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Published: Monday, 4/14/2003

WTVG, WNWO invest in new looks

With arguably the most important ratings period of the year fast approaching, two Toledo television stations are going the state-of-the-art route in making changes to their newscasts.

WTVG-TV, Channel 13, will undergo a complete makeover. The ABC-owned station is getting a new set, its first in nearly 10 years and the first in the market since 2000.

Based on artist renderings, WTVG's set will be distinctly different from those of its three competitors.

“It's a stunning and impressive news tool the likes of which Toledo hasn't seen, at least in the 20 years I've been here,” WTVG news anchor Diane Larson said. “I think it's more user-friendly for us and way more viewer-friendly. But more than anything, it's beautiful new packaging for the same quality news product.”

The station hopes to unveil it a week from today, or three days before the start of May sweeps (April 24 to May 21).

WTVG news director Brian Trauring said: “[The new set] will enhance our presentation by giving us flexibility and using new techniques. There are electronic features like rear-projection and plasma screens that should help us present information clearly and quickly.”

WNWO-TV, Channel 24, has made a substantial investment in its weathercasts. The NBC affiliate recently introduced graphics that, according to chief meteorologist Bill Spencer, “will allow for more fun and accuracy in our weather shows, with a major push toward easy-to-understand forecasts and additional marine data for boaters.”

Also, the station is hoping for at least a partial startup of its “Pin Point Storm Tracker” radar -- which allows for street-level mapping of a severe storm -- before the end of the month.

“By far, it's the most state-of-the-art [weather] system in Toledo,” WNWO news director Lou Hebert said.

Spencer said WNWO has shown a “major commitment to weather” during the past year. He added that the station's new “storm-chasing van” -- which was pressed into action during the Nov. 10 tornadoes -- is now fully equipped.

GOOD NEWS: WUPW-TV, Channel 36, news director Jose Suarez, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in August, reports he is now cancer-free.

“The doctor said I'm all clear,” said Suarez, who maintained a full-time work schedule while undergoing chemotherapy. “I cried like a baby when I found out.”

HARDWARE: WTOL-TV, Channel 11, has been named a regional winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence in broadcast news. The award is given by the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

CARTY UPDATE: WTVG has extended its agreement with commentator Carty Finkbeiner for another year. Finkbeiner, a former two-term mayor of Toledo, also hosts a weekly public-affairs program.

COMING HOME: WNWO has hired Perrysburg native Paul Stelzer as a photographer/reporter. He worked the past five years in Bismarck, N.D.

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