Sunday, July 18, 2004

Channel 5 news rebuilds team

Mixed media

By Jim Knippenberg
Enquirer staff writer

C.F. Payne's "Prime Time" is on the back of Reader's Digest's July edition.

Channel 5 is about to announce a major newsroom overhaul, effective Aug. 9.

• Lisa Cooney, a 17-year station veteran, moves from afternoon co-anchor to Eyewitness News 5 Today co-anchor (5-7 a.m.), a job she held from 1988 to 1998. She'll co-anchor with Todd Dykes and Kristen Cornet, a new meteorolgist hired from Lousiville.

• Four-year veteran Michelle Hopkins moves from mornings to noon anchor and a new position on the 5 and 5:30 p.m. news. "She'll be a viewer advocate," says news director Brennan Donnellan. "She'll be doing stories that answer viewers' concerns or respond to viewers' problems. We're looking for that to be the cornerstone of the 5 and 5:30 newscasts."

• Sheree Paolello, one of the station's premier reporters, will join new primary anchor Sandra Ali, co-anchoring the 5 p.m. news. Two female anchors is unique in this market, but as Donnellan says, "These are two dynamic women speaking to a predominantly female market at 5."

• Courtis Fuller, general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor, moves to primary weekend anchor at 6 and 11 p.m. He had been a primary anchor until 2001 when he left to run for mayor. He returned to the station in 2003.

• Reporter Monica Abler, on the job there since 1990, is leaving Aug. 31 for a major career change. Her plan is to become a diagnostic medical sonographer someday. "Nursing was my first career choice all along. Somehow I just ended up here. And I will be doing some freelance work once I leave because I love the work. It just won't be the daily news grind."

• Morning meteorologist Mark Massaro, a 5-year station veteran, has also resigned. His last day was Friday. His next stop is the world of financial services.

WEBN cleans up

• WEBN-FM (102.7) cleaned up when Radio & Records magazine handed out its annual Industry Achievement Awards. The rest of Cincinnati didn't fare so well.

'EBN won in all three categories in which it was nominated: Rock Station of the Year; Rock Program Director of the Year for Scott Reinhart and Rock Music Director of the Year for Rick "the Dude" Vaske.

Vaske's win is impressive considering he's been music director for three years, and this is his third win in a row. Pretty amazing for a 26-year-old who started out seven years ago as an intern.

Cincinnati's three other nominees were shut out.

Former WKRQ-FM (101.9) promotion manager Von Freeman, now at Los Angeles' KIIS-FM, was named Marketing/Promotion Director of the Year.

On the back

Chris Payne continues tapping friends and family for the back cover of Reader's Digest, with which he has an exclusive monthly deal.

This month it's wife Paula serving a tray of frosty drinks as the family settles in to watch Fourth of July fireworks on a flat screen TV. Dad in the drawing is Payne's buddy Dave Beck - "I've used him a lot because he just looks right," Payne says - and the kids are Christian and Grace Lehman, children of his friend Tony Lehman.

The piece's title is "Prime Time."

Stuck on 11

And this for people wondering why longtime traffic reporter Bobby Leach wasn't doing traffic Tuesday afternoon on WSAI-AM and WKRC-AM.

Turns out he was stuck on an elevator between the 11th and 12th floors at RiverCenter. No windows, no view of traffic, just a stuffy elevator.

He called the station repeatedly from the elevator's emergency phone (his cell wouldn't work in there) to give everyone updates, but most listeners thought it was some kind of scam.

The traffic reporter couldn't get to the traffic.


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