Media notebook: WEKU bolsters jazz lineup; local TV staffs see turnover

ssloan@herald-leader.comMarch 18, 2013 

Fulfilling a long-time goal, Eastern Kentucky University public radio station WEKU has significantly added jazz to the lineup on its Classic 102.1 FM station, which focuses on classical music.

The decision to add mainstream jazz music overnight came partly because the station previously aired smooth jazz before WEKU leased it in July 2011, said John Hingsbergen, WEKU's associate manager and program director.

Also, classical music already airs overnight on WEKU's main station, 88.9 FM, and that can be heard everywhere listeners can pick up 102.1 FM, he said.

"We're providing it as an alternative choice for music," he said.

"Overnight Jazz," as it's called, runs 11 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday and 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. weeknights through Friday morning. Weekend programming remains unchanged. The programming is provided by Pittsburgh-based Pubradio Jazz music service.

WEKU launched Classic 102.1 after shifting its flagship station from classical music to news and talk in 2010. The switch has garnered more listeners, as recently released ratings suggest WEKU has its largest audience ever, Hingsbergen said.

WEKU released ratings information prepared by researcher Arbitron that indicates the station had nearly 65,000 listeners weekly last fall. That's about 15,000 more listeners than last spring, according to WEKU.

"People are discovering WEKU is a place to come for news and information," Hingsbergen said. "Being an election year, we do concede that a lot of that listening may be due to an election-year spike.

"But even then, if listeners are choosing you, it's because they're thinking of this as a place to come for that information."

Hingsbergen said Classic 102.1 is also showing growth. The station's weekly audience rose from 10,000 in spring 2012 to 12,000 by fall, according to Arbitron's ratings.

Comings and goings

WTVQ: Jennifer Schack, chief meteorologist at ABC affiliate WTVQ (Channel 36), has left to join NBC affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati.

"Jennifer is originally from that area, and this was a great opportunity for her to get back home," said WTVQ general manager Chris Aldridge. "She did a terrific job, and we certainly miss her but wish her well."

Sports director Dan Rieffer also has left WTVQ, opting not to renew his contract to spend more time with his twin 4-year-old boys.

"You can't do that and be a father," he said. "You just can't."

Rieffer plans to stay in sports broadcasting in smaller projects, such as a half-hour weekly high schools sport show he will launch this fall for Fox affiliate WDKY (Channel 56).

WTVQ has promoted Alex Risen to Rieffer's position and hired Keenan Singleton as a sports reporter. He most recently worked behind the scenes at the NFL Network in Los Angeles, Aldridge said.

WLEX: NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) has made a pair of recent hires.

Maisie Insko, who will shoot video and report stories, is a Kentucky native and graduate of Union College. She interned for the station in 2011 and has also worked for WYMT in Hazard. She replaces Jeff Allen, who left in November for a station in Orlando, Fla.

WLEX has also brought on Kate Springer as a new reporter, not replacing anyone, said news director Bruce Carter. A Missouri native, Springer previously anchored a two-hour morning show for the ABC affiliate in Champaign, Ill.

The station is searching for another reporter after recent hire Katie Lange left the station. Carter declined to disclose why Lange left.

WKYT: CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27) has hired Jordan Vilines as a reporter. Vilines most recently worked as a reporter and anchor for affiliated station WYMT in Hazard.

She replaces Andy Cunningham, who has taken a job with a station in New Orleans. This was Cunningham's second stint with WKYT. He first worked for the station from 2007 to 2009 before leaving for a job in San Antonio. He returned to WKYT in 2011.

WDKY: Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of WDKY, has named Ronna Corrente as the station's general manager.

Corrente has worked for the station for 17 years, serving as general sales manager and local sales manager since 2006.

She replaces Michael Brickey, who had been general manager since 2006.

Brickey said he resigned to "pursue other opportunities." He and his wife, Tara, launched an advertising agency last year, and he plans to start a health and wellness magazine in Louisville in April.

Brickey is working with a magazine brand that's in 18 markets, including Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee, and Kansas City, Mo.

It is not affiliated with the health and wellness magazine in Lexington. Learn more at

KET raising awarenessof change in GED tests

Kentucky Educational Television is running a promotional campaign to encourage people studying for their GEDs to complete the tests before a new computer-based format debuts in 2014.

Because of the switch to the new format, scores people have received on the current version of the test will expire at the end of the year. The GED test is composed of five parts that may be taken separately, but all must be passed to receive the equivalent of a high school diploma, according to the GED website.

To learn more about KET's GED Connection test-prep system, go to

WUKY works with Eastern Ky. station

University of Kentucky public radio station WUKY-91.3 FM has strengthened its partnership with WMMT-88.7 FM, which is inside nonprofit education center Appalshop in Whitesburg.

WUKY has been airing stories by WMMT reporter Sylvia Ryerson on such topics as the fairness ordinance passed in Vicco.

"Sylvia's reports have helped enhance our coverage of Eastern Kentucky, which you really don't hear much about in the Lexington radio market," said WUKY news director Alan Lytle.

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

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