The Circle of Life: Sweeps Brings Changes to Local TV

By Kevin Eck 

Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio are no different than any other markets after the big ratings period in November. Anchors, news directors and reporters get fired, promoted, and moved to different time slots where they sit and wait until the next sweeps to find out if it will all happen again.

Semi-retired media writer John Kiesewetter gives a glimpse at the small circle of life that is local TV news in southern Ohio.

Kiesewetter writes that WXIX anchor Scott Schneider went to Fox-owned WFLD in Chicago, Jack Atherton left Dayton’s WKEF-WRGT last week, sports anchor Mike Berk left WKRC to anchor news at WLEX in Lexington, Ky. while NBC affiliate WLWT is still looking for a news director after its current one got bumped up to gm at the Hearst station in Jackson, Miss.

Schneider, whose contract was not renewed last summer by Channel 19, had been working on monthly extensions during Channel 19’s search for his replacement. He left Nov. 25, the final day of November sweeps, to anchor weekends at Chicago Fox affiliate WFLD-TV. He was brought here from Youngstown in 2013.

Tricia Macke‘s next co-anchor has not been hired, says Debbie Bush, Channel 19 vice president and general manager.

“We’re getting close on a replacement. We have several good candidates. Due to the holidays, the new anchor won’t be in place until next year,” she said.

Among the candidates could be Atherton, the former anchor at Channels 19 and 5, who auditioned with Macke this fall. Atherton is available. He left Dayton’s WKEF-TV/WRGT-TV (22 and 45) after three years when sweeps ended last week. Bush declined to comment when I asked if Fox 19’s original anchor (1993-2008) was a candidate.

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