WBBM, WMAQ drop the gloves

The gloves are off in a battle over the videotape that cost a local television reporter her job.

According to the Sun-Times’ Rob Feder, the general managers of the stations involved- Joe Ahern of CBS-owned WBBM-TV and Larry Wert of NBC-owned WMAQ-TV were involved in a shouting match over the phone Tuesday, regarding WBBM’s decision to air a “misleading and inneudo-filled version” of the videotape of now-former WMAQ reporter Amy Jacobson at the Stebic house.

The brouhaha here is being compared to the often nasty feuds between Fox News and CNN.

Television stations involved in turmoil with each other is nothing new. In 1989, two staffers at a Tampa-St. Petersburg television station were involved in a computer tampering scandal, hacking computers at crosstown rival. Terry Cole, a news director for then-ABC affiliate WTSP-TV (now with CBS), hired news manager Michael Shapiro away from then-CBS affiliate WTVT (now a Fox O&O). Shapiro managed to break into his former employers’ newsroom database using a modem in his home with Cole’s knowledge. Both men were arrested, fired from WTSP, and sentenced to probation by a Florida court.

Had the recent controversy brought more viewers to WBBM-TV? According to Nielsen household ratings, the station’s 10 p.m. newscast on Tuesday averaged only a 2.2 rating.

Channeling Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson (or Lester Holt and Linda MacLennan…)

The humanoids respond: Click here to read reactions readers sent in to the Sun-Times…

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