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Published: Friday, 2/9/2007

Channel 24 GM plans to keep weekend news

If you've been watching WNWO-TV, Channel 24, over the last three months, you had better have a station roster handy.

You'll need it to keep track of all the moves and new faces at the station.

As you might imagine, the rumor mill has been working overtime at the NBC affiliate.

In mid-November, Jennifer Stacy was demoted as co-anchor of the evening newscasts, and traded positions with morning anchor, Shenikwa Stratford.

Stratford is the first African-American woman to serve as a primary anchor in Toledo.

Lipps Lipps
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Stacy served as morning anchor for only a month before leaving to become the health reporter at CBS' WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Fla.

Also in mid-December, the station's other morning anchor, Tom Bosco, quit when his wife accepted a job at Ohio University.

A week later, Channel 24 received more bad news as its evening newscasts slipped to last place in a four-station market, getting passed in total viewers by WUPW-TV, Channel 36.

If things weren't bad enough, two weeks ago longtime sports director Jim Tichy told The Blade he's retiring this summer. His likely replacement is weekend sports anchor/reporter Eric Haubert.

As for Tichy's impending departure, general manager Rick Lipps said: "It's a big loss for us. I hope Jim doesn't go away for good. I hope he still makes plenty of appearances on our station."

Tichy, Bosco, and Stacy had a combined five decades of experience at WNWO, led by Tichy's 35 years.

That's hard to replace, especially when Tichy and chief meteorologist Bill Spencer are the station's most recognizable faces.

The only other constant in Channel 24's game of musical anchors has been Jim Blue.

There has been rampant speculation the Barrington Broadcasting station might do away with its weekend newscasts, and focus only on events in Lucas County. Lipps called those rumors hearsay.

"If anything, we're going to expand," he said. "We are not doing away with anything. Our demise has been greatly exaggerated."

Lipps admits that 80 percent of his station's viewers are within a 15-to-20-mile radius of Toledo, which he considers the primary coverage area.

Anna Kooiman has taken over as a morning anchor, replacing Stacy. Lipps hopes to eventually pair her with Norm Van Ness, the morning meteorologist, who will do some additional news and features. Lipps also still must hire a news director.

In May, Lipps will be forced to shuffle his anchor rotation again during the sweeps period.

Stratford, married to University of Toledo assistant football coach Jon Carr, is six months pregnant with her first child, a girl.

"I'm due the third week of May, but I plan to work up until I deliver," she said.

Stratford then hopes to take 8-12 weeks off, meaning she won't be back on the air until late summer or early fall.

In other news:

•Jennifer Jarrell has been hired as a general assignment reporter at WTVG-TV, Channel 13. She has served as a reporter and fill-in anchor since September of last year at Fox's WSJV-TV in South Bend/Elkhart, Ind.

•Alexis Means has taken over the crime and courts beat at Channel 13, replacing Erica Hurtt. Means has been with the ABC affiliate since 2001.



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