WXII (Channel 12) has eliminated its main sports anchor and plans soon to make several significant changes with its on-air news staff in an effort to improve the station's ratings.
The NBC affiliate eliminated the position of sports anchor Bill Logan on Tuesday. Logan, a broadcaster with more than 20 years experience, took over in February 2001 for Dan Rath, whose contract was not renewed.``This was a hard decision to make because Bill's a family man, and he has worked hard at this station,' says WXII's news director Michelle Butt. ``But we're changing our thinking. We just aren't going to win by having the largest sports team in town. Sports is very important to us, but we will win in more traditional news dimensions.'
WXII will move Logan's position into a post for a news photographer.
Logan's removal is just one of myriad changes the station is making to put more emphasis on hard news coverage, says Butt.
``I'm hugely disappointed because it's likely that I'm going to have to pack up and move to another community to make a living,' says Logan, who is married and has two daughters.
The changes at WXII come the day after the end of the May sweeps period, when Nielsen Media Research measures TV viewership so TV stations can determine how much they can charge for advertising.
The ratings used by advertisers won't be released until mid-June.
But TV stations do receive an early idea of how they performed from measurements taken of Triad homes with meters that measure TV viewing habits.
Based on those TV meters, WXII grabbed an 8.1 rating and beat WGHP's 8.0 rating and finished second to WFMY's 9.89 rating during the 6 p.m. newscast.
But WXII finished last to WGHP (Channel 8) and WFMY (Channel 2) during the most competitive portion of the early morning newscast.
From 6 to 7 a.m., WXII grabbed a 4.7 rating versus a 6.4 rating for WGHP and an 8.1 rating for WFMY.
``Morning is the one place we have not made the progress we would have liked,' says Hank Price, WXII general manager.
In the next month, the station also plans to move several of its anchors to other news programs.
Most significant is the station's decision to change anchors on its 5-7 morning program, NewsChannel 12 Today, where it ranks last behind WFMY (Channel 2) and WGHP (Channel 8).
Kimberly VanScoy will move from her role as co-anchor of the station's 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts to the morning show. VanScoy will join morning anchor Chris Horne.
VanScoy will be replaced by Wanda Stark, who leaves NewsChannel 12 at Noon and adds the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts to her role on the station's 5 p.m. news broadcast.
Morning anchor Margaret Johnson will take Stark's place on the noon newscast and also will work as a reporter on the station's weeknight newscast.
The station plans to hire more on-air staff for the morning show later in the summer, Price says.\
Contact Jamie Kritzer at 373-7319 or email@example.com