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Published: Friday, 4/20/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

TV news merger moving forward

Viewers of Channels 11, 36 to see changes starting this weekend


The sign is already there: "Toledo News Now."

That's the slogan for the new combined newsroom product of WTOL-TV, Channel 11, and WUPW-TV, Channel 36, as part of the FCC-approved shared services agreement.

Now we're waiting for merger confirmation of the stations' news operations.

That should become official late today with the expected finalized agreement between American Spirit Media, the new owner of WUPW, and Raycom Media, owners and operators of WTOL. Under terms of the deal, WTOL will handle WUPW's news programming. Management and sales personnel from the Fox affiliate have also moved into the Channel 11 building, located at 730 N. Summit St., but will remain separate from their WTOL counterparts.

Fox news anchor-executive producer Shaun Hegarty will be departing WUPW for WTVG-TV, Channel 13, where he will be an investigative reporter. Fox news anchor-executive producer Shaun Hegarty will be departing WUPW for WTVG-TV, Channel 13, where he will be an investigative reporter.
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Toledo viewers can expect a new look this weekend and beginning Monday to the Fox newscasts, with a mix of on-air talent from both stations -- including WUPW reporters Jennifer Steck and Nicole Collier -- for the combined six evening newscasts: 5 to 5:30, 5:30 to 6, 6 to 6:30, and 11 to 11:30 on WTOL, and 6:30 to 7, and 10 to 11 p.m. on WUPW.

Calls to WTOL management and Thomas Henson, the head of American Spirit Media, were not returned. Channel 11 news director C.J. Hoyt declined to comment for the story.

One of the big changes that can be reported is the departure of Fox news anchor-executive producer Shaun Hegarty, who will be moving to WTVG when the deal is official. Hegarty will work as an investigative reporter. Three other WUPW newsroom personnel were hired by WTVG: Fox reporter Heather Miller will become an assignment manager, Brian Krupp, a 10 p.m. news producer, will become a morning producer at WTVG, and Kristi Leigh, a part-time reporter at Channel 36, will also serve as a part-time reporter at Channel 13.

"I'm excited about the future at Dorr Street on Channel 13," Hegarty said. "I think it's a really good opportunity. ... We have a good group of people and I'm excited about moving forward."

Being a full-time investigative reporter is also something new for Hegarty.

"It's a new challenge for me. There will be more digging into where the money goes, where the money is spent, and where the money is wasted. Wherever those places intersect I'll be looking."

WTVG news director Brian Trauring confirmed the hiring of Hegarty, saying, "we are very pleased to have someone with his experience level."

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

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