Starting in March, NBC6 will have a new executive producer by the name Jose Suarez. He comes from Toledo, Ohio where he was the News Director for Fox affiliate WUPW.
With him chances are the days of slow paced, calm NBC6 are probably over. If you thought WFOR looked and copied WSVN soon you probably won’t recognize WTVJ. His 3 year stint at WUPW has been an interesting one to say the least. As the station’s News Director he made the station devote two and a half hours of commercial free “breaking news” coverage of a puppy trapped in a six inch diameter pipe. Insiders tell me that Suarez is known to be a very aggressive and very sensational guy so it won’t be huge stretch saying look for a 7-ized NBC6 very soon.
Thanks to one of my regular insiders for the heads up on this news
Suarez brought creativity and innovation to Channel 36
Jose Suarez arrived in 2001 as the youngest news director in the Toledo television market. He will leave next month as the one with the longest current tenure.
Suarez, 33, is heading home to Miami. He has been hired as an executive producer at WTVJ-TV.
His time at WUPW-TV, Channel 36, has been anything but ordinary. As he put it, “It’s been an action-packed 31/2 years.”
Snapshots from 2001: 1. WUPW expanded its 10 p.m. newscast from 30 minutes to an hour; 2. The station devoted 2 hours, 38 minutes of live, commercial-free coverage to the story of a puppy that fell down a six-inch-diameter pipe.
From 2002: 1. WUPW received a Regional Emmy for best newscast, a shocking victory over its Toledo rivals; 2. Suarez was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. (After eight months of treatment, doctors declared him cancer-free.)
From 2003: 1. WUPW won its second consecutive Regional Emmy for best newscast; 2. News anchor Ryan Serber was diagnosed with a lime-size brain tumor. (Serber was off the air for 14 months before returning as a reporter; he eventually quit because he was convinced he would not get the opportunity to anchor again.)
From 2004: 1. The Fox affiliate launched the market’s first 4 p.m. newscast; 2. The station brought some comic relief to the ongoing local “weather war” with spoof promos featuring a nonexistent radar, the “Super Duper Whoppler Dopplar.”
Suarez will stay at WUPW through the current ratings period, which ends March 2, and start at NBC-owned WTVJ five days later.
“My time in Toledo has been great,” he said. “I went through a lot personally; I went through a lot professionally. It’s very hard for me to leave, but how do you turn your back on a great opportunity?”
WUPW general manager Ray Maselli praised Suarez for advancing the station’s news operation.
“His arrival here came at a time when his specific abilities were needed,” Maselli said. “He brought us a great deal of creativity and innovation.”
Maselli said he hopes to have a new newsroom manager in place before the end of April.
Meanwhile, Suarez will be joining “a station I grew up watching” and working with some of the same people who, unbeknownst to them, “inspired me” to get into TV news.
KEY POSITION: Brian Olson is the new market manager for the eight Cumulus-owned radio stations in the area, including top-rated WKKO-FM (99.9) and WRQN-FM (93.5). He replaces Kathy Stinehour, who resigned in December. Olson, who started last week, previously was the market manager for Cumulus’ four-station cluster in Flint, Mich.
SPORTS MOVES: WNWO-TV, Channel 24, has hired Brian Ojima as a sports reporter. He previously worked at KSPR-TV in Springfield, Mo.
WTVG-TV, Channel 13, is advertising for a sports reporter. Jason Brown, who started in November, is being let out of his contract, according to assistant news director Anthony Knopps, but there is no firm departure date.
Russ Lemmon writes two columns per week for The Blade. His Behind The News column appears on Sundays. His column on the local media appears on Mondays.
» E-mail him at email@example.com or call (419) 724-6122.
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