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Published: Monday, 1/31/2005

Oehler excited about new role on Channel 13's 'I-Team'

As a general assignment reporter for WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Sarah Oehler was accustomed to doing three live shots a day one each during the 5, 6, and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Now, as the face of the station s I-Team franchise, she will be trading quantity for quality.

I love going live it s exciting but I m ready to flush out some bigger pieces, she said. This will give me the opportunity to do more with the stories I cover on a day-to-day basis.

Sarah Oehler: She replaces Jason Knowles as WTVG's "I-Team" reporter. Sarah Oehler: She replaces Jason Knowles as WTVG's "I-Team" reporter.

Oehler, 27, fills a position that has been vacant since June, when Jason Knowles left for a job as special projects producer at sister station WLS-TV in Chicago.

What will be the biggest difference for Oehler in her transition from story-of-the-day reporting to investigative pieces? Knowles has been there, done that.

Like I did, Sarah will become a tougher reporter, he said. Despite what some of the spokespeople and officials may eventually think of her, she ll have to be the person in the market that viewers count on to drill for the truth.

No problem, says Oehler.

I dig and dig, she said. I like to look deeper [into a story] that kind of thing gets me going.

Oehler has been at WTVG for only four months, but news director Brian Trauring says, Sarah is making a big impression on Toledo viewers.

She digs out stories that others miss, Trauring said. She s the perfect person to continue to break important investigative stories that have distinguished [our station from the competition].

It s no coincidence that WTVG s I-Team is returning now, in a formal way, after a seven-month break. (Jeff Smith has been doing Knowles signature feature, Restaurant Report Card, on an interim basis.) Nielsen Media Research s February sweeps will begin Thursday. In November, WTOL-TV, Channel 11, dominated WTVG in four of the five time slots in which their newscasts go head-to-head.

Oehler said she is particularly interested in follow-the-money stories involving taxpayer dollars and stories about safety issues, such as parents protecting their children from online predators. She described her reporting style as strong and straightforward.

OUT FRONT: WUPW-TV, Channel 36, which has kept a low profile since the election, led the competition on two important stories last week Tuesday, it was the only station to broadcast Toledo Mayor Jack Ford s State of the City speech; Wednesday, it was the first to break into regular programming to report the shooting at the Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant.

TV IMPORT: Dennard Summers, a graduate of Libbey High School, has brought the Pittsburgh-based Steel City Video Mix to Toledo. Summers is the producer of the one-hour music show, which runs on Buckeye CableSystem s community channel (Channel 69) at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

ON HOLD: The debut of WTOL s local all-weather channel, originally scheduled for tomorrow, has been delayed until next Monday, according to news director Mitch Jacob.

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