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WKYT moving its digital channel

Lexington CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27) will be changing its digital channel soon.

The station has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to change from a VHF channel to UHF. The station previously was broadcast in the UHF range and found that when the FCC ordered it to switch to VHF that some viewers with UHF-only antennas had trouble picking it up.

Also, the VHF signal "doesn't travel as well as the UHF signal does," said Mike Kanarek, WKYT's vice president of operations.

"It's much more susceptible to interference like terrain, building construction, weather or something as simple as electrical wires inside your house," he said.

Fox affiliate WDKY (Channel 56) also was moved from UHF to VHF and successfully petitioned to be changed back. That switch occurred last year at the end of the nationwide switch from analog to digital television.

WKYT plans to make the change in the next few months and announce it with a publicity campaign.

Viewers who receive television over the air will need to rescan their TVs to pick up WKYT.

"It's a simple step," Kanarek said. "Just hit the rescan button on your TV, and all of the problems you've had are gone."

Cable and satellite TV users will not be affected.

Comings and goings

■ Chris Lupien, a longtime reporter at NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18), has left the station. His wife and former WLEX reporter and anchor Heather Higdon lost her job at Lexmark International as part of a restructuring but quickly found a new position at Chiquita in Cincinnati.

Lupien decided to leave WLEX rather than make the commute, news director Bruce Carter said.

"We're going to miss Chris," Carter said. "He was a really hard-working employee."

■ ABC affiliate WTVQ (Channel 36) has hired a replacement for chief meteorologist Jon James, who left the station in December. Neither the station nor James has commented on the reason for his departure.

Jennifer Schack will start in mid-March. She now works as a weekend meteorologist at a station in Dallas. A Kentucky native, she graduated from Thomas More College in Crestview Hills in Northern Kentucky.

■ WLEX morning anchor Dia Davidson gave birth to her first child, daughter Rania, on Jan. 19. Carter estimated she'll be back at the station in April.

■ WKYT has hired Gabriel Roxas to fill the reporting vacancy created by Miranda Combs leaving to take a job at the public relations firm Preston-Osborne. Roxas comes to the station after two years reporting at WPSD in Paducah.

■ WTVQ has hired Jacqueline Sprague to fill the reporting vacancy left by Carla Wade, who took a job in her home state of Oklahoma. Sprague previously worked at Cincinnati's Fox affiliate.

Super Bowl promo

With the audience of the Super Bowl watching, WKYT unveiled a new promo touting its First Alert Defender weather radar.

In a nod to the classic game show Press Your Luck!, a contestant opted to press her luck for sunny days but wound up with a whammy, or in this case, a "stormy."

"Don't rely on luck," the promo continued. "Rely on Kentucky's only million-watt Doppler radar."

The spot which aired Super Bowl Sunday was worth thousands of dollars, said news director Robert Thomas.

"That's why we put a priority on wanting to develop something creative and memorable," he said.

WLEX perspective on Leno

WLEX general manager Pat Dalbey said recently that he's glad NBC has resolved the debacle surrounding talk show hosts Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.

"It was poorly handled," he said of the fracas surrounding the very public negotiations of Leno returning to late night.

Leno's prime-time show, he said, was "an experiment that was costly for a lot of NBC affiliates. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad for us."

Dalbey said he welcomes the return to traditional programming, "and I think we've got a more positive future going forward."

Stein to rebut Conway

WTVQ now is running counterpoints to commentaries by local conservative radio host Leland Conway.

State Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, is offering rebuttals to Conway's viewpoints on Wednesdays and Fridays during WTVQ's 6 p.m. newscast, general manager Chris Aldridge said. Conway's commentaries run during the station's newscasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Viewers are invited to e-mail or call with feedback, which is read on-air during the 11 p.m. newscasts on those nights.

KET pledge drive results

During its most recent pledge drive in December, Kentucky Educational Television raised $435,711.

"It's so encouraging to be reminded that Kentuckians highly value KET's services and programming," said spokesman Tim Bischoff.

WEKU in Frankfort

Public radio station WEKU, based at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, announced recently that it's now available in Frankfort on 106.7 FM.

The station has a broadcast radius of about 15 miles around the state capital.

Kernel's iPhone apps

The Kentucky Kernel, the daily student newspaper at the University of Kentucky, has launched two free applications on Apple's iPhone.

The applications — Kernel Mobile and Blue Nation Mobile — offer content from the staff, breaking news, photos and videos. The latter focuses on UK sports.

The programs are the first iPhone apps from a daily newspaper in Kentucky, the Kernel said. The staff is developing similar applications for the Android Market.

Photographer awards

WKYT photographer John Wilson was named 2010 Sports Photographer of the Year recently by the Kentucky News Photographers Association. He also won first-place awards in general sports and sports highlights categories.

Jon Smith of WLEX won first place in a spot news category.

As previously reported, the Herald-Leader's Charles Bertram was named photographer of the year. The Herald-Leader's photography staff was named newspaper staff of the year for papers with a circulation of more than 25,000.

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