– Station swap: Raycom and Local TV are trading stations with each other and maybe one to be named later… Raycom has traded CBS affiliate WTVR in Richmond, Va. to Local TV for Fox affiliate WBRC-TV in Birmingham. Raycom, which is based in Alabama, will now have a presence in most of the state. Earlier, the Justice Department rejected Raycom’s sale of WTVR to Sinclair Broadcasting after Sinclair planned to sell Fox affiliate WRLH-TV to a third party, but would continue to operate it.
Raycom had to sell WTVR after it purchased Jefferson-Pilot’s TV stations, including cross-town rival NBC affiliate WWBT-TV, which it couldn’t keep because of anti-trust regulations.
Previous owners for WBRC (who had past affiliations with NBC, CBS, and then ABC) included Storer, Taft, Great American, New World, and Fox itself. Local TV acquired WBRC in an eight station deal a year ago.
– WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C., is dumping its low-rated weekend morning newscasts later this month and is replacing them with – you guessed it, infomercials. The station may also fill the slots with some local programming. Once the market’s top-rated station in the 1980’s (whose schedule at the time included The Oprah Winfrey Show and Wheel of Fortune), WUSA is now in fourth place overall, including news.
– Turning back to the Windy City, WLS-TV reporter Dan Ponce has ditched his reporting gig to pursue a music gig. He’s in a vocal group titled Straight No Chaser (yes, this is the name of the group.) Dan Ponce is the son on WTTW-TV’s Chicago Tonight host Phil Ponce and the brother of WMAQ-TV reporter Anthony Ponce.
Dan is also an avid Simpsons fan. Let’s hope he watched the episode (Bart Gets Famous) where Homer was attacked by a monkey while he was in an one-man band playing “Tighten Up”(or at least trying to.) Funny Stuff.