Jacksonville chooses THE Local Station again in May 2019

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There were several big stories in the month of May in Jacksonville, including a passenger plane skidding off the runway at NAS JAX, and once again, THE Local Station, News4JAX finished the month as the No. 1 source for local news with Jacksonville households.

Morning news leads the way with News4JAX at 4:30 a.m., earning a 2.7 rating and 12 share for households. News4JAX at 5 a.m. is No. 1 in the time period, with a 3.3 household (HH) rating. At 5:30 a.m., News4JAX won with a 4.3, more than doubling the nearest competitor’s HH rating. News4JAX at 6 a.m. is No. 1 in the 6-7 a.m. time period, garnering a 5.8 HH rating and an impressive 20 share.
"The Morning Show" (7-9 a.m.), anchored by Jennifer Waugh, Bruce Hamilton and Richard Nunn, is No. 1 in the time period with a 6.1 HH rating and a 18 share, beating out all other newscasts including the national broadcasts of NBC’s "Today" on WTLV, CBS "This Morning" on WJAX and ABC’s "Good Morning America" on WJXX. At 9 a.m., "The Morning Show 2" beats "Today" by 91% with a 4.4 HH rating.

"River City Live" was No. 2 in the time period with a 2.0 HH rating for May. News4JAX at 4 p.m. did a 2.8 HH rating, beating "Judge Judy" and "Ellen."

In evening news, News4JAX at 5 p.m. is most watched in the time period, with a 5.2 HH rating. News4JAX at 5:30 p.m. is No. 1 in the time period, with a 5.4 HH rating. News4JAX at 6 p.m., anchored by Mary Baer, Tom Wills and John Gaughan, is No. 1 with a 6.1 HH rating and a 12 share.

The story continues in late news, as "The Ten O’Clock News" is the most-watched late newscast in the market. WJXT is No. 1 at 10 p.m. with a 4.8 HH rating and again at 10:30 p.m. with a 3.8 rating.

“We are very proud to again be the go-to place for local news in Jacksonville,” said Bob Ellis, WJXT and WCWJ vice president and general manager. “When reports came in that a passenger plane was in the St. Johns River, we knew it was a big story. Our coverage by the news team that the viewers of Jacksonville know and trust was appropriate and thorough. I’m very proud of how we covered this important breaking news story and helped the people of our community again this month.”

WKMG instrumental in getting texting and driving bill signed into Florida law

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WKMG-TV is pleased to announce that after nearly three years leading the charge to change the texting and driving law in Florida, a new bill has been signed into law.

This new law will make texting and driving a primary offense, which allows law enforcement to stop motorists who are texting while driving and write them citations.

Florida was one of only four states left in the country in which texting and driving was not a primary offense.

“It was a long and hard fight,” News 6 anchor Matt Austin said. “But now after nearly three years, 100 stories, more than a dozen trips to Tallahassee, and thousands of miles driving around Florida to track down decision makers, I am relieved Florida politicians finally did the right thing. They made safety a priority."

Austin has been the one of the driving forces in changing the law -- and one of the most outspoken proponents of this new legislation.

Together with News 6, his quest to create change began one night in September 2016.

In his car on the way home after the 11 p.m. newscast, Austin was stopped at a red light. Suddenly, there was a blinding blow to the back of his head. He was knocked unconscious. Hit full-force by a driver who never even tapped his brakes, Austin had been rear-ended by a driver who admitted he was texting and driving.

The impact was so forceful it sent his little girl’s car seat directly into the back of his head. When he regained consciousness, bloody and in a state of confusion, Austin struggled to dial 911. His immediate thoughts were, "My three little girls are usually always sitting in the back seat!"

The driver who hit Austin was not ticketed for the crash. The police at the scene said there was nothing they could do under the existing law. While at home recuperating from a severe concussion and 10 stiches to his head, viewers began asking why Austin wasn't at the news desk. He shared his story via social media and the flood gates opened.

Austin heard from people who had experienced similar situations, and those who had even tragically lost loved ones. He knew he had to be their voice.

Austin’s journey to drive change began the very next day, a journey News 6 has called “Driving Change.” The initiative's goal has been to make texting and driving a primary offense in the state of Florida.

“We started by bringing awareness to the holes in the current texting and driving law,” WKMG news director Allison McGinley said. “Then we knew we had to share the stories of those who had been directly affected by texting and driving. That included our own Matt Austin, who testified before the Florida Legislature's Judiciary Committee in Tallahassee.”

“This crisis we have in our state right now of texting and driving wound up in my back seat,” Austin said before the Judiciary Committee.

“Matt Austin told his story and that of many Floridians endangered by those who text and drive," Vice President and General Manager Jeff Hoffman said. “His commitment to see this through over a nearly three-year battle represents the very best of all who get results for WKMG News 6.”

News 6 almost saw a victory in 2017, but the bills to toughen the texting and driving law died in both the state House and Senate committees. There was a glimmer of hope again in 2018 when the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would finally make texting and driving a primary offense, but it was stalled in the Senate.

This year, both the House and the Senate worked to pass a bill to bring Florida in line with the 44 other states. That bill was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 17, 2019.

“As a local television station, this is the role you hope you can play for the community you serve," Hoffman said. "You see a problem, and together with your neighbors, you work to solve it. When you can ultimately change laws that can save lives, well, that is what good journalism is all about. That is what being of service to your community is all about."

The entire timeline of Matt’s Austin’s fight to bring this bill into law can be found by clicking or tapping here.

WDIV, Graham Media Group to launch revolutionary Next-Gen TV by 2020

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Get ready for the next big thing to hit your television screen, and it's guaranteed to revolutionize your viewing experience.

WDIV-TV and its parent company, Graham Media Group, announced Wednesday that WDIV will be launching Next-Gen TV services by the end of 2020.

This is exciting news for viewers because it will provide more stunning pictures, immersive and customizable audio, and other innovative features to get you all of the content most relevant to you, greatly enhancing services and viewership.

The internet protocol-based broadcast platform can deliver data to millions of receivers at once without bottlenecks from online traffic, and it will provide information and entertainment to equipped receivers, along with digital and mobile devices.

“The collaborative effort needed to launch this new technology requires that broadcasters work together for the benefit of our viewers," Graham Media Group President and CEO Emily Barr said. "Graham and WDIV look forward to launching the new Next-Gen TV station and the eventual launch of our own advanced signals on this platform. The future of television insures a more expansive experience, with high dynamic range video and advanced audio features that will immerse viewers as never before."

Next-Gen TV is powered by the new internet Protocol-based ATSC 3.0 standard, which allows consumers to integrate the most popular and pervasive video service -- broadcast television -- into their digital lifestyles.

Viewers can rest assured this does not necessarily mean a new TV will be required to take advantage of Next-Gen TV. Just as other devices have emerged with existing TV sets, adaptors and gateways will be made available.

WDIV, along with other broadcasters within the Top 40 markets, will be among the first to convert to the service in the rollout coming to viewers next year.

Click here to learn more about Next-Gen TV.

WSLS embraces cutting-edge technology in new studio

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In late April, WSLS-TV celebrated its first day in a new building, which hadn't happened in more than 63 years.

The team unveiled the new set on "Virginia Today." The new studio is the culmination of many months of hard work, and more than a year of planning.

Roanoke's first television news station has moved from downtown to a location that's close to the Berglund Center. WSLS now boasts a brand-new, state-of-the-art set with all the latest television broadcast technology.

Graham Media Group CEO Emily Barr said it's as much the viewers' home as it is the station's.

"The building by itself is going to be the key," Barr said. "It's the magic that happens inside."

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WSLS team members spent weeks extensively training on the new set, doing rehearsal after rehearsal. The production department put in a lot of long days and nights, learning the ins and outs of the new advanced system. Without this team, the newscast couldn't happen.

It took at least 15 miles of cables to make this set come to life.

"This set embraces a lot of new technology (and) a lot of display technology that's just being developed," said Michael Wright, a set designer.

Wright meticulously designed every square inch of this set.

"It's like having a baby," Wright said. "It really is giving birth to something and it's a lot of moving parts -- a lot of interrelated pieces so I am super proud of it."

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There's a news cube wall, which allows a 90-degree turn in video.

As Wright explains, it's the tiny details that really make the set pop.

"The hard scenics on the set are fabric, printed fabric," said Wright. "Like you print shirts in the store, they can now print fabrics for scenery and that's built with internal lights so that instead of the old days that you front light from the studio, this is internally lit so it has more of a luminous feel -- and that in turn makes talent look good."

The new set also enhances Storm Team 10's ability to track severe weather.

KPRC salutes service members, families during Military Appreciation Month

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Throughout the month of May, KPRC 2 salutes the service and sacrifice of our service members and their families during Military Appreciation Month.

KPRC 2’s 2019 Military Appreciation on-air and digital campaigns will feature our reporters and anchors who have served, are serving, or have family members who are in the military or are veterans.

KPRC 2 News Today meteorologist Britta Merwin, traffic reporter and anchor Jennifer Reyna, reporter Vincent Crivelli, reporter Brittany Jeffers, and anchors Bill Balleza and Khambrel Marshall salute the service of their family members and each other in on-air promos.

KPRC 2’s multiplatform campaign is also spotlighting a partnership with the Houston Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America service organization. We encourage viewers to “join our mission” by sending care packages consisting of new and unused personal hygiene items, unworn socks, snacks, reading materials and any other items that will lift the spirits of our brave men and women serving in combat zones and overseas. KPRC 2 will host an internal station drive for supplies, joining forces with the Blue Star Mothers to assemble, wrap and ship the care packages to our local service members.

Another digital component will be the return of “Tell It 2 Us,” our man-on-the-street forum, where Houston-area veterans are given the opportunity to speak about topics like their reasons for enlisting, life lessons learned and veteran-based issues they would like to address.

Viewers will also be encouraged to make their voices heard by recording their own thoughts on these issues on camera and then emailing them to tellit2us@kprc.com or Militarymay@kprc.com. Submissions should be 30 seconds or less, and files no larger than 30MB. Videos will be shared to KPRC 2’s Facebook page and on click2houston.com/military.

“We are proud of the service and sacrifice of our extended KPRC 2 family,” KPRC 2 Vice President and General Manager Jerry Martin said. “We salute the mission of the Blue Star Mothers and our service members both on-air and throughout our Houston community.”

Join our mission by following or posting using these hashtags: #KPRC2 #KPRCMILITARYMAY #TELLIT2US and by visiting click2houston.com/military.

Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)3 service organization dedicated to supporting members of the armed forces and their families while promoting patriotism. The Houston Chapter sends more than 1,200 care packages over the course of a year.

Graham Media Group, a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Co. (NYSE: GHC), owns seven local television stations, each in a top-70 market and all recognized as news leaders: KPRC–Houston, WDIV–Detroit and WSLS–Roanoke (NBC); KSAT–San Antonio (ABC); WKMG–Orlando(CBS); WJXT–Jacksonville (fully local); and WCWJ–Jacksonville (CW), as well as Social News Desk, a leading provider of social media management tools designed to connect newsrooms with their users.

The stations also broadcast digital channels focusing on classic television and lifestyle programming, in addition to operating market-leading websites, mobile sites and mobile apps delivering breaking news, weather and community news, reaching millions of users across each platform. All are deeply involved in local initiatives and public service projects designed to serve, inform and improve their respective communities.

WKMG lands major 'Celebration of Service to America' win

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Graham Media Group's WKMG-TV has been selected as the "Service to Community" award-winner in the large-market television category, for its work serving as a legislative lifeline for first-responders.

The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF), formerly the NAB Education Foundation, just this week revealed the winners of the 2019 Celebration of Service to America Awards, which recognize outstanding community service by local broadcasters.

WKMG-TV presented a series of investigative reports featuring first-responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, providing a platform for these men and women to expose the state’s failure to recognize PTSD as a real medical injury.

Under Florida law at the time, workers’ compensation insurance was not available for those diagnosed with PTSD unless they could prove they were also physically injured during the emergency call.

The station’s reporting began with the story of one of the officers assigned to remove the dead from the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

This segment led to a flood of responses from first-responders struggling with PTSD who had been afraid to come forward.

On March 27, 2018, then-Gov. Rick Scott signed the Workers’ Compensation Benefits for First Responders Act into law.

Scott said WKMG-TV’s reporting was instrumental in the passage and signing of the new law.

WKMG, among the other winners, will be honored at the Celebration of Service to America dinner, held June 11 at The Anthem, a riverside venue in Southwest Washington.

“America’s local radio and television stations have a deeply rooted commitment to public service,” said NABLF President Marcellus Alexander. “This year’s STA winners epitomize broadcasters’ devotion to positively impacting their communities and creating a lasting difference. We look forward to recognizing their exceptional work.”

From August 2016 through March 2018, WKMG-TV investigated and presented its series of reports. Florida first-responders and their families reached out to WKMG-TV to help them bring awareness to people quietly suffering with PTSD.

News 6's reporting marked an opportunity to build community awareness of the unseen injuries that left a trail of broken souls and suicides. It all began with Orlando Police Department first-responder Gerry Realin, one of the seven assigned to remove the dead from the Pulse Nightclub. His story led to a floodgate of first-responders struggling with PTSD, but afraid to come forward. That was the constant theme of the reporting, and the evidence was clear: These victims needed someone to recognize PTSD as a real illness deserving of medical compensation.

“Stories about the people affected made the difference," Scott said. "That’s how legislation gets passed.”

WJXT-TV4 wins every major local news area in April

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THE Local Station continues to be Jacksonville’s No. 1 source for local news and swept all major news areas with adult ages 25-54 viewers, the most coveted demographic for television advertisers.

Morning news leads the way with News4JAX at 4:30 a.m. earning a 1.9 rating and 13-share for adults 25-54.

News4JAX at 5 a.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.3 A25-54 rating. At 5:30 a.m., News4JAX won with a 2.8, nearly doubling the nearest competitor's A25-54 rating.

News4JAX at 6 a.m. is No. 1 with adults in the 6 to 7 a.m. time period, garnering a 3.3 A25-54 rating and an impressive 20 share.

"The Morning Show," which runs from 7 to 9 a.m., anchored by Bruce Hamilton, Jennifer Waugh and Richard Nunn, is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.5 A25-54 rating and a 15-share, beating out all other newscasts, including the national broadcasts of NBC’s "Today Show" on WTLV, CBS "This Morning" on WJAX and ABC’s "Good Morning America" on WJXX.

At 9 a.m., "The Morning Show 2" beats "Today" by 50%, with a 1.5 A25-54.

News4JAX at 4 p.m. and "Inside Edition" take the time period with a 1.3 A25-54, beating "Dr. Phil," "Judge Judy" and "Ellen."

In evening news, News4JAX at 5 p.m. is the most-watched in the time period with a 1.9 A25-54 rating. News4JAX at 5:30 p.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.0 A25-54 rating. News4JAX at 6 p.m., anchored by Tom Wills, Mary Baer and John Gaughan, is No. 1 with a 2.3 A25-54 rating and a 9-share.

The story continues in late news, with wins in The Ten O’Clock News at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

WJXT is No. 1 at 10 p.m. with a 2.8 A25-54 rating and again at 10:30 p.m. with a 2.3 rating.

News4JAX was No. 1 at 11 p.m. with a 2.1 A25-54, beating both the WJAX and WFOX Action News newscasts, even when added together.

Late news has seen year-over-year growth, particularly at 10 p.m., where it is seeing a 27% increase over last April.

“In a month with a tremendous amount of important local news and severe weather that threatened the safety of our viewers, we’re proud to be the go-to place for critical information for our community,” said WJXT/WCWJ Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis. “Serving Jacksonville as The Local Station is what we’re all about.”

Graham Media Group honored with 6 prestigious Murrow awards

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Three Graham Media Group television stations are proud recipients of a combined six Regional 2019 Edward R. Murrow Awards by the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Houston’s KPRC 2 received three awards, including the highly coveted Overall Excellence in Large Market Television, which recognizes the station’s commitment to quality journalism. KPRC’s entry in this category featured examples of breaking news, investigations and special event coverage, as well as community service initiatives and digital content.

Another of KPRC 2’s Regional Murrow Awards was presented for Best News Series in Large Market Television for “Inside MS-13,” Anchor/Reporter Jacob Rascon’s in-depth reports on the notoriously violent transnational gang, and the evolving fight against it from El Salvador to Houston.

KPRC 2 News at 6 p.m. was awarded Best Newscast in Large Market Television for “Tragedy in Santa Fe,” which featured team coverage of the May 2018 school shootings in Santa Fe, Texas. The KPRC team worked to provide complete and compassionate coverage to its community in the immediate wake of such a horrific event.

WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit received two awards, including Excellence in Sound in Large Market Television for “Criss-Cross Crash,” a beautifully crafted story that exemplifies the art of audio. WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit’s second Regional Murrow Award was presented for Social Media in Large Market Television, recognizing several examples including “Death of Aretha Franklin,” and “Meteor in Michigan,” to name a few. Their digital efforts offer unparalleled social media coverage to provide useful, concise information on topics important to the audience.

Roanoke’s WSLS 10 was recognized for Excellence in Innovation in Small Market Television for “In the Navy,” a series featuring what it’s like to be a sailor for a day with News Anchor John Carlin attempting the Navy’s water survival training course.

“We’re honored by our team’s recognition by our peers in the Radio Television Digital News Association,” Graham Media Group President and Chief Executive Officer Emily Barr said. “Our main mission is to inform and celebrate the communities we serve. We share these awards with our viewers and the communities we so proudly cover.”

Graham Media Group’s six regional winning entries will now go on to the national RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards judging round. Winners will be announced in June, and presented at the annual RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala on Oct. 14 in New York City.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has honored outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Murrow set as a standard for the profession of electronic journalism.

Graham Media Group wins 5 Local Media Association Digital Innovation Awards

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Graham Media Group took home five Digital Innovation Awards from the Local Media Association earlier this week.

The contest recognizes the best digital innovation in the industry.

Newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and digital news sites competed for top honors, making this the only contest of its kind.

Below are the award specifics:

Best Social Media Strategy

--Second Place: WDIV/Graham Media (Above 750,000 unique visitors)

Best New Digital Initiative

--Second Place: KPRC/Graham Media, Eyes of Texas (Above 750,000 unique visitors)

--Third Place: WKMG/Graham Media On the Go (Below 750,000 unique visitors)

Best Contest and/or Promotion

--First Place: WDIV/Graham Media (4Frenzy)

Judges’ comments: "The promotion earns rich engagement from the community; the revenue is one thing, but the community’s brand affinity will pay dividends for years."

--Third place: Third Place: WDIV/Graham Media (4theBest)

WDIV-Local 4 wins 2 prestigious 2019 Regional Murrow Awards

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WDIV-Local 4 is honored to receive two coveted Regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Social Media and Excellence in Sound.

Regional winners were announced Tuesday by the Radio Television Digital News Association.

“The social media Murrow win is especially gratifying. It reinforces that we are leading the way in multi-platform content distribution. This newer medium is the wave of the future and Local 4 is leading the charge,” Local 4 news director Kim Voet said. “Winning the Murrow for sound three years in a row shows our photographers’ commitment to being the best storytellers possible.”

“Our amazing news team puts out this effort on a daily basis, so it’s very rewarding to be recognized with this prestigious award that celebrates the best in our industry,” Vice-President and General Manager Marla Drutz said.

Station awards:

Excellence in Social Media

Social media manager Ken Haddad’s strategy is a multi-platform approach to covering the big stories of the day, and frequently, the station’s posts land at the top of the social media charts compared to those from across the country. Highlights include: coverage of Aretha Franklin’s passing, the meteor in Michigan, 2018 election coverage, the digital Jason Carr Live show, the Boblo Boat fire and the Central Michigan University lockdown.

Excellence in Sound: Criss Cross Crash

Video Journalists Alex Atwell and Hans Ihlenfeldt enhance the viewers' experience of this story using multiple cameras, multiple microphones and sounds of the crowd’s reaction to car and school bus racing in Flat Rock, Michigan. This is the third year in a row the station has won this award.

WDIV-Local 4 is the only large-market TV station in Michigan to win in our region. Both entries will now go head-to-head with the other regional winners for the National Murrow Award.

The RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow's pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name.

This honor comes at the heels of WDIV-Local 4 winning the MAB Station of the Year award for the fifth year in a row.

WSLS takes home 4 first-place honors at Virginias Associated Press Awards

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WSLS 10 has been honored with four first-places awards as well as two more second-place honors in the Associated Press Awards for the Virginias.

WSLS 10 took home more honors than any other television station in the Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia market.

“These wins are station wins and everyone should be proud of our accomplishments,” Vice President and General Manager Jaimie Leon said. "I couldn’t be more proud of our team, and that’s what it takes to do excellent journalism -- TEAMWORK.”

The 10 Sports team of John Appicello, Alyssa Rae and Eric Johnson won the Best Sports Operations of the Virginias for the second consecutive year.

First-place awards went to:

  • Continuing Coverage: “Abduction of Baby Emma” (WSLS staff)

  • Outstanding Sports Operation of the Virginias: (John Appicello, Alyssa Rae, Eric Johnson)

  • Multimedia/Online Journalism: “Aircraft Carrier Landing” (John Carlin and Lee Friesland)

  • Old Dominion Heritage: “Craig County Barn Quilts” (John Carlin and Carter Malpass)

And in second place, WSLS earned the following honors:

  • Website: WSLS.com (Jeff Williamson, Heather Butterworth, Samantha Smith)

  • Serious Feature: “Second Chance” (Jessica Jewell and Lee Friesland).

WSLS 10 competes in the large-market division, which includes Roanoke/Lynchburg, Richmond, and Norfolk, Virginia markets as well as Charleston, West Virginia.

David Arkin to lead Digital at KPRC 2, Click2Houston

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KPRC 2/Click2Houston is pleased to announce the appointment of David Arkin as its new Director of Digital and Enterprise Content. In this newly revamped role previously known as our Digital Executive Producer, Arkin will lead the digital team in the newsroom and be responsible for all other digital efforts and strategies including Houston Life, station promotions and sales.

“We are pleased to have landed David Arkin in this new role," said Jerry Martin, vice president and general manager of KPRC. "He is a proven leader in audience development and innovative digital strategies, bringing more than 20 years of experience leading newsrooms and developing high-quality digital journalism."

“Arkin has held senior leadership positions for a variety of news organizations and helped companies grow their audiences, integrate creative storytelling, and develop digital newsroom cultures,” said David Strickland, news director of KPRC.

Most recently, Arkin led the launch of Rover, a news start-up in Nashville. The product focused on providing content readers could use to navigate the growing metropolitan area by delivering both a daily online dose of local news while providing a deeper dive in a monthly print edition. Prior to that, Arkin developed a content consulting business for the Local Media Association and created content partnerships with the Texas Tribune and NextDoor as Chief Content Officer at Community Impact Newspaper.

Arkin spent nearly 10 years at GateHouse Media. As Senior Vice President for Content, he launched the company's design and product center in Austin, Texas, which employed more than 200 people and provided print and digital services for internal and external clients across the country.

In 2016, Arkin was named the Digital News Innovator of the Year by the Local Media Association before joining their organization. He has led newsrooms to national journalism awards and has served on boards for local media associations including the Associated Press Media Editors and Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

“I can’t wait to work with the incredibly talented team at KPRC," Arkin said. "Their journalism is top notch, and I’m thrilled to lend my experience to advance the work they’re doing for their growing digital audience. The opportunity to help take a respected brand’s digital product to the next level in a market like Houston is really an exciting opportunity."

Arkin will start in his role at KPRC later this month.

Gators Breakdown podcast reaches 1 million listens

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When Dave Waters first began recording a University of Florida Gators-themed podcast in 2016, it was just a hobby. He never expected it to explode in popularity -- skyrocketing from 100 listens an episode to 6,000.

Now, nearly three years later, Gators Breakdown has become a top sports podcast on iTunes. This week, Waters reached yet another milestone on his journey by cracking the one-million listens mark.

“It’s still hard to believe that former players I grew up watching, ESPN and SEC Network personalities, reporters … trust what Gators Breakdown is doing and hop on to talk Gators football with me,” Waters said.

Waters, 35, got his start at WJXT in news production in 2006. Soon, he began volunteering to shoot football games. Still, it wasn’t until 10 years later that he parlayed his love of the Gators into a podcast. These days, he's a commercial production manager for WJXT.

Bob Ellis, vice president and general manager of WJXT/WCWJ, said he encourages all employees to pursue their passion, and in Waters' case, that's tracking the latest developments in Gators football.

"There's no substitute for someone who cares about the subject they're covering," Ellis said. "That's been one of the secret ingredients in our station's success over the years. Our team really cares."

As Ellis points out, podcasts like Gators Breakdown are just another way for the station to connect with its community ‑ and a reflection of viewers' and readers' appetite for high-quality sports content.

"Our commitment to local sports content -- high school and college sports especially -- on all of our content platforms is the best it's been in years," Ellis said. "Dave's been a big part of that."

Follow @GatorDave_SEC to stay plugged in, or click one of the following to tune in: Megaphone | iTunes | YouTube | Google Play

Graham Media Group’s podcast division partners with our broadcast television stations to create compelling, original audio content, bringing captivating stories to new audiences and giving listeners more stories to love. Headed by Zak Rosen, our podcasts have gained national attention with the popularity of the true-crime series Shattered, and the series Mismatch, featuring interesting stories about the incompatible, unsuitable and out of step. Learn more at grahammedia.com/podcasts.

WJXT-TV4 wins big in morning, early and late news areas in March

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THE Local Station is again Jacksonville’s No. 1 source for local news -- and swept all morning and late news areas with the Jacksonville viewers for the month of March.

Morning News leads the way with News4JAX at 4:30 a.m., more than doubling the nearest competitor’s HH ratings. News4JAX at 5 a.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 4.4 HH rating, beating the competition combined.

At 5:30 a.m., News4JAX won with a 5.2. News4JAX at 6 a.m. is No. 1 with households in the 6 to 7 a.m. time period, garnering a 6.3 and an impressive 21 share. The Morning Show (7 to 9 a.m.), anchored by Jennifer Waugh, Bruce Hamilton and Richard Nunn, is No. 1 in the time period with a 6.4 HH rating and an 19 share, beating out all other newscasts, including the national broadcasts of NBC’s "Today Show" on WTLV, CBS "This Morning" on WJAX and ABC’s "Good Morning America" on WJXX. At 9 a.m., The Morning Show 2 beats "Today's" third hour with a 4.9 HH rating.

In Evening News, News4JAX at 5 p.m. is most-watched in the time period, with a 5.4 HH rating. News4JAX increases that to a 5.8 HH rating and, again, wins the time period. News4JAX at 6 p.m., anchored by Tom Wills, Mary Baer and John Gaughan, is No. 1 with a 7.2 HH rating and a 14 share.

The story continues in Late News, with wins in The Ten O’Clock News at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. WJXT is No. 1 at 10 p.m. with a 5.6 HH rating and again at 10:30 with a 4.4 HH rating. News4JAX was No. 1 at 11 p.m. with a 4.2 HH rating.

WCWJ continues to see great growth in "Access with Mom" and "Blackish," increasing HH ratings year over year as well as month over month. "Dateline" at 10 p.m. has doubled the rating in the time period from March 2018, and increased its HH rating from the month prior.

“March was another terrific month with local events on our station that demonstrated our commitment to Jacksonville as the only true local TV station. In addition to our local news, our coverage of the only debate with all qualified mayoral candidates, election night itself, and our exclusive coverage of the Gate River Run were again indicators there’s no other station like Channel 4 in town,” said Bob Ellis, vice president and general manager of WJXT and CW17.

News4Jax team joins executive producer's fight, works to raise money for ALS cure

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You never know when life is going to throw you a curve ball.

For Sharon Siegel-Cohen, one of the executive producers on The Morning Show at Channel 4, it started as something quite innocuous.

“I tripped when we were on a family vacation and had trouble with my ankle,” Siegel-Cohen said. "The problem persisted for months and neither I, nor my doctors, could figure out what was wrong."

It took doctors some time, but they eventually figured out what was going on. Siegel-Cohen has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS -- sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles that tends to strike people between the ages of 40 and 70.

About 5,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year -- that's more than 13 new cases a day. It's estimated there are more than 20,000 Americans living with it at any given time.

"I was in denial at first," Siegel-Cohen said. “But then I decided to use my voice and fight this disease and do what I can to help find a cure.”

Since her diagnosis, raising awareness about ALS has become Siegel-Cohen's mission, and her family on The Morning Show is dedicated to helping her. Now, WJXT-TV would like you to join in on that mission.

On Tuesday night, Bruce, Melanie, Crystal, Richard, Vic and Elizabeth from Channel 4 will be working as celebrity servers at Brucci's Pizza near Beach Boulevard and Hodges, and Siegel-Cohen will be there, too.

All the money the Channel 4 team raises through tips between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. will be donated to the local ALS Society.

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The Florida Times-Union, also known as jacksonville.com, also recently featured Siegel-Cohen in a column by Mike Clark.

Clark described how he got to know Siegel-Cohen in 1980, as he reviewed movies for Channel 4.

"Sharon was my producer and helped me adjust to the demands of reading a teleprompter," Clark said. "Saying something meaningful in 90 seconds was a good writing lesson. Trying to appear both authoritative and relaxed was quite a challenge. Sharon, a first-rate talent, took good care. We even did a few standups outside the studio."

Clark also drew attention to Jacksonville’s Walk for A Cure, which will take place Saturday, March 30, at Tinseltown. You can sign up and contribute here.

"Sharon’s Songbirds" is the name of her group. Siegel-Cohen also will be honored May 4, as she's set to receive a Courage Award at a gala to benefit Augie’s Quest, a reference to Augie Nieto, co-founder and CEO of Life Fitness. Augie’s Quest is a nonprofit dedicated to helping find a treatment and cure for ALS.

KSAT-TV recognized for innovation after building digital newscast from scratch

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KSAT-TV in San Antonio is setting the standard for excellence when it comes to digital innovation.

The station realized it had a huge opportunity on its hands, and recently decided to create a brand-new newscast at 9 p.m. to be live-streamed on its OTT channel.

The Knight-Cronkite News Lab -- which is a joint effort between the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University -- works to discover and share experiments from local TV newsrooms around the country. And the news lab is now profiling KSAT and its digital newscast, which the team built from scratch.

The story addresses how the show got off the ground: there were several challenges. For starters, KSAT didn’t really have a space to produce this show. The 10 p.m. broadcast needed the studio and control room to get ready for air. So News@9, as the new program is called, moved out into the newsroom — new set, production area, cameras, prompter, lights and all.

“We are smack dab in the middle of the newsroom,” the show’s anchor, Myra Arthur, told the news lab. “The set is not even five feet behind my desk, so everyone is working and talking around me. And I think that just lends itself to a show that’s a little more conversational and a little more off-the-cuff.”

The story addresses other technical challenges, workflow challenges and the need to create "something completely different."

"It’s one thing to come up with grand ideas about innovation, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually execute on them," the article says.

Hats off to our colleages in San Antonio!

Check out the new lab's article in full.

Graham Media Group, WDIV-Local 4 announces new season of 'Shattered' podcast

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Graham Media Group and WDIV-Local 4 (Detroit) have announced the new, eight-episode season of “Shattered,” an original true-crime podcast series.

Season 3, hosted by Jeremy Allen, takes listeners through the heartbreaking and riveting story of Michigan’s Oakland County Child Killer case that remains unsolved 40 years later.

Between February 1976 and March 1977, four children were abducted and murdered with their bodies left in various locations within or just outside Oakland County, Michigan. The ensuing murder investigation was the largest of its kind in U.S. history at the time.

“WDIV-Local 4 has covered this case since 12-year-old Mark Stebbins first went missing in February of 1976,” Allen says. “When we opened our archives, there was raw footage of our original reporting, with interviews of the parents and key people in the investigation. We’re telling this story because we hope someone has information that can finally solve these cases.”

A five-part docuseries called “Child Killer” is also available to stream on ClickOnDetroit.com and the WDIV-Local 4 app on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and most smart TVs.

“These murders put Oakland County and the whole metro Detroit region on high alert in the late 1970s and early 1980s," says Marla Drutz, WDIV’s vice president and general manager. "It was a defining moment for a whole generation of children who grew up with great fear of stranger danger. We hope that reopening the vault of video and investigating every angle will help investigators solve these cases.”

From a suspected cover-up by a local millionaire to a father’s undying love, ”Shattered: Child Killer” spotlights relatives of the murdered children, investigators who worked the case, and the journalists who covered, and are still covering, the story. In the search for truth and justice, egos and confusion take over in a seemingly endless pursuit for answers.

”Shattered: Child Killer” premieres on March 19, 2019. The eight-episode season will release a new episode every Tuesday. The entire series will be available for free on Apple Podcasts or your preferred podcast listening platform.

The first two seasons of “Shattered” have garnered 2.1 million downloads. Season 1 investigates the 2010 disappearance of three brothers in Morenci, Michigan. Their father said he gave the brothers to an underground organization. Seven years later, the boys’ whereabouts is not known. Season 2 takes listeners through the life of Richard Wershe Jr., also known as “White Boy Rick,” the youngest ever FBI informant turned drug dealer.

For more information, visit shatteredpodcast.com.

For all press inquiries, email Donna Harper at donnah@wdiv.com.

About WDIV-Local 4

Local 4 News is currently the No. 1 newscast at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. in Nielsen ratings for the Detroit television market, and is honored to be named Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the fifth year in a row. WDIV is the No. 1 NBC affiliate in the top 20 LPM markets. In addition, Local 4's ClickOnDetroit.com is a top breaking news and weather website in Michigan, as well as the No. 1 news website in Metro Detroit.

About Graham Media Group

Graham Media Group, a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC), owns seven local television stations - each in a top-70 market and all recognized as news leaders: KPRC–Houston, WDIV–Detroit and WSLS–Roanoke (NBC); KSAT–San Antonio (ABC); WKMG–Orlando(CBS); WJXT–Jacksonville (fully local), and WCWJ–Jacksonville (CW), as well as Social News Desk, a leading provider of social media management tools designed to connect newsrooms with their users.

The stations also broadcast digital channels that focus on classic television and lifestyle programming, in addition to operating market-leading websites, mobile sites and mobile apps delivering breaking news, weather and community news, reaching millions of users across each platform. All are deeply involved in local initiatives and public service projects designed to serve, inform and improve their respective communities.

WDIV-Local 4 named station of the year by MAB for 5th year in a row

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WDIV-TV Local 4, a Graham Media Group station, is honored to be recognized as station of the year for the fifth year in a row. The station won for broadcasting excellence in 14 categories from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters: 14 best and 11 merit awards for Market 1.

“It’s all about teamwork, and this reflects a station-wide effort to make sure our viewers get the best news and information possible,” said general manager and Vice President Manager Marla Drutz. “To win five years in a row tells us we’re on the right track, and we are all so grateful to be recognized with this prestigious award.”

First place/best In category:

  • Breaking news: (Larry Nassar: Judgment Day)
  • Community involvement: Your Soapbox; It’s OK Not To Be OK; Giving the Gift of Warmth
  • Investigative story: Help Me Hank investigation “Who Need a Dentist?” sparks state investigation into Detroit basement braces operation
  • Newscast: “Simon Steps Down”
  • News anchor: Devin Scillian
  • News special: “Black Friday”
  • News reporter: Nick Monacelli
  • Mini-documentary or series: “Defenders: Threats Among Us”
  • Special interest programming: Generation Under Fire
  • Marketing materials and promos: “Moments” campaign
  • Use of new media: “Shattered: Black Friday”
  • Sports: Bernie Smilovitz with Ice Cube

Merit awards:

  • Breaking news: Murderer Manhunt at CMU
  • Investigative story: “Defenders: Threats Among Us”
  • Newscast: Honoring the Life of Aretha Franklin
  • New anchor: Sandra Ali
  • New special – “Korea Rising”
  • Weathercast: Severe Weather Alert: Tornado Touches Down
  • News reporter: Koco McAboy
  • Photojournalist: Alex Atwell
  • Mini-documentary or series: “Black Friday: Morenci Boys and Skelton Case”
  • Special interest programming: R-E-S-P-E-C-T
  • Use of new media: Mixed Reality

MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards recognize outstanding achievements in broadcasting by Michigan radio and television stations each year.

WJXT-TV4 wins big in morning, early and late news areas in February

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THE Local Station is again Jacksonville’s No. 1 source for local news, and swept all morning and late news areas with the Jacksonville viewers for the month of February.

Morning News leads the way with News4JAX at 4:30 a.m. No. 1 nearly tripling the nearest competitor’s HH ratings. News4JAX at 5 a.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 4.1 HH rating, more than doubling the nearest competitor. At 5:30 a.m., News4JAX won with a 4.9.

News4JAX at 6 a.m. is No. 1 with households in the 6 to 7 a.m. time period garnering a 6.1 and an impressive 21 share. The Morning Show (7-9 a.m.), anchored by Jennifer Waugh, Bruce Hamilton and Richard Nunn, is No. 1 in the time period with a 5.9 HH rating and an 18 share, beating out all other newscasts including the national broadcasts of NBC’s "Today Show" on WTLV, CBS "This Morning" on WJAX and ABC’s "Good Morning America" on WJXX. At 9 a.m., "The Morning Show 2" beats "Today Show" third hour with a 4.1 HH rating.

In Evening News, News4JAX at 5 p.m. is the most watched in the time period with a 5.2 HH rating. News4JAX at 6 p.m., anchored by Mary Baer, Tom Wills and John Gaughan, is No. 1, with a 7.1 HH rating and a 13 share.

The story continues in Late News, with wins in The Ten O’Clock News at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. WJXT is No. 1 at 10 p.m. with a 5.0 HH rating and again at 10:30 p.m. with a 3.6 HH rating. News4JAX was No. 1 at 11 pm with a 3.7 HH rating.

“It is extremely gratifying to see how the people of Jacksonville trust News4JAX above all others for their local news,” said Bob Ellis, vice president and general manager of WJXT and CW17. “The commitment of our staff to tell important stories from all areas of town and make Jacksonville a better place is real. To know month after month viewers count on us as their primary source of news makes us fiercely proud and reinforces our commitment as this city’s only true local television station.”

WDIV-Local 4 to premiere 'Child Killer' primetime special, plus 5-part digital docuseries on Feb. 13

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WDIV-Local 4 (NBC, Detroit) is set to premiere a primetime special: “Child Killer” -- and a five-part digital docuseries of the same name -- that follows the heartbreaking and riveting true-crime story about Michigan’s Oakland County Child Killer case that is still unsolved 40 years later.

Both the “Child Killer” special and the digital docuseries chronicle the story from its very beginning when the first boy’s body was found and features never seen before video and interviews from the crime scenes.

From a suspected cover-up by a local millionaire to a father’s undying love, “Child Killer” also spotlights relatives of the murdered children, investigators who worked the case and the journalists who covered, and are still covering, the story. In the search for truth and justice, egos and confusion take over in a seemingly endless pursuit for answers.

WDIV-Local 4, a Graham Media Group station, has been working on this case since 1976, when 12-year-old Mark Stebbins of Ferndale was found dead, fully clothed in the outfit he was wearing when he was last seen alive.

During a 13-month period, four children -- two boys and two girls -- were abducted and murdered with their bodies left uncovered in the snow. The boys' bodies showed evidence of sexual assault. Their deaths triggered a murder investigation, which, at the time, was the largest in U.S. history.

“These murders put Oakland County and the whole region on high alert in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a defining moment for a whole generation of children who grew up with great fear of stranger danger,” said Marla Drutz, WDIV’s vice president and general manager. “We hope that reopening the vault of video and investigating every angle will help investigators solve these cases.”

Local 4 producers combed through hours and hours of raw station footage from 40 years ago through current times.

ClickOnDetroit.com is set to premiere the five-part digital docuseries "Child Killer” on February 13 at 11 p.m., following the primetime special at 10 p.m. on WDIV-Local 4, which will also streamed on ClickOnDetroit.com., as well as via the station’s app on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and most smart TVs.

“Local TV stations are uniquely positioned to tell these stories, because we cover them until they are solved. We have reels and reels of footage, relationships with the community and a true desire to see justice,” Drutz said.

“Child Killer” is the latest project in WDIV-Local 4’s slate of original programming for a multi-platform audience. Both the special and docuseries are produced by Jeremy Allen and executive produced by Ro Coppola. To complement the special and docuseries, the third season of the “Shattered” podcast, also focusing on the Oakland County Child Killer, will debut in March.

Season one of “Shattered” followed the open case of three missing brothers from Morenci, Michigan, and season two covered the notorious case of White Boy Rick. Combined seasons of “Shattered” have garnered more than 1.7 million downloads.

For more information, click here.