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Published: 9/16/2002

Some anchors take fast lane to big markets

Pfanner: Logical move Pfanner: Logical move
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If you were on Jeopardy, would this one stump you?

In the Toledo metropolitan area, more people watch late-night newscasts (10/11 p.m.) on this day than any other.

Doing my best Alex Trebek imitation, I posed this “answer” to 10 people. None of them got it right -- and not because they didn't respond in the form of a question.

No one said Sunday.

According to the latest Toledo television ratings from Nielsen Media Research, an average of 184,000 people watch late-night news on Sunday. Next is Thursday (175,000), followed by Wednesday (161,000) and Monday (160,000).

Given these numbers, you wouldn't think that weekend news anchors would toil in relative obscurity. But they do, at least when compared to their weekday counterparts. Most readers of this column probably have an interest in television news and, therefore, could name at least six of the eight weekday news anchors in Toledo. But could you name the Sunday anchors at the four stations?

That's kind of a trick question. Only one station -- WUPW-TV, Channel 36 -- has the same Sunday anchor (Joy Lepola) as it did a month ago. In late August, WTVG-TV, Channel 13, lost Sarah Bloomquist to its sister station in Philadelphia. At WTOL-TV, Channel 11, Shelby Croft quit Sept. 1 and moved to Arizona. WNWO-TV, Channel 24, has had multiple Sunday anchors during the past three months.

WTOL has filled its weekend anchor slot with Rachel Pfanner, who is scheduled to make her debut on Saturday. (WTVG and WNWO are at least a few weeks away from filling their openings.)

Pfanner, 29, is making a leap in market size from No. 153 (Salisbury, Md.) to No. 68 (Toledo). This is a logical career move, because she has a 10-year goal of anchoring in a Top 20 market. Few stations will hire a main anchor under 30, so ambitious types often take the weekend route to larger markets.

WTOL news director C.J. Beutien said about 150 people applied for the weekend opening. “It is an extremely important position,” he said. “They are, in many cases, one heartbeat away from the main anchor desk. They fill in when the main anchors are away and, hopefully, they are the best or one of the best reporters on your staff.”

Pfanner will be a reporter three days per week. Her focus will be education.

How does she see the role of weekend anchor? “You're the link [in the newsroom] between Friday and Monday,” she said. “Whether a festival, parade, murder, a flood, or whatever, it's your job to impart that information to the staff on Monday. You help set up a game plan for the week.”

CO-WORKERS AGAIN: ProMedica has hired two people with WNWO ties for public relations positions. Former anchor Nora Murray is corporate director of system communications, while Jenny Goldberg starts Sept. 24 as corporate manager of media relations.

Murray's last day on the air was Aug. 7. Goldberg replaced Murray as co-anchor of the station's morning newscast in October and served as a health reporter. Tomorrow will be her final day at the station.

NEW MORNING SHOW: WTWR-FM (98.3) has replaced the long-running “Marino in the Morning” with “Ben Coburn's Morning Experience.” Tevis Marcum, who was Mike Marino's on-air partner for six-plus years, was fired by the station on Aug. 30. “They say you're nobody in this business until you've been fired,” Marcum said. “So I must really be somebody - I've been fired twice.”

PROMOTION: Christa Quinn has been named WTVG's weekend weathercaster. She had been doing the job on an interim basis since Joe Thomas resigned in April.



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