As first reported by Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago Friday morning, WGN-TV general manager Marty Wilke is exiting the Chicago CW affiliate and heading to CBS-owned WBBM-TV (CBS 2) in the same capacity. She replaces Bruno Cohen, who is returning to central California to run CBS’ duopoly of KPIX and KBCW in the Bay Area (consisting of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose) and KSTW, the CW affiliate in Seattle. He replaces longtime general manager Ron Longinotti, who was at KPIX for the last decade. His departure was first reported on Rich Liberman’s 415 media blog Thursday night.
This is Cohen’s second stint at KPIX: he was a news producer and later news director for the then-Westinghouse (Group W) owned station from 1979-86. Cohen had been running CBS 2 since 2008, coming from CBS’ duopoly in Sacramento (KMAX/KOVR), whose DMA is adjacent to the Bay Area (a two-hour drive from San Francisco proper, up I-80. Okay, I used Google Maps to calculate that…) During Cohen’s tenure at CBS 2, ratings and morale at the station improved – particularly its local newscasts, becoming more competitive with its’ other network-owned rivals. Recently, Cohen restored weekend morning newscasts to the station, set to begin next weekend.
There were some misses as well, notably the failed Monsters and Money In The Morning, which lasted a mere six months in 2010.
Meanwhile, Wilke helped keep WGN afloat during Tribune’s bankruptcy period and CW’s ratings doldrums. During her tenure, she expanded local newscasts at the station in the morning and midday, and added a 5 p.m. newscast – not to mention keeping a sizable lead over rival WFLD-TV. Wilke has been GM at WGN since 2008, the same year Cohen arrived at CBS 2.
Replacing Wilke at WGN on an interim basis is Steve Farber, who is a currently vice president of operations at Tribune Broadcasting.