WLEX hires replacement for Nicole Pence

NBC affiliate wins all but noon, 12:30 competitive time slots

ssloan@herald-leader.comSeptember 10, 2012 

Strong results for morning news at WLEX, which has hired a replacement for departed co-anchor Nicole Pence, once again highlighted a victory for the NBC affiliate in local newscast ratings.

In July, Channel 18 won six of the eight competitive newscast time slots in household ratings, dropping only noon and 12:30 p.m. to rival CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27). WLEX outpaced WKYT in those time slots, though, in advertiser-favored demographics such as adults ages 18 to 49 and 25 to 54.

WLEX news director Bruce Carter said the results "reaffirm the ratings success we had in May and the trend we've been seeing the last few years, which is that LEX18 news is quickly becoming the No. 1 news source here in the Bluegrass."

The July results returned the local newscast ratings to some normalcy after Nielsen's May analysis said WLEX won all competitive newscast time periods, marking the first time in memory that the station beat WKYT in the noon and 12:30 p.m. time slots.

WKYT had pointed to issues nationally with Nielsen's surveying techniques and suggested the results were inaccurate.

"We're pleased that our noon and 12:30 were back to being No. 1, and our 10 a.m. newscast also showed growth," said WKYT news director Robert Thomas.

WLEX's Carter has defended the Nielsen measurements in May and said it follows a trend that shows growth that then plateaus for a time.

"We're just nipping at their heels at those two shows," he said.

Carter also highlighted the station's victory in the morning newscasts, noting that came "despite the fact that we did not have a co-anchor for Chris Goodman."

Carter announced Thursday that Goodman will be joined later this month by Julie Dolan, a Cincinnati native who has worked for WEHT in Evansville, Ind., since 2007. Most recently, Dolan has hosted the station's morning newscast. She was one of more than 80 applicants for the position at WLEX and among six brought in to audition, Carter said.

"When we put Julie on the set for her newscast audition, it was as if Chris and Julie had worked together forever," Carter said. "They had great chemistry, and it was just the perfect match."

Morning changes at WKYT

WKYT is making more changes to its morning news. Recently, the station moved Barbara Bailey back to mornings from noon, swapping her on-air duties with Stacy Ellison.

Now the station has hired a meteorologist to replace Todd Borek, whose contract was not renewed.

Micah Harris, who has worked at WAKA in Montgomery, Ala., starts in the role Wednesday.

"We've retooled our morning news by pairing Barbara and Bill Bryant back together," Thomas said, adding that Harris will be a strong addition to the team. "I think the viewers will really enjoy the extra energy he will bring to mornings."

WKYT had made great strides in the morning ratings in past years with a team of Bryant, Bailey and meteorologist Chris Bailey. Since that time, though, the station has generally been outpaced in morning news household ratings by rival WLEX.

Latest issue of Folk hits retailers this week

A national magazine started by Lexington college students will publish its latest issue this week.

Folk, the mantra of which is "real American living," is billed as being "devoted to presenting a fresh and youthful interpretation of simple country lifestyles."

University of Kentucky student Ben Ashby started the magazine last summer with Hillary Lewis and Heath Stiltner. Ashby said it grew out of his love and interest in small businesses that emphasize American-made products and authentic living.

"A lot of what you see in TV and media is so idealized, so clean and so perfect," Ashby said. "We wanted to show that no one lives like that."

The small businesses supported the magazine with advertising, he said, and the title was picked up by Ingram Book Co., the largest book wholesale distributor in the world, and now has a circulation of 26,000.

The title, which is printed six times yearly, is distributed in a number of Barnes & Noble stores nationally, as well as other retailers. In Lexington, you can find issues, which cost $6.95, at Barnes & Noble, The Morris Book Shop and Finderskeepers Market.

Learn more at Facebook.com/wearefolk.

WDKY drops sub-channel

Fox affiliate WDKY (Channel 56) has dropped the syndicated music channel theCoolTV that aired on its digital sub- channel. WDKY general manager Michael Brickey said the station has no plans to replace it with a different digital sub- channel.

Comings and goings

■ WLEX reporter Adam Baker has left the station to take a position with the Clermont County (Ohio) Public Library near Cincinnati. Baker had also served as president of the Bluegrass professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

■ WKYT reporter Gabriel Roxas is leaving the station to join ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento, Calif. Roxas, who began at WKYT in 2010, graduated from the University of Southern California.

■ WLEX has hired Ian Oliver as a weekend meteorologist, replacing Mat Ortiz, who left the TV news business to return to Memphis. Oliver most recently worked at WCAX in Burlington, Vt.

■ ABC affiliate WTVQ (Channel 36) has hired Aaron Adelson as a reporter. Adelson comes to the station from KCAU in Sioux City, Iowa, and replaces Michelle Ashworth, who left earlier this year.

Adelson will also serve as producer and host of the The Dean Hood EKU Football Show. That show was previously hosted by reporter Greg Stotelmyer, who left the station after being unable to reach agreement on a new contract.

■ WTVQ has promoted Amanda Stevenson from assignment manager to general assignment reporter. Stevenson swapped positions with Jonathan Burton, who joined the station earlier this year.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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