Monday, December 23, 2013

Gannett Completes Acquisition Of Belo

McLEAN, VA – Gannett Co., Inc. (parent company of WKYC-TV) announced today that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Belo Corp. for $13.75 per share in cash, in addition to the assumption of $715 million of outstanding debt, for a total transaction value of $2.2 billion.

 The combination with Belo nearly doubles Gannett’s broadcast portfolio and creates the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets, including stations to be serviced by Gannett under shared services and similar arrangements. Gannett now reaches approximately one-third of all television households in America. It also significantly expands the company’s geographic reach and revenue diversity. Gannett will become the #1 CBS affiliate group, the #4 ABC affiliate group, and will expand its already #1 NBC affiliate group position.

Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett, said, “We are thrilled to combine these two storied media companies, both of which are known for award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership.

The completion of this transaction marks a significant milestone in Gannett’s ongoing transformation into a higher-margin and more highly diversified company in the rapidly evolving media business.”

The closing of the transaction follows the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals and approval of the transaction by Belo shareholders. With the closing of the transaction, Belo common stock will cease trading and will no longer be listed on the NYSE.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC provided financial advice and Nixon Peabody LLP, Covington & Burling LLP, and Paul Hastings LLP served as legal advisors to Gannett on the transaction. RBC Capital Markets, LLC provided financial advice and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Wiley Rein LLP served as legal advisors to Belo.

Monday, December 09, 2013

WKYC News & Notes: 12/9/13

By Frank Macek

It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center as we get ready to wrap up 2013.

The November sweeps period was a solid one for WKYC-TV/3 as Channel 3 News at 6 & 11 PM won the conveted 25-54 age demographic (NSI overnights. Nov 2013. A25-54).

According to WKYC President/General Manager Brooke Spectorsky, "While we were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Phil land the Michelle Knight interview, our numbers even without those nights still won the time period. Other top rated stories included an expose of local doctors and medical professionals who had been suspended and/or stripped of their licenses and an investigation into tanker cars carrying toxic chemicals through local neighborhoods."

Under the leadership of WKYC News Director Brennan Donnellan, Channel 3 News is putting a strong emphasis on investigative and enterprise reporting which viewers have responded positively.

Technically, we have been very busy installing a new Miranda graphics system which is now on the air. And, our enginering team led by Jim Miller has spent the last few weeks rebuilding portions of both the Channel 3 News and Fox SportsTime Ohio main control rooms. For the time time, we'll now have multi-viewer monitoring that will allow us to better manage all feeds coming into the control rooms in full color. (No more black and white CRT monitors.)

Our social media platforms continue to be an important outlet for us to reach you in the community. Recently, our WKYC Facebook page surpassed 100,000 likes while our main WKYC Twitter account passted 30,000 follower mark.

Chris Tye
WKYC's Chris Tye will be returning to the anchor desk as co-anchor of the weekend editions of Channel 3 News at 6 & 11 PM with Lynna Lai, Bruce Kalinowski and Dave Chudowsky beginning in early January. Chris will continue to report for our evening newscasts three days per week.

We have a few new faces around the building to share with you. Julie Flynn has joined Channel 3 News at 11 p.m. as Executive Producer, replacing Jennifer Nickels who moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Julie spent more than a decade at WEWS-TV/5 in various roles, most recently as their 11 p.m. producer. Julie will work with me and producer Grant deBruin to continue building Channel 3 News at 11 pm into a consistent ratings winner as we enter 2014.

Also (re)joining our WKYC family is Dave Pincura. He is now the WKYC Business Manager, replacing Larry Giele who left earlier in the year for Dallas. Pincura was mostly recently Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Fox SportsTime Ohio.

And, congratulations to WKYC Multimedia Journalist Jason Nguyen who is moving to Salt Lake city where he accepted a reporter position there and plans to spend plenty of time on the slopes this winter.

Don't forget the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are just 59 days away. Complete coverage of the games will be on WKYC and with our team of reporters heading to Sochi to bring you not only the international flavor of the games, but also the many local angles of our athletics as well. You'll also enjoy our local "Olympic Zone" show every night leading into prime time coverage of the games.

Have a great holiday season. Please follow me on Twitter @frankmacekwkyc and on Facebook at

Thursday, December 05, 2013

WKYC Presents Special Holiday Programming This Christmas Eve & Day

WKYC will once again present special programming during the Christmas holiday.

Here is a list of what will air on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Channel 3. Please note, all programming is subject to change.

December 24th:

08:00 p.m.    It’s A Wonderful Life
11:00 p.m.    Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:30 p.m.    Christmas Eve Mass from St. Peter’s

December 25th:

01:00 a.m.    The First Noel
03:00 a.m.    The Spirit of Christmas
04:00 a.m.    Masters of Illusion Christmas
05:00 a.m.    Christmas Liturgical
06:00 a.m.    Jim Brickman: Sending You A Little Christmas
07:00 a.m.    Today Show
11:00 a.m.    Hollywood Christmas Parade
01:00 p.m.    Days of Our Lives
02:00 p.m.    Masters of Illusion Christmas
03:00 p.m.    Miracle at Gate 213
04:00 p.m.    Meet John Doe
06:30 p.m.    Jim Brickman: The Magic of Christmas Unplugged
07:00 p.m.    NBC Nightly News
07:30 p.m.    Entertainment Tonight
08:00 p.m.    Kelly Clarkson Christmas Special
09:00 p.m.    Michael Buble Christmas Special
10:00 p.m.    Hollywood Game Night
11:00 p.m.    Channel 3 News at 11 PM

Monday, December 02, 2013

WKYC's Jim Donovan Has Emotional Meeting With His Bone Marrow Donor

WKYC Sports Anchor and radio voice of the Cleveland Browns, Jim Donovan, spent this Thanksgiving with his family.

And, that family got a little bit bigger this year.

This weekend, Jim got to say thanks in person for the first time to the man who saved his life — his bone marrow donor. 

Click to watch this heartwarming story of a new connection...a new bond for life.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Jimmy Fallon Stopped by WKYC-TV For A Visit On Friday

A familiar face from NBC stopped by the Channel 3 studios today.

Jimmy Fallon, from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, was here to chat and we had a chance to sit down with him.

He spoke about his upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live and how he feels about taking over the iconic Tonight Show early next year.

Click to watch his interview the Russ Mitchell and Kris Pickel:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gannett's Dave Lougee Honored With RTDNA’s First Amendment Leadership Award

Dave Lougee
Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting (parent company of WKYC-TV) was honored today by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) with a First Amendment Leadership Award.

The award is given annually by the Radio Television Digital News Foundation to a leader who has made significant contributions to the protection of the First Amendment and freedom of the press. The award will be presented on Wednesday, March 12 in Washington, DC.

 “From his experience leading a newsroom to his current role overseeing Gannett’s broadcast division, Dave has always been a strong leader and advocate for free speech. This award has been given to some of the most influential journalists of our time and shines a spotlight on the rights we hold dear. Dave, through his leadership, sets a terrific example for our broadcast journalists as they fight to protect First Amendment rights. I congratulate Dave on this important and well-deserved honor,” said Gracia Martore, Gannett president and chief executive officer.

\ Lougee has been president of Gannett Broadcasting since 2007 and currently oversees 23 television stations across the country. Once Gannett’s previously announced acquisition of Belo closes, Gannett’s broadcast portfolio will nearly double, including stations to be serviced by Gannett through shared services or similar sharing arrangements. Lougee started his broadcast career in Denver in 1981, ultimately serving as vice president/news director at Gannett’s KUSA-TV in Denver from 1990-1996.

He worked as vice president of news at WRC-TV in Washington, DC, for two years and news director at KING-TV in Seattle before being named president and general manager of Belo’s TV and cable operations in Seattle/Tacoma in 2000. He was later promoted to executive vice president for media operations and in 2005, he was named a senior vice president of Belo.

 Lougee serves on several industry boards. He is currently Vice Chair of the NBC Affiliates Board, and a member of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Board of Directors. He is also a member of the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) Board of Directors and immediate past Chair of the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) Board of Directors. Among past First Amendment Leadership Award winners: USA TODAY founder Al Neuharth, ABC’s Roone Arledge, CNN Founder Ted Turner, CBS “60 Minutes” creator Don Hewitt, Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham and Fox News’ Roger Ailes.

Friday, November 08, 2013

"7 Minutes With Russ Mitchell" To Debut Saturday

Starting this Saturday morning on Channel 3 News Today, a new feature titled "7 Minutes with Russ Mitchell" will make its debut.

The purpose of "7 Minutes with Russ Mitchell" is to have Channel 3 News' main anchor and managing editor, Russ Mitchell, interview a news maker. Someone we think you'll find interesting, have a great conversation and give you something to think about the rest of the day.

According to Mitchell, "These people are fascinating and we could spend hours talking to them, but they're busy and viewers are busy. So we came up with 7 minutes. I have seven minutes to talk to these folks and that is the trick. Condensing complicated or enlightening or entertaining subjects and people down into a seven minute interview."

The inaugural interview is with Dr. Toby Cosgrove, President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. Be sure to tune in this Saturday at 9am as Russ and Dr. Cosgrove talk about the state of healthcare and beyond, from a professional personal point of view as well

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Help WKYC's Del Donahoo Celebrate His 90th Birthday

He's been a mainstay in local Cleveland television for years. Now, our beloved Del Donahoo is about to turn 90 years young in just a few days.

Although he's long retired from Channel 3, we are still going to help him celebrate this milestone with your birthday cards and greetings.

Please mail your birthday cards to:

Mr. Del Donahoo
1333 Lakeside Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio, 44114

Or you can post your birthday notes on his Facebook page @

We'll deliver the cards we receive here at Channel 3 on his birthday. But, quiet - that part is a secret.

Exclusive Dr. Phil Interview to Re-Air This Saturday Fom 7 - 9 PM

WKYC-TV announced today it will re-air the exclusive Dr. Phil interview with Michelle Knight this Saturday Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Channel 3.

The highly talked about and extremely emotional show is a two part special that aired this week on Tuesday and Wednesday on WKYC.

The special is an exclusive one on one interview between Dr. Phil McGraw and "Miracle in Cleveland" survivor Michelle Knight about the 11 years of hell she endured at the hands of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro and how she survived along with other survivors Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.

Join us this Saturday night from 7 to 9 p.m., an exclusive interview, you'll only see in Northeast Ohio on WKYC-TV.

Other Saturday program changes:
  •    Entertainment Tonight Weekend will air from 1:30 a.m. - 2:30 a.m. (Moved from 7 p.m.)
  •    Saturday Night Live Special will air from 2:30 a.m. - 3:30 a.m. (Moved from 8 p.m.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

WKYC Partners With Cleveland Metroparks And BVU To Make A Difference In Northeast Ohio

Hundreds of volunteers will join forces on Saturday, October 26th as Northeast Ohio celebrates Make a Difference Day.

WKYC is leading the charge on this national day of volunteering. Partnering with the Cleveland Metroparks and BVU: Center for Non Profit Excellence, WKYC is encouraging viewers across Northeast Ohio to join them in helping to make our community a better place to live.

Make a Difference Day started more than 20 years ago when USA Weekend Magazine and Points of Light joined together to sponsor the largest national day of community service. It’s grown into a day that has millions of volunteers around the world uniting in a common mission to improve the lives of others.

This year WKYC is focusing its volunteer effort on the Cleveland Metroparks. So far more than 500 volunteers have registered to work at various locations across the Metroparks on Saturday, sprucing up and beautifying the park areas enjoyed by so many. The Cleveland Metroparks spans more than 23,000 acres of walking trails, bike paths, nature reserves, community spaces and a nationally acclaimed Zoo.

In addition, BVU has worked to create and fill dozens of other volunteer projects across Northeast Ohio on Saturday. Those projects include efforts by students at Cleveland State University who will be working in several of the area Boys & Girls Clubs. More than 700 students from the University of Akron are signed up to work at nonprofit organizations across Summit County and  more than 100 volunteers will be spending their time in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Monday, October 14, 2013

WKYC News & Notes: 10/14/13

By Frank Macek

It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

October is here already, the baseball season is just a memory for the Indians this year and we are in the middle of Browns season. Where does the time go?

The staff of WKYC will once again join in the nationwide effort of our parent company, Gannett, for "Make a Difference Day" on Saturday, October 26th. This year, we are partnering with the Cleveland Metroparks to make a difference right here in our  own community. You can sign up to volunteer for multiple different projects around the area. Anyone who signs up will be entered to win some great prizes. To get involved, head over to for more information.

The all new is coming soon. You'll see our new design launch on Wednesday, October 30th. The new format is especially designed for mobile users and will feature a look very similar to our sister publication, USA Today. You can get a Director's Cut exclusive sneak peak of our new look at The new will contain even more local news, weather, traffic, entertainment and other sections that are important to our viewers here in Northeast Ohio.

The last few months have seen some new faces at WKYC, while we have said farewell to others in our tv family.

WKYC technician Robert "Bob" Keyes retired after nearly 30 years at Channel 3. Bob was a "do-it-all", behind the scenes guy who worked in signal acquistion, editing, cameras, videotape and other areas of operations. Plus, he was a master of the one-liners that kept many of us entertained through the years. Also, engineers Raleigh Himmelright and Julie Borwosky have moved on in their careers.

WKYC 11 p.m. Executive Producer Jennifer Nickels has headed south to Louisville, Kentucky, where she joined WAVY-TV in the same role. Jennifer has been instrumental in the rebirth of our late night news growth.

WKYC Multimedia journalist Stephanie Coueignoux has decided to move to Florida just in time for Cleveland's brutual winter. Her last day with us is October 23rd. And reporter Pamela Osborne has joined WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh where former WKYC anchor Jodine Costanza works. Best wishes to all.

On the flip side, Kristin Anderson has rejoined the Channel 3 News team as a multi-media journalist. Kristin returned to Cleveland with her husband and WKYC morning anchor John Anderson since coming back from Philadelphia last year. Look for Kristin's reporting on various editions of Channel 3 News.

Former Channel 19, 5 and 43 reporter/anchor Jack Marshall is now reporting on a freelance basis for Channel 3 News. Jack joined us in September and brings years of local experience and knowledge of the Cleveland market to the Channel 3 News team.

Danielle Wiggins has joined WKYC as our new morning Traffic Reporter after she received the most votes in our "Traffic Tryouts" when hundreds of people across northeast Ohio auditioned for the job and our viewers voted for the person they liked the best. That was Danielle. Wiggins most recently produced the Regina Brett Show at WKSU-FM/89.7 FM.

And, welcome to Robert Ryan who joins the Channel 3 Engineering team full-time in our operations department. Welcome to all!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WKYC To Host Free Health & Wellness Expo Saturday, September 7th

WKYC is playing host to an inaugural event, guaranteed to bring thousands of people downtown to the brand new Cleveland Convention Center.

The station is hosting their first annual Health & Wellness Expo on Saturday, September 7th. The event runs 10 am to 6pm and is free and open to the public and is presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s, Mace and The Dental Specialty Group.

The Expo will focus on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle and is designed to help Northeast Ohio residents learn more about their health in an informative and fun environment. Those who come to the Expo can get free health screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI and skin cancer, just to name a few.

A Health Forum Pavilion will feature panel discussions on trending health topics, plus a cooking stage with area chefs and a demo stage with the latest exercise and dance moves.

There is plenty of interactive fun for the whole family. Meet the WKYC-TV team and give weather and sports anchoring a shot. Or climb a rock wall, work on a golf swing, or kick around a soccer ball. It’s fun, it’s free and it’s being held in the coolest new spot in Northeast Ohio!

Check out the WKYC Health & Wellness Expo on Saturday, September 7th. Go to for more information and a list of all exhibitors, screenings and events.

Friday, August 23, 2013

WKYC News & Notes: 8/23/13

By Frank Macek

It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

August has been a busy month here at WKYC as we are half way through our Browns Preseason coverage. This Saturday at 6 p.m., we'll air the Browns "Pregame Huddle" live from Indianapolis, immediately followed by kickoff of the game at 7 p.m. between the Browns and Colts. Our preseason coverage is once again being directed this year by Emmy Award winning Channel 3 Director Allen Wohl and sports producer Jeff Yakawiak.

WKYC welcomed Rona Proudfoot to the Channel 3 News social media team recently. Rona has worked for the Plain Dealer and Elyria Chronicle Telegram in similar roles. Rona will help us grow our WKYC Facebook and Twitter followers, as well as keep you updated about the the latest news every weekday evening on our social media platforms.

The station has said goodbye to two familiar, on air faces in the past week. WKYC's Jennifer Lindgren signed off last Friday as she takes a new reporter job at the CBS station in Dallas, KTVT. Jennifer is originally from Texas and will be getting married soon.

Also, reporter Pamela Osborne said goodbye to Channel 3 this morning. Pam has been part of our morning and evening teams for the past few years Her immediate plans are unknown, but we wish her well as she leaves Northeast Ohio.

WKYC will launch a new daytime lineup coming September 9th as "Rachel Ray" will move to 11 a.m. following the fourth hour of the "Today Show" on Channel 3. "Live on Lakeside" will now become a half hour show, airing weekdays from noon to 12:30 p.m. with Hollie Strano and Michael Cardamone continuing as hosts. "The Doctors" which previously aired at 3 p.m. will take Rachel Ray's old timeslot at 2 p.m. while "Bethenny" will debut in the 3 p.m. timeslot. The rest of our daytime lineup remains the same.

And don't forget, WKYC cares about the health of our community. That's why we're sponsoring a FREE Health & Wellness Expo. It's on Saturday, September 7th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the brand new Cleveland Convention Center in downtown Cleveland. Come visit with us in the WKYC Pavilion. Bring your whole family and get free health screenings, visit the cooking stage or get moving on our soccer field and rock wall. Learn more about how you can get healthy and have fun at

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Twitter Activity Gives TV Ratings A Tweet Boost

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
Mike Snider, USA Today

All that tweeting that you do while watching your favorite TV shows is having an effect.

New research from Nielsen suggests that fans tweeting about programs during live broadcasts can lead to increased viewership. That may seem an obvious finding, but until now the TV measurement firm had only established that there is some link between social media and TV viewing.

This new research is the first to show that Twitter activity can influence TV ratings. "That's what we speculate is going on," says Mike Hess, Nielsen's executive vice president of media analytics, "that the tweeters are watching the program and then by sending the tweets out, other people start tuning in as well."

Nielsen compared -- minute-by-minute -- the tweets and TV ratings for 211 prime-time TV broadcasts including sports and award shows and 10 episodes each of 20 specific TV series during fall 2012 and spring 2013.

For nearly one-third (29%) of the episodes, Nielsen found that related tweets caused significant changes in the TV rating. And in about half (48%) of the TV episodes, changes in the minute-by-minute TV ratings led to a change in tweets, too. So, for instance, as more viewers tuned in, it was likely that more tweets about the program were fired off.

Nielsen did not release data on Twitter effects on ratings for specific shows, but did reveal that for genres such as competitive reality TV, the tweets had a higher effect. There was a lower effect for dramas, Hess says.

"There's more work to do to find out what those exact relationships are," Hess says. "Further research can be used now to determine the actual nature of those relationships, (such as) how many tweets does it take to cause an increase, how big is the increase and so on." More than half of those who own tablets (53%) and smartphones (52%) engage in social media while watching TV, Nielsen found in separate research. And at least one-fifth -- 21% of tablet owners and 18% of smartphone owners -- spent time reading social-media discussions about the program they were viewing. Some 15% of tablet users, along with 10% of smartphone users, watched a program because of something read on social-media sites.

Other earlier Nielsen research on Twitter and TV ratings found a correlation between Twitter activity and TV ratings. And in the works for the fall TV season is a new Nielsen Twitter TV rating that measures TV audiences' social activity.

"We are saying that there is a 'there' there," Hess says. "We know that big companies, broadcasters and other advertisers all have their social groups within those companies and some of what they are doing is clearly working."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Channel 3 Presents "Voice of the Fan: Cleveland Browns Town Hall" This Thursday

By Frank Macek

This Thursday at 8 p.m., Channel 3 Sports presents "Voice of the Fan: Cleveland Browns Town Hall," as we get set for another exciting preseason of Cleveland Browns football on WKYC-TV.

Channel 3's Jim Donovan modeates this one hour interactive special where you get to ask the tough questions from new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and other members of the Browns management team including CEO Joe Banner, General Manager Michael Lombardi, President Alec Scheiner and Head Coach Dave Chudzinski.

We and The Official Cleveland Browns want to hear from you! You can submit your questions right now by clicking @ to have them answered during the special.

That's "Voice of the Fan: Cleveland Browns Town Hall" airs this Thursday at 8 p.m. and only on Channel 3!

Monday, July 22, 2013

"Bethenny" Coming to Channel 3 September 9th

Bethenny Frankel, one of the hottest newcomers to daytime television is coming to Channel 3 starting Monday, September 9th at 3 p.m.

The new show has Frankel offering a mix of celebrity interviews and lifestyle tips, geared to a female audience. Although her show has been compared to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in part due to having DeGeneres as a co-producer, Frankel dismisses the notion: "Ellen has her own fan base and a very different conversation with fans than I do. She's not trying to make this a show like hers."

The series debuted as a summer test run on June 11, 2012 on six stations owned by the Fox Televisions Station Group, and will go nationwide across the United States and Canada starting September 9th.

On August 26th, WKYC will offer viewers a sneak peek at the show from 11:30 a.m. until noon.
The 30-minute program entitled, “No Limits” is hosted by Bethenny Frankel and gives viewers a look at some of her favorite moments from the sixweek test show. She covers everything from love and relationships, to celebrities and pop culture, to beauty and fitness.

With fresh wraparounds highlighting Bethenny’s uniquely honest point of view, the special demonstrates how she “goes there” on every single topic. Nothing is offlimits!

To get to know Bethenny better, visit her website at

Click the video to watch more:

Monday, June 24, 2013

WKYC Looking For Our Next Morning Traffic Reporter Star

Do you know Northeast Ohio's roads like the back of your hand? Can you work around a traffic jam in a jiffy?

Then you could be Channel 3's next morning Traffic Reporter!

We're searching for a fresh face to join the team, so if you've the got roadway knowledge and a great morning attitude, join Pat Butler and the WKYC crew for TRAFFIC TRYOUTS on Saturday, July 13.

Auditions will be held at the Channel 3 Studios, 1333 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland.

For your chance to tryout or more information, please go to:

Disclaimer: 1 reservation per email address, please. You must be 18 years of age. These are tryouts only and do not guarantee full or part-time employment.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gannett Acquires Belo for $2.2 billion, Increases Station Group to 43

McLEAN, VA and DALLAS, TX – JUNE 13, 2013 – Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) and Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC) jointly announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or approximately $1.5 billion, plus the assumption of $715 million in existing debt for an enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, represents a 28.1 percent premium to the closing price of Belo common stock on June 12, 2013.

The combination creates a broadcast “Super Group,” catapulting Gannett into the nation’s fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates reaching nearly a third of all U.S. households.  The acquisition nearly doubles Gannett’s current broadcast portfolio from 23 to 43 stations, including stations to be serviced by Gannett through shared services or similar sharing arrangements. Upon completion of the transaction, Gannett’s Broadcast segment will have greater geographic and revenue diversity, with 21 stations in the top 25 markets and will become the #1 CBS affiliate group, the #4 ABC affiliate group, and will expand its already #1 NBC affiliate group position. Following the transaction, Gannett’s Broadcast segment is expected to contribute more than half of the Company’s pro forma total EBITDA, and the Digital and Broadcast segments combined are expected to contribute nearly two-thirds.

The Company anticipates that the transaction will generate approximately $175 million in annual run-rate synergies within three years after closing.  The transaction is expected to generate significant free cash flow and be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share by approximately $0.50 within the first 12 months.  The transaction valuation implies a 9.4x average 2011/2012 EBITDA multiple prior to synergies, and a 5.4x multiple assuming expected synergies.

Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett, said, “We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership.  We have been successfully transforming Gannett into a diversified multi-media company with broadcast, digital and publishing components across high-growth markets nationwide, and this is another important step in the process.  It will significantly improve our cash flow and financial strength, enabling us to quickly pay down debt while remaining committed to disciplined capital allocation.  By enhancing our portfolio with one of the largest, most geographically diverse and network-balanced TV station groups in the country, the new Gannett will be well positioned to lead innovation, bolster our existing growth initiatives and take advantage of new opportunities in the emerging digital media landscape.”

Commenting on the transaction, Dunia A. Shive, Belo’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is an outstanding and financially compelling transaction for our shareholders.  It is also a testament to the tremendous value our employees have created over Belo’s long history and to the strength of our brand in the media industry.  I am confident that we have found an excellent partner in Gannett – they are a leading media company that shares our commitment to the highest levels of journalistic integrity and embraces an active approach to community involvement.  Together, this portfolio of media assets will be well-positioned to capitalize on substantial growth opportunities in the years ahead.”

Additional Transaction Details

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2013, subject to antitrust approval, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, approval by holders of two-thirds of the voting power of Belo shares, and customary closing conditions.  Belo’s directors and executive officers, who collectively own approximately 42 percent of the voting power of Belo’s outstanding shares, have entered into voting and support agreements to vote their shares in favor of the transaction with Gannett.  Gannett expects to finance the purchase through cash on hand, accessing the capital markets and bank financing.

Capital Allocation Update

Gannett will continue its share buyback program and has replaced its existing remaining authorization with a new $300 million authorization expected to be used over the next two years.  The Company will also continue its existing dividend payment program.  Given Gannett’s balance sheet strength and increased cash flows from Belo’s broadcast stations, the Company expects to promptly pay down the debt associated with this transaction and maintain significant financial flexibility going forward.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is providing financial advice and Nixon Peabody and Paul Hastings are serving as legal advisors to Gannett on the transaction.  RBC Capital Markets, LLC is providing financial advice and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz is acting as legal advisor to Belo.


Belo Stations being acquired by Gannett include:

KENS-TV/San Antonio
KING-TV/Seattle, Tacoma
KONG-TV/Seattle, Tacoma
KMOV-TV/St. Louis
WWL-TV/New Orleans
WUPL-TV/New Orleans

Monday, June 10, 2013

WKYC News & Notes: 6/10/13

By Frank Macek

It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Congratulations to Channel 3 Reporter Sara Shookman on her first place award in the Press Club of Cleveland's "2013 Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards." Sara won for her report called "Superstorm Sandy: From the edge of the storm." Sara also received a 2nd place honor for her human interest story "Hometown Tour with Dee Haslam."

Channel 3 News welcomes Grant deBruin as our new weeknight 11pm producer. deBruin comes to WKYC from our sister station in Buffalo, WGRZ-TV, where he’s currently producing the 5am newscast.  WGRZ has grown to the #1 station in that market with a strategy of asking tough questions and being unwavering advocates for viewers and the community. Grant will bring that winning approach to our news coverage.

Channel 3 will holding a station sponsored Health & Wellness Expo at the new Global Center for Health Innovation/Convention Center on Saturday, September 7th from 10 am to 6 p.m. The expo will be FREE and open to the public as only the second major event of the new facility. WKYC’s mission in bringing this expo to Cleveland is to improve the health and wellness of our viewers and to give them hands on interactive ways to get health information and have fun. The staff of the entire station will be involved on September 7th, greeting viewers, signing autographs, working with sponsor clients, etc. There will be free health screenings like blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose. There will be a Health Forum Pavilion with Monica Robins moderating discussions on trending medical topics, area chefs cooking up health food, plus fun interactive exhibits like a climbing rock wall, golf area and soccer field. Watch Channel 3 News for more details on air and on as we get closer to September.

WKYC will air "Operation Inspiration" on June 29th at 7 p.m. Eckrich, the underwriter of the special, is donating 5 cents for every purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4, 2013, up to $250,000, as a way to provide assistance to inspiring military families. The special will be hosted by NBC's Al Roker and feature NASCAR's legendary "The King" Richard Petty, #43 driver Aric Almirola and other celebrities. 

Finally, WKYC will air the only Browns game in prime time this year on Thursday, October 3rd, as they take on the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium in downtown Cleveland. Coverage will begin at 8 p.m., followed by first kick at 8:25 p.m.

Monday, June 03, 2013

WKYC Wins Six Local Emmy Awards

Congratulations to several WKYC journalists on earning Emmy awards from the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

This year's 44th annual awards were presented Saturday, June 1st, at Windows on the River in Cleveland with a reception held afterward at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

The Lower Great Lakes Chapter has a mission to serve its members, recognize excellence and promote the highest standards in television professionalism for stations and broadcast entities Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

The following awards were won by WKYC on Saturday:

Newscast-Evening - Market 1-20
Channel 3 News at 6 - Russ Mitchell, Anchor/Sara Shookman, Reporter/Danielle Fink, Assignment Editor/Maureen Kyle, Reporter

Breaking News
Chardon School Shootings - Erin Kenney, Anchor; Chris Tye, Anchor; Russ Mitchell, Anchor; Lisa Lowry, Assignment Manager; Danielle Fink, Assignment Manager; Maureen Kyle, Reporter; Monica Robins, Reporter; Claire Donovan, Producer; Tom Meyer, Reporter; Brooke Whitney, Producer; Shane Snider, Photojournalist; and Stephanie Coueignoux, Reporter.

Health/Science - Single Story
A Dangerous Mix - Monica Robins, Producer/Susan Moses, Producer & Writer/Randy White, Photographer

Disciplined With Pay - Tom Meyer, Reporter/Sarah Bachmann, Editor

Weather - News Weathercast
Christmas 2012 - "Twas the Night Before the Blizzard" - Betsy Kling, Meteorologist

Promotion - Program Single Spot/Campaign
WKYC "See the Possible" Campaign - Micki Byrnes, Producer/Monique Jackson, Producer, Stacy Yacobozzi, Producer/Steve Pullen, Videographer

Crafts: Video Essay
Austic Artist - Lynn Olszowy, MMJ

For a complete list of all this year's nominees, click the following link @

Friday, May 31, 2013

WKYC's Jim Donovan Winner of Akron Aeros Media Madness Television Bobblehead Election

The Akron Aeros announced today WKYC-TV’s Jim Donovan is the winner in the television category of its first Media Madness Bobblehead Election.

Donovan is scheduled to make a special appearance at Canal Park on Saturday, June 8 when his bobblehead, sponsored by Distillata, will be given out to the first 1,000 fans before the Aeros host the Portland Sea Dogs at 7:05 p.m.

Donovan has been with WKYC since 1985 and is the station’s nightly news and sports anchor. He has been the play-by-play voice of the Cleveland Browns since 1999 and has covered a variety of sporting events over the years, including the World Cup and the Olympics.

 Donovan also served one season as the play-by-play announcer for the Vermont Reds, the original franchise team that would eventually become Canton-Akron Indians in 1989 and the Akron Aeros in 1997.

“We are very excited Jim Donovan won the television bobblehead election and we can’t wait to have him and his giveaway at Canal Park next Saturday,” said Christina Shisler, Aeros’ director of promotions. “It was a very close vote to the end, but we can only have one winner. It will be fun to see who the fans select in the print and radio categories for the other June Saturday giveaways.” The Media Madness Bobblehead Election started in March when fans were asked to nominate their favorite Northeast Ohio media personality in the categories of print, radio, and television.

In April, fans voted from the list of nominees to determine a final top three in each category. The final round of voting started May 1 to determine winners. The radio winner will be given out Saturday, June 22 and the print winner will be given out Saturday, June 29.

Winners will be announced on Friday the week before the scheduled giveaway date. Fans are encouraged to vote for the radio and print finalists by emailing until noon on the Friday announcement days. To date, fans have voted close to 1,000 times in the final round and almost 1,500 times overall with the election still running in the radio and print categories.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Honored by Society of Professional Journalists

Tom Beres, WKYC Senior Political Correspondent
Our congratulations to WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres who was honored Tuesday by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Tom was given the Distinguished Service Award, for his contributions to journalism, at a luncheon held at the City Club of Cleveland.

Tom has been with WKYC for 34 years and is the longest-tenured reporter at a Cleveland station.

The best news is Tom has just signed on for more with Channel 3 News, which means you will continue to see on the air for some time to come.

Also honored Tuesday include WTAM-AM/1100's Tom Moore with the Distinguished Service Awared and Tom Hamzik of Padua who won the Philip Porter Scholarship.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Channel 3 Re-Airs “Heroin: Old Drug, New Killer Epidemic” May 26th

WKYC will re-air our much talked about special "Heroin: Old Drug, New Killer Epidemic" on Sunday, May 26th from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Channel 3.

“We were approached by a group of concerned citizens in Geauga County who are alarmed at the rate by which young people are dying from this epidemic, said Rita Andolsen, WKYC’s Director of Advocacy & Community Initiatives.

 “After looking into the issue, we learned heroin use and subsequent deaths are a problem across our entire region. We decided to put the resources of our station behind the issue and do something about it”.

Anchored by medical reporter Monica Robins, the special takes an in-depth look at what’s causing the epidemic and the cost, literally and figuratively, of addiction to the families whose loved ones fall victim to this drug.

In Cuyahoga County alone, the number of heroin deaths has increased by 177% from 2007-2012. The statistics in surrounding counties are equally alarming. During this hour long special, medical and mental health professionals weigh in on what’s causing this epidemic and what it’s going to take to stem the tide. Families and recovering users share their stories in the hope they can help saves lives.

A web chat will immediately follow the documentary with a panel of medical professionals that includes: Dr. Ted Parrran, St. Vincent Medical Center, Orlando Howard, Clinical Manager, St. Vincent Medical Center, Christina Delos Reyes, M.D. ADAMHS Board, Dennis Michelson, Drug Treatment Counselor, Lake and Geauga Recovery Centers, and Geauga County Safety Center, Carla and Rob Brandt, founders of “Robby’s Voice”

Channel 3 is working with numerous county drug task forces, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, addicts and their families to provide an in-depth look at the problem. From our documentary, WKYC will create a 15 minute DVD for use in schools, PTA meetings and other educational outreach.

We are asking area schools to partner with WKYC and agree to show this DVD in assemblies or health classes in middle and high schools before the end of the school year or at the start of the next school year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Call to Courage Benefit To Honor and Assist Gina, Amanda and Michelle

Channel 3 is partnering with LaVilla Event Center and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment to host a community benefit "Call to Courage" on Thursday May 23rd from 5:30 to 9 pm to assist Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight. Money raised will go to the Cleveland Courage Fund thru The Cleveland Foundation.

LaVilla Event Center at 11500 Brookpark Road is graciously donating their facility and services for the benefit and Party 411 Events is helping to plan the evening’s events. Music will be provided by singer and pianist Mike Petrone and Monica Robins and the Ninja Cowboys, playing a mix of rock, 80's and country. Local singer/songwriter Ashley Nemeh will also perform a song written specifically to honor these three young women.

Area restaurants will be donating their time and talents cooking up some of Cleveland's favorites. Get a taste of the best Cleveland has to offer from Johnny's, Georgetown, Triv's, and numerous others. Tickets can be purchased at the door. General admission is $20 and includes heavy appetizers and soft drinks.  A cash bar with wine and beer will also be available and general and valet parking is free.
Dozens of area businesses are donating items for a silent auction and raffle with numerous prizes including concert tickets and meet and greets for Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan and Rascal Flats. Autographed guitars by Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Little Big Town and STAIND will be up for grabs. Kyrie Irving is also donating a signed basketball, jersey and hat. Dozens of donations are still coming in for both the silent auction and the raffle.

"Call to Courage" will be hosted by WKYC's Robin Swoboda and WTAM's Bill Wills and guests will also have the chance to meet some of their favorite radio and television personalities including WKYC’s Russ Mitchell, Betsy Kling and Jim Donovan, WGAR’s Brian & LeeAnn, Rover and Duji from WMMS and WMJI’s Mark Nolan.

"People across the community and the nation have been touched by this story, this miracle", said Rita Andolsen, WKYC Director of Advocacy & Community Initiatives. "We decided to host this event to give the community a chance to celebrate the courage of Amanda, Gina and Michelle and to give people a way to show their support".

For more information call 216 514-8411 or email Rita Andolsen at

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Channel 3 Announces Browns Preseason Programming Times

Once again, WKYC-TV will be your official television home of Cleveland Browns preseason football with a total of four games to be aired during the month of August.

Here is the schedule of times you will see the Browns "Pregame Huddle" and games on Channel 3.

Thursday, August 8th
    7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Browns Pregame Huddle
    8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. - Browns vs. St. Louis

Thursday, August 15th
   6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - Browns Pregame Huddle
   7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. - Browns vs. Detroit

Saturday, August 24th
   6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - Browns Pregame Huddle
   7:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. - Browns at Indianapolis

Thursday, August 29th
   7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Browns Pregame Huddle
   8:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. - Browns at Chicago

During the regular season, WKYC will also air the "Browns Pregame Huddle" on Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m. and "Browns Tonight" each Sunday night immediately following "Sunday Night Football" on NBC and Channel 3 News at 11 p.m.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

NBC Announces Fall 2013 Prime Time Schedule

NBC has announced its prime-time schedule for the fall of 2013:

   8 p.m. - "The Voice"
   10 p.m. - "The Blacklist"

  8 p.m. - "The Biggest Loser"
  9 p.m. - "The Voice"
  10 p.m. - "Chicago Fire"

   8 p.m. - "Revolution"
   9 p.m. - "Law & Order: SVU"
   10 p.m. - "Ironside"

   8 p.m. - "Parks and Recreation"
   8:30 p.m. - "Welcome to the Family"
   9 p.m. - "Sean Saves the World"
   9:30 p.m. - "The Michael J. Fox Show"
   10 p.m. - "Parenthood"

   8 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
   9 p.m. - "Grimm"
   10 p.m. - "Dracula"

   - assorted reruns.

   7 p.m. - "Football Night in America"

Friday, May 10, 2013

WKYC News & Notes: 5/10/13

By Frank Macek

It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.
We are just wrapping up a week of one of the busiest news stories of recent memory with the "Miracle in Cleveland." For four days, WKYC brought viewers expanded coverage of this story since it broke Monday night. Our reporters and entire Channel 3 News devoted all of our resources to cover every angle of the story.

Many of our stories went national and several of our reporters appeared on national broadcasts with updates and web stories. WKYC also tapped the vast resources of Gannett Broadcasting and welcomed several journalists to help us cover the story from our stations in Knoxville; Buffalo; Columbia; South Carolina and Washington D.C. who brought their own perspectives on how Clevelanders reacted to this story. And while a large part of this story has played out, we'll continue to follow developments in the coming weeks and months.

Evelyn Theiss
WKYC welcomes two new team members. Evelyn Theiss is joining Channel 3 News from the Cleveland Plain Dealer where she will join our investigative unit, led by "The Investigator" Tom Meyer. Evelyn has worked as a reporter for the PD for the past twenty-three years. During that time, Evelyn has enterprised hundreds of stories on beats ranging from City Hall to healthcare to investigative reporting and has a unique understanding of our city and our region. Also, Ryan Maloney is the newest addition to our WKYC engineering staff. Ryan joins Channel 3 from Industrial Video (now iVideo Technologies) where he spent over 7 years.

Jim Donovan
Our own Jim Donovan was honored with the "Dino Lucarelli Lifetime Achievement Award" Tuesday night at the 25th annual scholar athlete awards banquet. Longtime friend and Browns radio partner Doug Dieken presented Jim the award for being the best at his craft. As most of you know, Jim is a leukemia survivor and awed the attendees with his outstanding speech.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, WKYC was nominated for a number of Emmy Awards this year to be presented on June 1st. In addition, two outstanding people from Channel 3 will be awarded with Golden Circle Awards. Fred Griffith will be honored for 26 years as host of the  “Morning Exchange” on WEWS-TV, creating a warm and friendly start to the day while updating viewers on what had happened while they slept. In 2000, Fred moved to WKYC-TV, lending his skills to the station’s “Good Company” program before retiring in 2012.
Dennis Goulden                               Fred Griffith 
Also, Dennis Golden will be honored this year. Since 1959, Dennis has had hands-on experience in all phases of documentary, public affairs and news production that includes expertise in cinematography, videography, research, writing and both on-line and off-line editing. At Channel 3, Dennis is well know for his "Montage" series. Congratulations to both of these outstanding colleagues.

And finally, be sure to watch our newscasts on your iPhone or iPad. Channel 3 just launched an update of our WKYC News app for iPhone users that enables live video streaming. Look for the app in the iTunes store. We'll have a version for Android users coming soon.

Monday, April 29, 2013

WKYC Honored with SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award for Chardon Coverage

The Award Winning News Team of Channel 3 News
WKYC has once again been honored with a prestigious award for the station's coverage of the Chardon, Ohio, school shootings on February 28, 2012.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) recognized the staff of WKYC with a Sigma Delta Chi Award for "Breaking News Coverage (Large - Market Station: 1-50 market)" category.

This was the second award received by Channel 3 News on the heels of a regional Edward R. Murrow Award under the leadership of former News Director Rita Andolsen.  Andolsen is currently the station's Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives.

This year, the Society of Professional Journalists judges selected 84 honorees from nearly 1,700 submissions. Entries included selections from television and radio broadcasts, newspapers, online news outlets and magazines.

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards date back to 1932, when the Society honored six individuals for their contributions to journalism.

According to their website, the current program began in 1939 as the Distinguished Service Awards.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

WKYC Nominated For Several Emmy Awards for 2013

The 2013 Emmy finalists were announced Thursday morning by the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

This is the 44th year of the annual awards that will be handed out on Saturday, June 1st at Windows on the River in Cleveland.

The Lower Great Lakes Chapter has a mission to serve its members, recognize excellence and promote the highest standards in television professionalism for stations and broadcast entities Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to the following WKYC journalists on their nominations for the 2012 calendar year:

Newscast-Evening - Market 1-20
Channel 3 News at 6 - Russ Mitchell, Anchor/Sara Shookman, Reporter/Danielle Fink, Assignment Editor/Maureen Kyle, Reporter

Newscast-Morning/Daytime - Market 1-20
Channel 3 News Today - Jennifer Nickels, Executive Producer/Chris Tye, Anchor/Erin Kennedy, Anchor/Brooke Whitney, Producer/Matthew Granite, Reporter

General Assignment Report - Within 24 Hours
Bridge Bombers - Tom Meyer, Reporter
Sidewalk Driver - Jennifer Lindgren, Reporter and Editor

General Assignment Report - No Time Limit
King of the Cul-De-Sac - Tom Meyer, Reporter

Breaking News
Chardon School Shootings - WKYC Team

Investigative Report - Single Story
Sex Traffickers Exposed - Tom Meyer, Reporter/Sarah Bachmann, Editor

Features News - Series
Stories From London - Jennifer Lindgren, Reporter, Photographer, Editor

Health/Science - Single Story
Garbage Juice - Tom Meyer, Reporter/Sarah Bachmann, Editor
A Dangerous Mix - Monica Robins, Producer/Susan Moses, Producer & Writer/Randy White, Photographer

Military: News Single Story/News Series/Feature or Segment
Veterans Commission - Tom Meyer, Reporter/Sarah Bachmann, Editor/Jessie Eck, Graphic Production Artist

Disciplined With Pay - Tom Meyer, Reporter/Sarah Bachmann, Editor

Societal Concerns
Born Addicted - Susan Moses, Producer/Monica Robins, Reporter/Brandi Brayer, Editor/Lynn Olszowy, Photojournalist
Suburban Heroin - Tom Meyer, Reporter/Sarah Bachmann, Editor

Weather - News Weathercast
Christmas 2012 - "Twas the Night Before the Blizzard" - Betsy Kling, Meteorologist

Promotion - Program Single Spot/Campaign
WKYC See the Possible Campaign - Micki Byrnes, Producer/Monique Jackson, Producer, Stacy Yacobozzi, Producer/Steve Pullen, Videographer

Journalistic Enterprise
Tom Meyer-Reporter - Tom Meyer, Reporter

Crafts: Video Essay
Austic Artist - Lynn Olszowy, MMJ

For a complete list of all this year's nominees, click the following link @

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WKYC Recognized With Regional Edward R. Murrow Award

By Frank Macek

WKYC is honored to announce the station is the recipient of a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for large market in region seven for our breaking news coverage of the tragic events in Chardon last year.

"Channel 3 was recognized as an indispensable source of emergency information during the height of the crisis," says News Director Brennan Donnellan.

"The station's sensitivity to the tragedy was also recognized by the community in the following hours and days under the newsroom leadership of former WKYC News Director Rita Andolsen," he added. Andolsen is currently the station's Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives.

WKYC parent company, Gannett Broadcasting, received a total of 45 regional 2013 Edward R. Murrow awards highlighting the excellence in journalism across all of our local broadcast stations.

Gannett CEO Gracia C. Martore explained, "This is the company’s best performance ever in the regional Murrow awards and the largest number of awards won by any station group this year! I couldn’t be prouder of Gannett Broadcasting and the award-winning journalism they have produced. These awards highlight Gannett’s purpose to serve the greater good of our nation and the communities we serve."

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

'Tonight Show' Revs Up For A New Generation

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
Gary Levin, USA TODAY

It's a generational shift at an icon of late-night TV: NBC's Tonight Show has anointed only its sixth host in its 59-year history. Jimmy Fallon will take over for Jay Leno late next February, the network confirmed Wednesday, after Leno is ushered off the stage for the second time in a 22-year run.

With the handoff, expected just after a promotional push during NBC's Winter Olympics, Tonight will move back to Fallon's base in New York City from Burbank, Calif., its home for more than 30 years. And the show is being placed in the hands of executive producer Lorne Michaels, who created Saturday Night Live and has shepherded projects featuring many of its stars, from 30 Rock to Fallon's current Late Night. But wee-hours talk shows have diminished in stature and ratings, amid huge shifts in television viewing.

Jay Leno (L) and Jimmy Fallon (R)
Cable competitors have sprung up, and recorded shows compete with the nightly monologues. Instead, much of the cultural conversation about Tonight has revolved around who's in and who's out, rather than what's being said. The show clings to its lead as late-night's most-watched, even as NBC struggles in prime time and Today has dropped to second place in the morning hours. But for the first time this winter, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report joined The Daily Show in beating Tonight among young-adult viewers. And both make headlines far more frequently.

"More for performers than the audience, there is sort of an aura of the Tonight Show label," says Ron Simon, curator of the Paley Center for Media, as a destination for celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers and -- less frequently these days -- musicians and comics. But among viewers, its image "has been shattered because of infighting over the last several years," he says. That will be "very difficult" to repair, says Simon, but Fallon's boyish enthusiasm and natural skills as a performer could help. At 38, he's "the right age for it, someone you could see grow before your eyes," just as "Carson went from new kid on the block to elder statesman." 'This is his time' Why is NBC dropping Leno, who still leads the pack, seven months before his contract is up in September 2014?

"Jimmy Fallon is a unique talent and this is his time," says NBC Universal chief Steve Burke in a statement, taking pains to praise Leno, who's 62 and is expected to continue his stand-up career. "His long reign as the highest-rated late-night host is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his viewers and to NBC." There's been speculation that NBC acted out of fear: that ABC, which installed Jimmy Kimmel, 45, into an earlier 11:35 slot in January, might lure younger viewers away, or that Fallon would bolt for another network if he wasn't promised the Tonight Show brass ring. (NBC declined interview requests.)

The network had been there once before, keeping Conan O'Brien around in 2004 by promising he'd inherit Leno's chair five years later, only to pull the plug when Leno's prime-time show tanked and O'Brien's ratings faltered. Its next step is to replace Fallon at 12:35, where candidates include another SNL veteran and Weekend Update anchor, Seth Meyers. But all programmers must contend with the fact that not many young viewers are watching network talk shows.

Fifteen years ago, ABC, NBC and CBS commanded 21% of the young-adult audience in late night; now they muster a combined 4%. The format is largely broken, says a veteran producer of one, who requested anonymity because he's not authorized to comment publicly. He says the shows' reduced stature makes a transition now easier to accomplish by putting less pressure on a newcomer to produce big ratings.

And Leno helped smooth the way, appearing in a joke-video duet with Fallon Monday night and graciously bowing out in an official announcement Wednesday. "Congratulations, Jimmy," he said. "I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy." Future growth with Fallon Despite Fallon's relative youth, his audience isn't that much younger, with an average age of 53 compared to 58 for Leno and 56 for Letterman. (Viewers of O'Brien's TBS show, though far fewer in number, are more youthful with an average age of 36, while Colbert and Stewart's are about 42.)

But he brings a skill set lacking in some other, more angst-ridden hosts. He's not a stand-up comedian or acerbic commentator, but a singing, dancing performer, schooled in sketch comedy, who hasn't done many serious interviews but is more adept at engaging his audience with viral videos and social media. That effort is critical as the late night audience ages and shrinks further. "Advertisers find the hipper, cutting-edge environment more attractive," says Tim Spengler, worldwide CEO at ad firm Magna Global, who says the popularity of Fallon's work off the air "portends momentum and potential future growth for the program."

And Simon says the blending of the Tonight Show and SNL "traditions will bring a new flavor" to the Fallon's show in its shiny new studio, to be built near his current home at Rockefeller Center (where he'll displace Dr. Oz). Though, like in many late-night shows, there's irony involved: "SNL started as a reaction against the whole Tonight Show tradition, and now it's part and parcel with it," Simon says.

Friday, March 29, 2013

WKYC Names Dustin Wadsworth Assistant News Director

Channel 3 News is adding a new face to the WKYC family as Dustin Wadsworth joins the station as Assistant News Director beginning April 29th, announced News Director Brennan Donnellan on Friday afternoon.
Dustin Wadsworth

Wadsworth comes to the WKYC from WMAR-TV/Baltimore, the Scripps owned station, where he helped create a digital-first newsroom, driving content and working on digital media strategy and served in a number of important roles over the past 12 years including News Producer, Executive News Producer and Director of New Media, most recently.

"We were determined to find a leader in digital news, someone who can help guide our overall editorial direction while making our social media, mobile and online channels top priorities, " said Donnellan explaining WKYC's committment to information distribution on all platforms.

Before WMAR, Wadsworth worked for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Fox Rochester and WBNG/TV in Binghamton, New York as a news producer.

He has a graduate of the State University of New York, Oneonta, and is married with two children and is looking forward to calling northeast Ohio home beginning next month.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WKYC News & Notes: 3/27/13

By Frank Macek

It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

WKYC's Rita Andolsen (left) receiving award
Channel 3 received a big honor on Tuesday, March 26th, as the station was presented with the "Friends of Education Award" from the Cleveland Metropolitan School district at Glenville High School. Channel 3's Rita Andolsen, Director Advocacy & Community Initiatives, accepted the award honoring all of the station's efforts to inform voters about the Issue 107 school levy that voters passed overwhelmingly back in November.

Our Indians Opening Day coverage is all set and Channel 3 will be the place to be on Tuesday, April 8th, as the Indians welcome the New York Yankees to Progressive Field. Our live coverage will begin with a live 2 hour special called "Tribe Time: Opening Day" at 1 p.m. with Russ Mitchell, Kris Pickel and the entire Channel 3 team. Then at 3 p.m,  our "Indians Live" pregame show hits the air followed by the game as the Tribe takes on the Yankees. Catch all the action, all afternoon long on WKYC-TV.

Channel 3 will present a special one hour broadcast on Thursday, April 18th, from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. called "Heroin: Old Drug, New Epidemic." The show will feature WKYC Senior Health Reporter Monica Robins and examines how heroin and other opiate abuse and overdose has reached epidemic proportions throughout Northeast Ohio - now affecting all ages and all socio-economic groups. Dd you know, more people die from drug related overdoses in Ohio than car accidents. On average, that's 4 lives lost per day due to drugs. Monica will have interviews with medical experts, law enforcement officers, addicts and their families who offer insights into the epidemic that often ends badly for users either with jailtime or death.
Dave Summers

Finally, our WKYC team is saying goodbye to a longtime reporter/fill-in anchor at Channel 3 News. Dave Summers has decided to start a new chapter in his career and is joining the team at KNSD-TV/NBC7 in San Diego, California. We are certain that Dave will enjoy warmer weather and be able to get a natural tan. Summers has been with WKYC for nearly 13 years and has been breaking stories and providing excellent coverage of Northeast Ohio. His last day at the station is this Friday, March 30th. We wish him all the best.
Happy Easter from the Director's Cut Blog!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A.J. Ross Joins Channel 3 News Team

A.J. Ross
A.J. Ross is joining Channel 3 News as a multimedia journalist on April 15th, announced WKYC News Director Brennan Donnellan on Monday.

Most recently, Ross was a freelance reporter in her hometown of Pittsburgh at WTAE-TV and worked as a freelance reporter for the New Pittsburgh Courier newspaper.

Before moving back to Pittsburgh, she was a reporter at WSYX-TV in Columbus where we researched, shot, wrote, edited and reported live for the 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts; an anchor reporter at WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and a production assistant for ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut.

Ross is a graduate of Howard University.

Look for A.J. on various editions of Channel 3 News.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

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WKYC News & Notes: 3/6/13

By Frank Macek
It's time for another "behind the scenes" look at what's happening inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

WKYC is been announced as a finalist in the 2012 Ohio Associated Press Media Editors contest in the following categories: 1) Best Breaking News Coverage for "Chardon School Shootings", 2) Best Use of Photography for "Autistic Artist" by Lynn Olszowy and 3) Best Reporter - Tom Meyer. The winners will be announced at the annual OAPME convention on May 19th in Columbus.

We are happy to welcome Danielle Sills to WKYC as producer of the weekend editions of Channel 3 News at 6 and 11 PM with John Anderson and Lynna Lai. Danielle was most recently a producer at WRDB, the Fox affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky. Danielle is from the Cleveland area and is a graduate of Ohio University.

At the same time, current weekend producer Julie Ocepek moves to the evening Assignment  Editor position. She will take over the position held by Dani Fink who will killed in a car accident in January. Julie will help guide the newsroom's editorial process and coordinate crews in the field.

This Friday, Channel 3 will be part of the APL Pet Telethon called "Fur-Get-Me-Not". The telethon will unite the community and inspire viewers to put their compassion in action to give help, hope and a second chance at life to homeless animals.

 This 15-hour event will showcase the diverse and meaningful work the APL does to rescue, heal, nurture, adopt and advocate for animals in need. Tune in to WKYC on Friday, March 8 from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. All funds raised will benefit the Cleveland APL. To donate, go to

Thursday, February 28, 2013

WKYC's Russ Mitchell Wins McGruder Award

Russ Mitchell
WKYC's Russ Mitchell has been named 2013's winner of the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in the field of journalism. Mitchell, who serves as managing editor for WKYC's evening news and lead anchor during the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts, will be honored at an awards luncheon and lecture on Tuesday, April 2.

The luncheon is by invitation only.

This year marks 10 years of honoring diversity excellence with the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity, and the lecture and luncheon has become one of Kent State's most successful diversity events.

Also being recognized at the luncheon is the Akron Beacon Journal's Betty Lin-Fisher as winner of 2013's Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award. Later that day, Mitchell will serve as keynote speaker at the McGruder Lecture inside the Kent Student Center Kiva at 2:15 p.m.

This is free and open to the public.

Mitchell, a former anchor of the CBS Evening News weekend editions and The Early Show on Saturday, also worked as national correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning, the CBS Evening News, and The Early Show. He joined WKYC in January 2012.