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Published: Monday, 6/9/2003

C.J. Beutien at WTOL for decade

C.J. Beutien's road to Toledo included stops in Carbondale, Ill.; Duluth, Minn.; Paducah, Ky.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Memphis; Chattanooga (again), and Evansville, Ind.

No doubt other TV news types in Toledo can relate to his zig-zag journey, which took 17 years. It's all part of “moving” up the career ladder.

Little did Beutien know on June 14, 1993 -- his first day as news director at WTOL-TV, Channel 11 -- that he'd have such a lengthy stay in Toledo. Not only did he aspire to work in a management position in a larger market, but he knew that nationally the average tenure for a news director is only two years.

When Beutien arrived, WTOL's primary anchors were Jeff Heitz and Marilou Johanek (news), Charlie Umpenhour (weather), and Orris Tabner (sports). Three years later, only Heitz remained.

C.J. Beutien: stays put C.J. Beutien: stays put
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When Heitz retired in 2001, WTOL's 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts were anchored by these Beutien recruits: news anchors Chrys Peterson (hired in 1994) and Bill Hormann (2000); chief meteorologist Robert Shiels (1994); and sports director Dan Cummins (promoted from weekend sports anchor in 1996). That lineup changed in January, when Terry Thill replaced Hormann.

WTOL had the No. 1-rated newscast when Beutien arrived and he has kept it No. 1, which is no small feat. It's been said that keeping a station No. 1 is harder than becoming No. 1.

“I think one of C.J.'s biggest strengths is his eye for talent,” Peterson said. “He has a real knack for spotting potential in people and helping to develop it. It's not just the people you see on the air either -- it's producers, photographers, people behind the scenes.”

WTOL has 38 full-time news employees, and Beutien -- a former anchor and reporter -- hired 30 of them.

Beutien's responsibilities go far beyond hiring personnel. He likened his job to that of an architect, adding that he “loves to juggle 12 projects at a time.”

“This job has always been challenging. It's always kept my interest,” he said. “I bore easily, so I've always got to be doing something. When you work hard and have a lot of projects, the time flies. It doesn't seem like 10 years; it seems like four.”

Beutien, 48, said the CBS affiliate's parent company, Liberty, is a big reason why he's content in Market No. 68. (Liberty owns 15 stations. Toledo is its second-biggest market, behind Louisville.)

BACK IN THE GAME: Former WNWO-TV, Channel 24, anchor/reporter Dave Hecht is returning to TV news ... but in Tucson, Ariz. Hecht, who spent the past eight months as marketing director for Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park, is leaving Wednesday for a job with KGUN. He will serve as a weathercaster on weekends and a news reporter weekdays.

TV RATINGS: Results of Nielsen Media Research's “May sweeps” are expected to arrive at local stations this week.



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