After advertising nationally for a primary anchor, WUPW-TV, Channel 36, decided to go the internal route.
Karl Rundgren, who spent 10 months as a fill-in anchor, has been promoted to co-anchor of the Fox affiliate's weekday newscasts.
He takes over a position held for nearly four years by Ryan Serber, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2003. Serber returned to the air in May, as a reporter, but he quit last month after it became clear he wasn't going to anchor again.
Rundgren, 27, decided to pursue the job after he found out that the station was advertising for a new anchor. Having served as a fill-in since November, he believed he was ready for the next step.
"I needed a lot of polish [in the early going]," he said. "But I went from being apprehensive to feeling confident that I could do this -- and do it well."
He credits Laura Emerson, the co-anchor at 4 and 10 p.m., for helping to make the transition from reporter easier than expected. Unlike newscasts on other Toledo stations, WUPW anchors refrain from chit-chat and present the news in rapid-fire fashion.
"There is no room for mistakes," he said. "She carried me through the first couple of months."
WUPW general manager Ray Maselli said Rundgren "has proven himself over the last several months" and, long-term, was the best fit for the job.
"Karl is very committed to Toledo," Maselli said. "He likes it here very much and wants to be involved in the community."
Rundgren has been at WUPW for 18 months. His first two career stops were in Texas, at San Angelo's KACB and Abeline's KRBC. (Texas trivia: at KACB, he was first person hired by then-news director Jose Suarez, who now holds the same position at WUPW; at KRBC, one of his co-workers was Jeff George, now WUPW's chief meteorologist.)
MISSING IN ACTION: WTOL-TV, Channel 11, was the only local station to fail the "consistency test" for recent campaign visits by President Bush (Aug. 28 in Perrysburg) and Sen. John Kerry (Tuesday in Toledo). WTOL carried the President's speech at Fort Meigs, but it had only a two-minute "special report" for the challenger's appearance at the Chester J. Zablocki Senior Center.
WTOL news director Mitch Jacob said he made the decision to not cover Mr. Kerry's appearance live. His rationale: Mr. Bush spoke during a regularly scheduled news time (6 p.m.) and Mr. Kerry didn't (3 p.m.).
WTVG-TV, Channel 13, and WNWO-TV, Channel 24, had extensive live coverage of each appearance; WUPW stayed with regularly scheduled programming both times.
RADIO RATINGS: Arbitron's 12-week summer ratings period will wrap up on Wednesday. The fall survey, also 12 weeks, starts the following day.
MISCALCULATION: In this space two weeks ago I incorrectly stated that former WTOL anchor Jeff Heitz was about to celebrate his 60th birthday. Instead, he turned 61 on Sept. 11. "It almost cost me the senior discount" at a Lambertville grocery store, he quipped.
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