The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 9, 2008

WJAC to roll out new broadcasts on Monday

A new look for the region’s only 10 p.m. television news broadcast will be rolled out Monday.

WJAC, an NBC affiliate, will take over production of FOX affiliate WWCP’s evening news next week. Familiar faces that have filled that slot for years will be gone, replaced by faces more recognizable to regular WJAC viewers.

Longtime anchors Jim Penna and Sherry Stalley will be replaced by Katie Sabatino. Travis Koshko, WWCP’s chef meteorologist, will give way to Tony Martin, and Tim Rigby will deliver sports news in lieu of Greg Whitmer.

“We’re very excited,” said Pam Dennis, news director at WJAC. “It’s always wonderful to be able to venture out into another venue.

“I’m very honored as the news director, and we’re all really honored as a news team that we have been entrusted with this broadcast. We really want to make sure the 10 p.m. news is delivered at the same level of excellence as we do our 11 or 6 or 5 p.m. news shows.”

The 10 p.m. show will end each night at 10:35. That allows only 25 minutes for the production and on-air crew at WJAC to produce its own 11 p.m. news, which, beginning Monday, will be simulcast on ABC affiliate WATM.

Dennis said she doesn’t anticipate problems with the added workload.

“We spend the entire day working toward the next broadcast,” she said, “so the gears are already flowing, and to add one more show is not a big deal because we’re already in gear.”

Peak Media of Pennsylvania, which owns WWCP and WATM in Richland Township, announced in December that it would begin importing its news products from WJAC. The decision – made because the Richland newscasts were losing money – cut about 15 jobs.

Dennis said this week that at least one employee from WWCP and WATM has been added to her staff, but none of the FOX 8 or ABC 23 on-air talent has been offered a job. Last month, WJAC General Manager Dick Schrott said the move would create three news jobs at WJAC in addition to two existing openings.

Final shows

The news team at sister stations FOX 8, or WWCP, and ABC 23, WATM, are saying their final goodbyes:

• The last full-cast show for WWCP will be at 10 p.m. Friday. The final 10 p.m. broadcast produced by FOX 8, anchored by Kate O’Donovan, will be Sunday.

• ABC 23’s last full-cast show will be 11 p.m. Friday. The final WATM-produced news, with Sean Dreher, will be Sunday.

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