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WTVQ news lineup changing

Struggling ABC affiliate WTVQ-36 is searching for a new evening anchor after its top executive said Monday it couldn't reach a new contract with Megan Newquist. Also, the station fired its news director on Monday, naming a former official with Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration as his replacement.

Newquist, who came to WTVQ in 2004, co-anchors the evening and late news with Don Hudson. Her last day with the station, which is a distant third in ratings behind WKYT and WLEX, will be Aug. 15. She could not be reached for comment on Monday night.

A search will begin soon for her replacement, said General Manager Chris Aldridge. The company will fill the shifts with existing personnel if a replacement isn't hired by that time, he said.

Senior producer Echo Gamel will fill in for fired news director Tai Takahashi until his replacement, Doug Hogan, begins work on Aug. 18.

“I just felt that the news department needed new leadership,” Aldridge said. “Obviously, our news ratings have not grown like we would like.”

Takahashi, who came to the station in 2004, called the change “just a business decision.”

Asked if more changes would come, Aldridge said the station is “continuously evaluating our news product.”

Takahashi's replacement, Hogan, has worked in television news for 14 years in addition to his five years of work for state government. His television experience includes producing roles at Cincinnati's WLWT and Bowling Green's WBKO, as well as time as news director at a station in Montgomery, Ala. In state government, he was Fletcher's communications director and also spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet.

Hogan and former Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert were sued in January 2007 by a former employee alleging discrimination and harassment. Part of the suit by Shaunee Lynch alleged she lost her job in part because of her role in calling attention to “mismanagement” and “stealing of time by her supervisor, Doug Hogan.”

The case is ongoing.

Aldridge said the station was aware of the suit and declined to comment further.