Steve France set the tone for his tenure as news director at WUPW-TV, Channel 36, before he was even offered the job.
He spent three weeks as the Fox affiliate s interim news director, and during that time he issued three one-day suspensions to newsroom employees.
That s as many as the previous news director, Jose Suarez, handed out in his 3 years at the station.
France had the interim tag removed March 24. Since then, he has issued one suspension.
Despite the contrast in management styles, news reporter Heather Miller says the transition has been very smooth because we have always looked at Steve as a manager in the newsroom. Before his promotion, France had been the assignment manager and chief photographer for nearly four years.
Miller equates the suspensions to tough love from France. He has been straightforward in spelling out rules for the newsroom, she said.
It s the right approach. He s not coming in swinging a big iron club, Miller said. The suspensions weren t unreasonable. I mean, how often do people get punished and you feel good about it?
WUPW, which won back-to-back Regional Emmys for best newscast under Suarez s leadership, has the smallest news budget in the market. It s no coincidence, then, that newsroom turnover is a constant. Among reporters, Miller has been there the longest 16 months.
Young reporters tend to think of Toledo as a stepping stone in their careers, and France is fine with that. He relishes the opportunity to help groom them for jobs in bigger markets.
If I can teach them to be all they can be while they re here, then so be it, he said.
WUPW general manager Ray Maselli said France is very organized and a superb planner.
The job of news director entails quite a bit of administrative work, which admittedly is not his strength. I m not a paper-pusher, France said. I m a hands-on guy.
While a rookie news director, France has worked in the market longer than any of his peers. He started as a part-time editor at WTOL-TV, Channel 11, in 1987.
CHANGES AT K-100: WKKO-FM (99.9) has added Amy Davis to its on-air staff. She ll do a 10 a.m.-to-1 p.m. shift weekdays, with longtime middays host Bill Manders following from 1 to 3 p.m. Davis previously worked 13 years at Chicago s top-rated country station, WUSN-FM.
Meanwhile, WKKO s No. 1-ranked morning show, hosted by Gary Shores and Harvey J. Steele, moves its starting time up by a half-hour, to 5, beginning today.
POSITION OPEN: WRWK-FM (106.5) is advertising nationally for a middays host. Alyssa Harris known to listeners as Skylar has left the station for a job with a nonprofit organization in Colorado, according to Cumulus operations manager Tim Roberts.
PHILLY PIPELINE: WTVG-TV, Channel 13, is losing its fourth employee since 2002 to its sister station in Philadelphia, WPVI-TV. Nick Paine, producer of WTVG s 6 p.m. newscast, will be Pennsylvania-bound after the May ratings period.
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