1960. 

Andy Griffith

Episodes will be shown in order. First up is "The New Housekeeper," in which Aunt Bea is introduced.

WCCB switched to the CW network this week after losing the Fox affiliation to WJZY (Channel 46). 

One small bit of trivia associated with the switch: Ashley Anderson was a reporter for WCCB on its first 10 p.m. news show broadcast New Year's night in 2000. On Sunday, the last night the station carried the Fox network, she anchored the newscast.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

WJZY names Houston executive to lead newsroom

Geoff Roth, a news executive with the Fox-owned station in Houston, will lead the development of a news operation for WJZY (Channel 46), which will begin carrying Fox programming Monday.

"Geoff is a solid journalist and news leader with a proven track record of innovation in news gathering and content presentation," said WJZY's general manager, Karen Adams, in making the announcement Tuesday. "Geoff is the perfect choice to lead FOX 46 Carolinas News."

Geoff Roth
WJZY was purchased by Fox Television Stations this year and the network will be moving its programming from longtime affiliate WCCB (Channel 18) effective 4 a.m. Monday, which is considered the beginning of the broadcast day. WJZY will continue to air a 10 p.m. newscast produced by WBTV (Channel 3) through the end of the year, and is expected to launch its own news department in January.

A 30-year veteran of TV news, Roth is executive producer for the Fox-owned station in Houston, KRIV (Channel 26). Before that, he taught journalism at Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y., and worked as a news director in Fresno, Calif.; Fort Myers, Fla.; San Diego; Salt Lake City; and Richmond. He also worked at stations in Pittsburgh, Denver, Miami, Washington and Jacksonville, Fla.

His first job in TV was as a producer at CNN. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

In addition to building a news staff over the next six months, Roth will be involved in construction of a newsroom at the studios WJZY shares with sister station WMYT (Channel 55). Adams said this week that the stations will continue to operate out of the building on Performance Drive off I-85 in west Charlotte, and she does not expect to move to the former Speed channel complex that will house Fox Sports 1's cable channel beginning in August.

"Being able to build a next generation digital news operation from the ground up in a growing market like Charlotte is a unique opportunity," Roth said in a statement distributed by Fox. "I am looking forward to utilizing the latest technology across multiple platforms to keep our viewers constantly informed on relevant news of the day."

Fox Carolinas 46 will become the fifth Charlotte TV station with its own news operation.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

John Hancock gets a promotion at WBT

John Hancock, whose voice has been part of the soundtrack at WBT-AM (1110) for more than 20 years, is getting a promotion.

John Hancock
Beginning July 16, Hancock is moving from evenings to afternoon drive-time. He's swapping places with Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire, whose "Brad and Britt Show" will move to the 6 to 9 p.m. shift.

Hancock is one of Charlotte's most venerable radio personalities. He arrived at WBT in 1990 doing mornings. Then to afternoon drive in 1996. Then he left for an ill-fated morning stint at WEND ("End" 106.5), returning to WBT a week before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

“Hancock has been a staple of WBT for years, earning him the title of Charlotte’s most beloved,” Rick Feinblatt, senior vice president of WBT and Greater Media Charlotte, said in announcing the move Tuesday.

"Hell has frozen over," said Hancock about his return to afternoons.

WBT has been roiling through afternoon hosts since the departure of Jason Lewis in 2006 with Jeff Katz, Tara Servatius and Vince Coakley all taking a shot until "Brad and Britt" launched last July.

Hancock's move was one of two high-visibility changes announced Tuesday in Charlotte radio. CBS Radio said that Phil Harris, who hosted middays on the old "Lite," will take over as morning host on WKQC-FM beginning July 1.

Harris will replace Todd Baker, who is going to CBS's KZZO-FM in Sacramento. Baker's last day on the air in Charlotte is Wednesday.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Anchor Israel Balderas leaves WCCB

Israel Balderas, evening anchor at WCCB (Channel 18), parted ways with the station Monday.

Balderas, who anchored the 10 p.m. newscast with Morgan Fogarty, left before his contract was due to expire late this year. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Balderas joined WCCB in 2010 on the station’s morning show, then was named 10 p.m. anchor in 2011 when longtime co-host Brien Blakely left the station in 2011. Balderas, a key figure during the station’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention, worked for Fox News Channel while getting his law degree at Catholic University in Washington.

Balderas was named TV news anchor of the year in November by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.

His departure follows that of veteran sports director Bruce Snyder and news director Ken White in the last six months. In January, WCCB was told by Fox that it was losing its affiliation with the network after the network bought rival WJZY (Channel 46). WCCB recently announced it would affiliate with the CW network beginning July 1.

Two from Charlotte area to vie on 'Bachelorette'

Once again, the Charlotte area is donating manpower to ABC's "The Bachelorette."

On the next season of the romance series, debuting 8 p.m. May 27, a lawyer from Hickory lawyer and a Charlotte investment adviser will be among the 25 potential suitors for Desiree Hartsock

Jonathan Vollinger
Jonathan Vollinger, 26, is a December graduate of the University of Miami school of law from Hickory. In his ABC profile, he described his worst date: "The girl yelling expletives across the street as she went back to her building. It didn't end well."

Nick Mucci
Nick Mucci, 27, is an investment adviser for Vanguard from Charlotte who grew up in Rochester, N.Y. In his ABC profile he said his dream job would be sportscaster. "My job would be to analyze football games and I'd have the best seat in the house." 

Their competitors include a former pro soccer player, a federal prosecutor and a professional magician.

Hartsock, 27, a fashion designer, was dumped by Sean Lowe in the last season of "The Bachelor." This time around, Hartsock will be taking her retinue to Munich, the Alps and Barcelona. 

Charlotte has always been a rich source of potential mates for ABC's romance franchise. Best known is Emily Maynard, who appeared on both "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." Katie Levans, a Charlotte yoga instructor, was a colleague of Hartsock's on the last season of "The Bachelor." Other bachelorettes from Charlotte over the years have included cocktail waitress Blakeley Shea, grad student Emily O'Brien, marketing specialist and former Panthers cheerleader Kimberly Coon and fitness trainer Kristine Heffelfinger.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WCCB makes it official: It's the CW's new home

Charlotte’s WCCB (Channel 18) said Thursday it will pick up the CW network this summer, filling the void left when the station lost its 27-year affiliation with Fox.

CW programs – including “90210,” “America's Next Top Model” and “Arrow” – had aired on WJZY (Channel 46), which was purchased by Fox along with sister station WMYT (Channel 55), in an $18 million deal signed in January. Fox has not said yet which of the two stations will carry the network’s shows, which include the top-rated NFL football and “American Idol.”

"We are delighted that we have this opportunity to join such an up and coming network with even more contemporary and creative program series to come," Beverly Bahakel Poston, president of Charlotte-based Bahakel Communications, said in a statement.

WCCB will continue to produce morning and evening news show, a profit center for the station.
But overall ratings and ad sales will likely sag at WCCB because the CW network, weakest of the major broadcast networks, does not carry shows that attract as many viewers. In January, for example, the highest-rated show in Charlotte aside from sports was Fox’s “American Idol,” which pulled about 260,000 total viewers.

By comparison, the highest-rated show on the CW network in Charlotte was the superhero drama “Arrow,” which drew about 29,000 total viewers.

While WCCB loses Panthers games during the season, it has retained the rights to the team’s four pre-season games.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Foxx chose WSOC's Miller for exclusive

Blair Miller's Friday exclusive with Mayor Anthony Foxx came as the result of cultivating a long-term relationship, the WSOC anchor says.
At the top of Friday's 6 a.m. newscast, Miller's taped interview aired in which the mayor said he would not seek another term in office.
"Foxx and I have gotten close over the last year or so and developed a good relationship," says Miller, who joined Channel 9 in 2002 and moved up to the high-profile job on the evening anchor desk with Erica Bryant in 2010.
Blair Miller in the Channel 9 newsroom.
After Miller returned from Denver to report on how the Democrats' 2008 convention had gone there, Foxx was the first interview he did locally to gauge the impact of the DNC on Charlotte. Miller says they have remained in touch ever since.
Just last week, Miller texted Foxx that he was interested in doing an interview on the mayor's future. Foxx's name has been floated for a possible position as U.S. secretary of transportation.
"I knew we were coming to a point where something was going to happen -- either he was going to decide to run again or go to D.C. or do nothing," says Miller. 
Then Wednesday, Miller got a call from one of Foxx's aides. They asked him to be at the government center at 10 p.m. Thursday. Miller figured it would be about Foxx's future and thought he would announce plans to run again.
Instead, Foxx told him he was planning to do the opposite.
"First thing I said to him is, 'Are you serious?' We have a good joking relationship."
Foxx handed him a copy of the statement he planned to release Friday. Then they negotiated an embargo on airing the interview for 6 a.m. Friday so Foxx could share his plans with staff members beforehand.
Miller was curious why Foxx had picked him for the announcement. He asked an aide after the interview. 
"How did this go down? I didn't want to be the one the next morning calling and asking why I didn't get picked," says Miller, describing what turned out to be the scene in virtually every newsroom in town by 6:10 a.m.
Miller says he believes that aides encouraged Foxx to do one interview rather than just issuing a statement, and Foxx chose him because of their rapport. 
More of Miller's interview with Foxx will air on WSOC's 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts Friday. They will discuss Foxx's thoughts on a future political career and how his family was a big part of the decision not to run again.
From his perspective, Miller says, he thinks Foxx has a good relationship with the local media. During the DNC, he remembers Foxx walking around doing a circuit of network interviews, then taking time to talk to local reporters as well.
"He wasn't  just doing the big dogs. That spoke volumes to me. This isn't like him to do just one big exclusive interview."

Friday, March 29, 2013

WFAE to replace 'Talk of the Nation'

NPR is ending on July 1 its weekday call-in show 'Talk of the Nation' with Neal Conan, the network announced Friday, and Charlotte's affiliate, WFAE-FM (90.7), will likely replace it with a second hour of the news magazine 'Here and Now' at 2 p.m.

Dale Spear, WFAE's program director, said Friday he hasn't been happy with 'Talk of the Nation's' ratings performance for some time.  

WFAE expects to continue carrying 'Science Friday' with Ira Flatow at 1 p.m. Saturdays, where the station has rebranded it as 'Sci-Fri Matinee.' 

Friday, March 15, 2013

News 14 changing its name

News 14 Carolina, the 24-hour local cable news channel, will be changing its name by year’s end to Time Warner Cable News.

Alan Mason, the Raleigh-based vice president of News 14, said Friday that the rebranding will include all 13 of the TWC local channels across the country, including the flagship NY1 channel in New York City.

Currently there are three different branding protocols for stations serving TWC cable systems in the Carolinas, New York and Texas.

By settling on one name, it makes it easier to share content between the stations without changing microphone flags three times for stories developed by the Washington or NYSE bureaus for regional distribution.

It will also end some confusion among viewers who don’t understand that the channel is an exclusive service available only on Time Warner Cable, said Melissa Buscher, director of media relations for the Carolinas.
News 14 debuted in North Carolina a decade ago.

Newscasts will get updated graphics for the change, expected in the fourth quarter, said Mason.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fox names manager for its new Charlotte stations

Fox Television Stations has named a veteran North Carolina broadcaster to lead the two stations it is acquiring in Charlotte.

Karen Adams, now general manager of the Fox affiliate in Greensboro-High Point, will take over when the Fox network group takes control of WJZY (Channel 46) and WMYT (Channel 55) in June. Fox is buying the two stations from Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting in an $18 million transaction announced in January.

Karen Adams
Fox's programming lineup will move from longtime affiliate WCCB (Channel 18) to one of the former Capitol stations in June.

Adams was an executive at the Greensboro station, WGHP (Channel 8), when it was  owned by Fox from 1996 to 2008. It was sold as part of transaction when parent company News Corp. was raising money to purchase The Wall Street Journal.

"I couldn’t be happier to welcome her back," Jack Abernethy, chief executive officer of Fox Television Stations, said in a statement Thursday.

Adams, 58, started at WGHP in 1976 on the production floor as a camera operator and worked up into other positions including program director, anchor and producer on the station's morning show and vice president of creative services before becoming general manager, a post she has held for 16 years.

"North Carolina is my home and I look forward to rejoining my Fox Television Station colleagues," Adams said in a statement.

Adams has a BA in theater arts from High Point University, where she serves on the advisory board of the communications department. She is also on the advisory board of the Salvation Army of High Point and  Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.

Monday, February 4, 2013

News director change at Fox Charlotte

Ken White, who launched the Fox Charlotte (WCCB, Channel 18) news department in 2000, will be replaced by his assistant news director, Angela Robbins.

With 13 years in Charlotte, White is the longest-serving news director in town. He learned over the weekend that he was being replaced.

"This was a bit of a punch, but they've been good to me over the years and it's been a fun place to work," White said Monday. 

He is on temporary assignment at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tenn., which like Fox Charlotte is owned by Charlotte-based Bahakel Communications. He is expected to continue in Jackson, which is looking for a news director and has some technology installations coming, for at least two months.

Robbins has been assistant news director at Fox Charlotte since 2004. Robbins, a Charlotte native and UNC Chapel Hill graduate, formerly worked at WBTV (Channel 3). Earlier in her career, Robbins produced the evening newscast for the CBS owned and operated station in Philadelphia.

In his time at Fox Charlotte, White was instrumental in helping launch other local programming at the station, including "Fox News Rising," "Fox News Edge" and its sports shows.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dramatic surge with Christmas radio format

A lack of competition makes for dramatic results.

In years past, both WKQC-FM ("K") and WLYT-FM ("Lite") would see ratings surge in December as both went for wall-to-wall Christmas music. But "Lite" changed formats last year, becoming the variety station "Lake," and this year "K" had the Yule franchise largely to itself.

It got a ratings bump for the month like never before -- up 57 percent from November. It landed at No. 1 among all Charlotte stations, up from No. 8 in November.

"Old School" and "Lake" continued to do well. Both were new formats launched last year. Both news stations -- WBT-AM and WFAE-FM -- saw slight declines from November and the lead-in political season.

Here are the rankings from Arbitron for Charlotte stations and the percentage of audience among all listeners:  

1. WKQC-FM ("K" 104.7) 7.7% 
2. WKKT-FM ("Kat" 96.9) 7.0%

2. WPEG-FM ("Power 98") 7.0%
4. WBAV-FM ("V" 101.9) 6.7%
4. WSOC-FM (Country 103.7) 6.7%
6. WRFX-FM ("Fox" 99.7) 5.2%
7. WLNK-FM ("Link" 107.9) 5.1%
8. WOSF-FM ("Old School" 105.1) 4.8% 
9. WBT-AM (News-talk 1110) 4.5% 
10. WLKO-FM ("Lake" 102.9) 4.2%
10. WPZS-FM ("Praise" 100.9) 4.2%
12. WHQC-FM ("Channel" 96.1) 4.0%
13. WNKS-FM ("Kiss" 95.1) 3.8%
14. WFAE-FM (NPR 90.7) 3.6%
15. WEND-FM ("End" 106.5) 3.5%
16. WRCM-FM ("New Life" 91.9) 2.7%
17. WMIT-FM ("Light" 106.9) 2.2%
18. WFNZ-AM ("Fan" 160) 1.5%
19. WDAV-FM (Classical, 89.9) 1.2%
20. WBCN-AM (Talk, 1660) 0.5%
21. WNSC-FM (NPR 88.9) 0.4%
22. WSGE-FM (Gaston College) 91.7) 0.3%

Ratings do not include WXRC-FM ("Ride" 95.7), which does not subscribe to Arbitron.