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Published: Monday, 8/11/2003

Dawn duty is just fine with Taylor

Jim Taylor's on-air workload has tripled in the 10 years he has anchored the morning newscast on WTOL-TV, Channel 11.

Not that he's complaining. If you're going to get up at 3:30 a.m., you might as well anchor a 90-minute newscast rather than one that lasts just a half-hour.

Since joining WTOL on Aug. 9, 1993, Taylor has seen its morning newscast go from 30 minutes (with a 6:30 start time), to an hour (starting at 6), to 90 minutes (5:30). And he's also seen the audience steadily grow -- from 22,000 viewers in 1993 to 33,000 today.

Taylor: WTOL veteran Taylor: WTOL veteran

When he leaves WTOL (“I will move, eventually,” he says), Taylor will own a longevity record for morning news anchors in Toledo that may never be broken. Among his current AM peers, he is the only one who has held the same position for at least six years. Meanwhile, he has had three co-anchors -- Melissa Voetsch, Shelby Croft, and Tess Rafols.

Taylor, 40, once “toyed with the idea of expressing interest” in a PM anchor job at the station, but decided AM is a better fit for him.

“I don't have to be the big cheese to be happy,” he said. “I enjoy the format [of the morning newscast], and I enjoy the freedom. I like that I can sit there with a cup of coffee and don't have to apologize for it.”

WTOL news director C.J. Beutien said he appreciates Taylor's willingness to work the early shift and added that he is “one of our strongest reporters.” Taylor often does live shots for the noon newscast.

Taylor believes morning newscasts are the most demanding, physically and otherwise, because “there's a lot you have to overcome.”

“Sometimes,” he said while breaking into a smile, “it takes a lot of makeup and a lot of coffee to overcome it.”

MOVING ON: WUPW-TV, Channel 36, reporter Dan Spehler is going from one LIN Television Corp. station to another. After three years at Toledo's Fox affiliate, he has been hired by Dayton's ABC affiliate, WDTN. Spehler had been WUPW's weekend anchor since March; that role will be filled on a temporary basis by Autumn Ziemba. (Meantime, Susan Ware will assume Ziemba's weekend weather duties.)

HEADED HOME: WNWO-TV, Channel 24, reporter LaCheryl Tucker, who was hired nine months ago, has left the station for family reasons, according to news director Lou Hebert. He said Tucker is moving to Alabama to be closer to her mother, who is ill.

NEW PATH: WTOL reporter Cherie Curry, who has been at the station nearly two years, is leaving and will attend a law school in New England, according to news director C.J. Beutien. Her final day is Friday.

FULL CIRCLE: WIOT-FM (104.7) program director Dave Rossi -- whose on-air duties include the 3-to-6 p.m. shift -- is returning to WAVF-FM in Charleston, S.C. Rossi worked at the Apex-owned station, which has an alternative format, from 1987-96.

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