Posts Tagged ‘WTEV’

“I think they exercised bad judgement”….

(from – When word got out that the contracts five news anchors from WTEV-CBS 47 and WAWS-Fox 30 wouldn’t be renewed, it quickly became a hot topic — at least to people around City Council President Bill Gulliford.

In response, Gulliford has offered his observations of the company’s decision to Cox Media Group President Bill Hoffman.

In a letter to Hoffman dated today on council letterhead, Gulliford said the move by Action News is “getting a lot of push back in the community.”

“I have heard it constantly since the story broke,” Gulliford wrote. “People are challenging the wisdom of such a move and questioning whether Cox Media really gets the local aspect of their operation here.”

Asked about the letter, Gulliford said he heard a little more background about the situation from one of the anchors after an interview. After hearing about the situation, he said he didn’t “think someone up the line understands what Jacksonville is about.”

“I think they exercised bad judgment,” he said….Cont….


06 2014

Julie Watkins leaves WTEV/WAWS…

Meteorologist Julie Watkins has left WTEV/WAWS. She signed-off this weekend, after five years with the  Jacksonville duopoly. She started at WTEV/WAWS at the end of 2008.

As some FNC readers may remember, Julie Watkins announced that she was leaving WTEV/WAWS at the end of March this year anyway. She stated on her personal blog that she was leaving TV station start some new projects.

In a recent post on her blog, she mentions that she stayed on through May until the station “had enough people on their weather team.” However, she goes on to talk about how local TV news is stressful. This might have something to do with what has been going on, right across the studios at WTEV/WAWS.

As Florida News Center reported last week, WTEV/WAWS told lead anchors Mark Spain, Paige Kelton, & Tera Barz, along with morning anchors Mike Barz and Lynnsey Gardner that their contracts were not being renewed this fall. Insiders told Florida News Center that the station was “starting over from scratch” with new faces at the stations.

We here at Florida News Center could see how this might be a stressful situation.



06 2014

UPDATE: WTEV/WAWS cuts anchor team…

UPDATE: As Florida News Center reported earlier this week, Jacksonville duopoly WTEV/WAWS is blowing up their lead anchor team to “start over from scratch.” We reported that Mark Spain, Paige Kelton, and Tera Barz were on the chopping block and that the axe might not stop there.

The Jacksonville Business Journal now confirms the latter. We now know that station is blowing up their morning team as well. Morning anchors Mike Barz (the husband of Tera Barz) and Lynnsey Gardner will also be out of the door when their contracts are up.

We hear that Cox Communications (the owners of WTEV/WAWS) have began to look for talent to poach from their other stations around the country, to fill the pending vacancies. Stay tuned to Florida News Center for any further developments.


05 2014

WTEV/WAWS to cut lead anchor team & start over…

Sources tell Florida News Center that Jacksonville duopoly WTEV/WAWS is in the process of replacing its entire lead anchor team.

Lead anchors Mark Spain (right#1), Paige Kelton (right #2), and Tera Barz (right #3) (who’s husband Mike Barz anchors on the morning show) are all reported to be on the chopping block. While the anchors are still with the station”s” currently, they have been told that their contracts will not be renewed when they are up…and the axe may not stop with the lead anchor team.

Despite increases in past ratings books, WTEV/WAWS has often lagged behind competitors WJXT and the duopoly of WTLV/WJXX. Insiders tell Florida News Center that the station plans to “start over from scratch,” “reshaping the look of Action News.”

This news has devastated station staff, who are now all afraid of being next on the chopping block. One staffer called the moves by the station “desperate” and mentioned that “everyone is on edge.” Station staff have been told to keep silent, “or else.”

When asked about the anchor shake-up, WTEV/WAWS News Director Bob Longo, told our friends over at, “out of respect for our employees, we don’t publicly discuss personnel matters.”

Sources at other Cox Communications owned stations (the media company which purchased WTEV/WAWS in 2012) tell Florida News Center that the call has been sent out corporate-wide, to fill the to-be-emptied anchor chairs at the Jacksonville station. Does this mean that Cox might be poaching talent from its other owned stations?

Stay tuned to Florida News Center for further details.


05 2014

Why does JAX TV news suck?….

(from – There’s one question visitors from outside the area often ask me — and a question I ask myself on occasion: Why does local TV news suck so much?

You’d think that, in a region with more than a million people, we’d have something better, that there would be room for more voices, more perspectives, more analyses, more deep dives.

You’d be wrong.

There are exceptions, of course. First Coast News (whose newscasts are shared by our local NBC and ABC affiliates) has a nice investigative team, helmed by former Folio Weekly editor extraordinaire Anne Schindler, which can be counted on for interesting stories every now and again….Cont….

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04 2014