One of Lexington's media couples is signing off the air. Megan Skaggs, evening co-anchor at ABC affiliate WTVQ (Channel 36), and her husband, Dave Spencer, a reporter at CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27), are moving to Michigan to be closer to their families.
The couple is moving to Grand Rapids, where Spencer has taken a job as a reporter for the Fox affiliate.
Skaggs took over the evening co-anchor position at WTVQ in October 2008 after serving as a reporter there during the previous year. She had been off recently because of the birth of the couple's first child, Mason.
"Megan is extremely talented and an outstanding person to be around," said WTVQ News Director Doug Hogan. "We're going to miss her but wish her all the best."
WTVQ is considering internal and external candidates for the vacant position. When Skaggs was named to the spot in 2008, the station held on-air auditions for internal candidates. Hogan said he does not anticipate doing that during this search.
In the meantime, Christine Winter will continue to co-anchor the early evening news with Tom Kenny as she had been doing while Skaggs was on maternity leave. Kenny will solo anchor the 11 p.m. newscast, Hogan said.
Meanwhile, WKYT is searching for a replacement for Spencer, who had worked there since March 2007.
"While we are sad to see Dave go, we are happy for him and Megan as they return home to Michigan," said WKYT News Director Robert Thomas. "Dave did an outstanding job at WKYT, and I'm sure he will do the same in Grand Rapids."
Spencer leaves for Louisville
WTVQ has also seen another departure recently as sports director Kent Spencer has taken a position as the main sports anchor at Louisville's WHAS.
"Kent did a wonderful job for us," Hogan said. "He'll be missed, but it's a tremendous opportunity for him."
WTVQ has promoted sports reporter Dan Rieffer to Spencer's position and also hired Alex Risen, a reporter from WYMT in Hazard, for Rieffer's role.
The Oz effect
WTVQ has shifted around its early evening news. The station is now airing a 5 p.m. newscast instead of one at 5:30 p.m. The reason: Dr. Oz.
After Oprah Winfrey's retirement, the station moved the doctor's talk show to 4 p.m., and "we feel that will give us an exceptional lead-in audience for a 5 p.m. newscast," Hogan said.
Celebrity show Extra, which aired at 5 p.m., now airs at 5:30 p.m.
Hogan said the station's 5 p.m. newscast is being targeted to appeal to the strong female viewership of Dr. Oz.
"We're looking at segments about your health and your money and making it more interactive with social media," he said.
To focus more on its revised 5 p.m. offering, the station has stopped a 10 p.m. newscast on its MyNetworkTV affiliate that began in 2009.
Co-host named for Kentucky Sports TV
Kentucky Sports TV on Insight Communications' cn|2 channel has a new co-host. Leslie Neeley was chosen from hundreds who tried out for the spot on the show with KentuckySportsRadio.com founder Matt Jones.
Neeley, a former University of Kentucky student reporter and Richmond native, edged out other finalists Ron Chilton, Mary Kurapkat, Chris Morris and Jason Thompson. Nearly 12,000 votes were cast by viewers during the contest.
Neeley will co-host the show once a week over the next several months.
Nelson replaces Patrick at Sun
Longtime regional newspaper manager Randy Patrick was recently let go from the Winchester Sun.
Patrick, who was managing editor at the Sun since 2005, previously worked at the Jessamine Journal dating to the mid-1990s. Both are owned by Schurz Communications, which also owns The Advocate-Messenger in Danville and The Interior Journal in Stanford.
Replacing Patrick in supervising the Sun newsroom is John Nelson, who led newsroom operations at The Advocate-Messenger and will continue to do so, said Scott Schurz Jr., who leads the group of papers.
"We're putting our resources into feet on the street, whether they be content producers or advertising representatives, and consolidating management," Schurz said. "John has a proven track record developing staff and really delivering great newspapers."
Patrick said he's looking for another journalism job but is also considering other fields to stay in the area.
Ringing the bell for Salvation Army
NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) teamed up recently with Cumulus radio stations locally to promote the "Kettle Drive to Keep Hope Alive" to support the Salvation Army of Central Kentucky.
The event at Fayette Mall and donations made afterward raised more than $150,000 for the organization, which has faced numerous funding cuts from governments and other sources in recent months, said the Salvation Army's Maj. Debra Ashcraft.
"We're very grateful to LEX 18 and the community for this giant step toward where we really need to be," she said, noting people can donate online at Salvationarmylex.org.