First Coast Spelling Bee to crown regional champion


WJXT will host the 75th annual First Coast Spelling Bee driven by Jenkins Hyundai of Jacksonville on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Spellers representing 14 area counties will take the stage at Jacksonville University’s Swisher Theatre to compete for the opportunity to represent the First Coast at the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, DC.

News4JAX Anchor Melanie Lawson again will serve as pronouncer while News4JAX Anchor Bruce Hamilton hosts the broadcast with analysis provided by Jeff Hess, FSCJ Dean of Communication. The First Coast Spelling Bee is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.

WHAT: First Coast Spelling Bee driven by Jenkins Hyundai of Jacksonville

WHEN: 8 p.m., Tuesday, February 19

WHERE: Jacksonville University’s Swisher Theatre 2800 University Blvd. North Jacksonville

The First Coast Spelling Bee will be broadcast live on WJXT Channel 4 and streamed on from 8 to 10 p.m.

Participating Spellers in Spelling Order:

  1. Ansley Cutshaw of Nassau County
  2. Cassie Clay of Suwannee County
  3. Jenna Hinson of Madison County
  4. Cyanne Carey of Baker County
  5. Sarah Welch of Hamilton County
  6. Graham Glasheen of Duval County
  7. Patrick Narcowich of Union County
  8. Armand KÜykendall of Putnam County
  9. Brandon Plum of Bradford County
  10. Erik Williams of Clay County
  11. Addison Davis of Flagler County
  12. Nicholas Chowdhury of Columbia County
  13. Francheska Melendez of Alachua County
  14. Manischa Wijayawardhana of St. Johns County

WJXT announces 'HaLeigh Cummings: Into Thin Air' podcast and News4Jax I-Team special reports


WJXT has announced a new four-episode podcast "HaLeigh Cummings: Into Thin Air," an original true-crime podcast.

Jennifer Waugh sets the scene of a little girl from Putnam County who vanished from bed. She was sleeping right next to her little brother. Hundreds of people searched for her, but she was never found.

“Ten years ago, this story captivated North Florida as details emerged after HaLeigh’s disappearance," WJXT VP and General Manager Bob Ellis said. "A decade later, there’s still more to learn about what happened. Jennifer Waugh was a major part of the coverage for the entire city when this happened ten years ago, and she’s spent the past several months investigating to provide fresh perspective with news stories for all platforms of News4Jax, including a riveting podcast.”

In addition, in the week leading up to the 10th year of HaLeigh’s disappearance, lead investigators broke their silence during a series of special reports. For the first time ever, they reveal their theories about who they believe is responsible for HaLeigh’s disappearance and where they think she is now.

WJXT hopes the "HaLeigh Cummings: Into Thin Air" stories and podcast series will generate new leads. Viewers and podcast listeners can call 888-277-TIPS and could be eligible for a $15,000 reward.

The "HaLeigh Cummings: Into Thin Air" podcast premieres Feb. 11. The entire series will be available for free on preferred podcast listening platforms. The series of special reports airs Feb. 4-8 on WJXT’s The Morning Show, Feb. 7 on News4JAX at 5 p.m., and Feb. 10 on The 10 O’Clock News.

KPRC 2 celebrates diversity during Black History Month

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During the month of February, KPRC 2 is honoring Black History Month by celebrating the multi-cultural diversity of Houston, the city the station calls home.

KPRC 2’s Black History Month on-air and social media campaigns will center around various renditions of, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly referred to as the Negro National Anthem, including a spoken-word version featuring KPRC 2 on-air talent, a vocal version sung by the Imani School’s “Young Voices of Praise” choir, and an original solo piano performance by our very own KPRC 2 employee.

As part of the digital campaign, KPRC 2 will spotlight many of Houston’s high-profile African American power players, including gospel vocalist Yolanda Adams, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, and gold medal-winning Olympians Simone Biles and Carl Lewis, interviewed by anchor and Houston Newsmakers host Khambrel Marshall.

KPRC 2 also will solicit viewer nominations to spotlight everyday citizens doing amazing things in the community. Nominations can be made here.

Another digital component will be the just-launched “Tell It 2 Us” platform, featuring man-on-the-street-style interviews with everyday Houstonians speaking out on issues facing the African American community. Viewers will be encouraged to make their voices heard by recording their own thoughts on these issues on camera and then emailing them to Submissions should be 30 seconds or less, and files no larger than 30MB.

“Our KPRC 2 family is as diverse as the communities that we cover and the city we call home,” KPRC 2 Vice President/General Manager Jerry Martin said. “What better time to celebrate not only the high-profile, but the everyday citizens, neighbors and co-workers who inspire and define us?”

Throughout the month, KPRC 2 will share stories of why African American culture is Houston culture, and how so much of what makes our city great is based in black heritage, honoring these cultural contributions.

WCWJ presents special programming in tribute to Black History Month


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Once again, WCWJ will honor the history, events and people during 2019 Black History Month.

CW17 presents programs and special stories that will begin in January and run until early March. The programs praise the achievements of black Americans today as well as those who fought for our country.

The events kick off at 10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 on CW17 with the two-part documentary, "For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots." Airing at 10 p.m. on Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, this two-part special salutes the contributions of African American men and women throughout our nation’s history. Hosted by Halle Barry, the documentary features the voices of Morgan Freeman, Lou Gossett Jr. and more.

Jacksonville has a rich history in African American culture. Each day in February, WCWJ will air a short vignette, profiling a moment or person from Jacksonville that played a significant role in African American history.

Special programming continues on CW17. On Sundays in February, CW17 pays homage to the journey for civil rights in the three-part series, "Trail of Hope." The first installment, "Trail of Hope: Journey to Equality" premieres at 10 p.m. Feb. 3 on CW17.

Then on Bounce TV, an all-star celebration of African American leaders at the 26th annual Trumpet Awards airs at 9 p.m. Feb. 17 on Bounce TV 17.2. Since 1993, these awards honor those who have achieved great things against huge odds.

At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, the 50th Miss Black America Pageant airs on CW17. Celebrate 50 years with the Alvin Ailey dancers, African drummers and more as a new Miss Black America is crowned.

The month caps off Sunday, Feb. 24 and March 3 at 10 p.m. on CW17 with "Mentoring Kings." This two-part special celebrates the national mentoring programs of celebrities, business entrepreneurs, educators and community leaders. "Mentoring Kings" also will air on Bounce TV 17.2 on Feb. 9 and 16 at noon.

WDIV-Local 4’s specials double the North American International Auto Show excitement

Photo taken Jan. 15, 2019, by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Photo taken Jan. 15, 2019, by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

DETROIT – Technology is taking center stage at the North American International Auto Show and WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit is covering the show from all angles. Viewers will get a trip to the show floor with two specials -- “Dateline Detroit: All About Autos,” airing Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and “Charity Preview” airing Friday at 7 p.m.

Local 4 News anchors Devin Scillian and Kimberly Gill host “Dateline Detroit: All About Autos,” from Cobo Center covering auto reveals, the latest breaking auto news and more.

“All About Autos” highlights:

· The significance of this marking the last of the January auto shows

· Autonomous vehicles and the moral ethics of artificial intelligence

· Will your compass also act as a moral compass?

· Driving in a “hangover” suit with Ford Motor Company -- and why it’s sometimes just as dangerous as driving drunk

“Charity Preview” takes viewers live to one the most exclusive and high-profile events in the nation.

Scillian and Gill host this one-hour special, along with Rhonda Walker, Evrod Cassimy, Ben Bailey, Jon Jordan and Kim DeGiulio. The special showcases concept cars of the future, the latest reveals and high-fashion glamour at this black-tie affair, benefiting a wide range of children’s charities. Local 4 talks one-on-one to the local and international auto industry leaders who make this world-class event happen.

The Official App of the North American International Auto Show, powered by Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit, is the navigation link to it all. The NAIAS app is a must-have tool for car enthusiasts heading to the Auto Show. Users have the information they need right at their fingertips -- and it’s free to download on Apple or Android devices by searching “WDIV Auto Show” at the app stores.

The app provides:

· Map of the Auto Show floor at Cobo Center

· Livestream video of vehicle unveilings on your phone

· Official news updates from ClickOnDetroit and the NAIAS

· Information about the show, ticket sales and more

The Official NAIAS app is presented by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, WDIV-TV Local 4 and and is sponsored by Oakland University.

Broadcasting & Cable promotes new season of 'Mismatch'

Season two, episode one is about the lives of Chang and Eng Bunker, the world’s first Siamese twins.

Season two, episode one is about the lives of Chang and Eng Bunker, the world’s first Siamese twins.

Just last week, Graham Media Group launched season two of the podcast series "Mismatch," hosted by longtime WDIV-TV reporter and anchor Roger Weber.

Broadcasting & Cable wrote about the exciting debut. Click or tap here to read the story in its entirety.

Mismatch features stories about the incompatible, the unsuitable and the out-of-step. There are eight episodes. Here's a breakdown of what each episode entails.

Go to, or download the podcast through Apple, Google, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or Overcast.

"Mismatch" is produced in partnership with WDIV-TV, one of Graham Media Group's seven TV stations. Joining forces with Weber is Zak Rosen, Graham Media Group’s Director of Podcasting, a Detroit-based audio producer who has worked with NPR, the BBC, Michigan Radio, WDET, Gimlet, Panoply and his own wife on their podcast, “Pregnant Pause with Zak and Shira.”

Graham Media Group releases second season of 'Mismatch' podcast series


Today, Graham Media Group dropped the second season of its popular “Mismatch” podcast series, hosted by longtime TV reporter and anchor Roger Weber.

The series features stories about the incompatible, the unsuitable, and the out of step. "More often than not, interesting stories feature a mismatch," Weber said.

Episode descriptions:

The Original Siamese Twins As conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker’s lives were astonishing. Their adventure -- beginning in 1811 in what is now Thailand, and ending in America -- was completely out of line with what anybody could have expected.

The Artificial Heart That Led to a 40-Year Feud Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Denton Cooley were two of the most prominent surgeons in the world. They were pioneers in the first open-heart operations. But Cooley triggered a 40-year feud when he took an artificial heart from DeBakey’s lab and implanted it in a patient.

The Religious Colony Promising Everlasting Life In 1903, Benjamin and Mary Purnell founded the House of David, a religious colony in Benton Harbor, Michigan. It grew to more than 1,000 members who vowed to give up meat, alcohol and sex in exchange for everlasting life. The colony would go on to make major contributions in the fields of technology, entertainment and sports before becoming embroiled in scandal.

I'm Never Using My Smartphone Again Let's face it. Most of us are addicted to our phones and the apps that populate them. This is a story of one former addict quitting her iPhone and social media cold turkey.

A Box Full of Letters and a Family's Tragic End Tim Mallad is the unlikely discoverer and steadfast keeper of a stranger’s story. One family’s tragedy grabbed him and wouldn't let go. For the story to finally emerge, 70 years later, strange things had to happen. This story is about Tim’s purchase of a piece of junk furniture in Detroit, his chance meeting with a Hollywood star and his unlikely decision when he was in his 20s to keep an old woman's fading letters.

Jose Feliciano's Anthem Encore It was 1968. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had already shaken Americans to the core. About 300 American soldiers were being killed each week in Vietnam and protesters were beaten near the Democratic National Convention. In that wrenching year, the nation needed a time-out. The 1968 World Series would provide that break. About 53,000 fans jammed Tiger Stadium, hoping their team could rally after trailing the Cardinals 3-1. Before the first pitch of Game 5, they removed their hats and rose from their seats to hear the most memorable and controversial performance of the national anthem in the history of American sports.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Gutsy, Crazy, Journey After having lost a presidential re-election bid, TR traveled to Brazil with his son to undertake an adventure in one of the most unexplored and intimidating tributaries of the Amazon.

Go to, or download the podcast through Apple, Google, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or Overcast.

"Mismatch" is produced in partnership with WDIV-TV, one of Graham Media Group's seven TV stations. Joining forces with Weber is Zak Rosen, Graham Media Group’s Director of Podcasting, a Detroit-based audio producer who has worked with NPR, the BBC, Michigan Radio, WDET, Gimlet, Panoply and his own wife on their podcast, “Pregnant Pause with Zak and Shira.”

“We have wonderful storytellers at all of our stations and the tremendous success from our first season of ‘Mismatch’ bears that out,” said Emily Barr, president and CEO of Graham Media Group. “With the ever-expanding interest in podcasts, we’re looking forward to sharing more real-life stories from our local communities that we know our listeners will find fascinating.”

WJXT-TV4 wins every major local news area in November

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Once again, THE Local Station is Jacksonville’s No. 1 source for local news, and WJXT has swept all major news areas with the adult 25-54 viewers -- the most coveted demographic for television advertisers.

Morning news leads the way with News4JAX at 4:30 a.m., beating the combined competition’s A25-54 ratings. News4JAX at 5 a.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.5 A25-54 rating, again beating the combined competition of WTLV, WJXX, WJAX and WFOX.

At 5:30 a.m., News4JAX won with a 3.1, more than doubling the nearest competitors' A25-54 rating. News4JAX at 6 a.m. is No. 1 with adults in the 6-7 a.m. time period, garnering a 3.1 A25-54 rating and an impressive 19 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 2.6 A25-54 rating and a 16 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" beats "Today" with and without Megyn Kelly, with a 1.4 A25-54.

News4JAX at 4 p.m. and "Inside Edition" take the time period with a 1.4 A25-54, beating "Dr. Phil," "Judge Judy" and "Ellen."

In evening news, News4JAX at 5 p.m. is most watched in the time period, with a 2.1 A25-54 rating. News4JAX at 5:30 p.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.1 A25-54 rating. News4JAX at 6 p.m., anchored by Mary Baer, Tom Wills and John Gaughan, is No. 1 with a 2.1 A25-54 rating and an 8 share.

The story continues in late news, with wins in The Ten O’Clock News at 10 and 10:30. WJXT is No. 1 at 10 p.m. with a 2.4 A25-54 rating and again at 10:30 p.m. with a 2.1 rating. News4JAX was No. 1 at 11 p.m. with a 1.8 A25-54, beating both the WJAX and WFOX Action News newscasts, even when added together.

“It is incredibly gratifying to our entire staff to see month after month, year after year, the viewers of Jacksonville choose News4JAX as their number one choice for local news,” Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis said. “We are so proud to be Jacksonville’s only truly local television station, serving this community and seeing how they respond to our commitment makes us work even harder to make Jacksonville a better place to live.”

Social News Desk president, founder set to moderate social media panel


Kim Wilson, president and founder of Social News Desk, is set to moderate a social media panel discussion next month.

Wilson will do so following the Social Media Excellence Awards, presented Dec. 10 at TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum.

The event is intended to honor the innovative, creative and effective use of social media.

"Winners were selected by a panel of judges from an initial pool of nominees culled from Social News Desk’s live database of 12,000 local news Facebook pages," TVNewsCheck said on its website. "Social News Desk calculated 15 million posts by those pages and identified those with the highest engagement per post as nominees in the awards’ four categories."

The sixth annual NewsTECHForum will be held at the New York Hilton. It brings together engineering, news, production and digital leaders to discuss excellence in news storytelling and workflow.

Wilson founded Social News Desk in 2010 after having started her career in local TV news. She created the SND platform with the needs of a newsroom in mind. Graham Media Group acquired the company in 2014, and Wilson remains at the helm of Social News Desk as president and founder.

Today, more than 2,500 newsrooms across five continents use Social News Desk to post, manage, display and monetize social media. Wilson regularly speaks to news organizations and industry groups about social media strategy and routinely contributes to several popular social media publications.

Wilson is a graduate of the University of Florida with a BS in Telecommunications. She has served as a member of the University of Florida’s Advisory Council to the College of Journalism since 2004. And, Social News Desk has been named one of the Top 15 Fastest Growing Companies led by a University of Florida graduate.

KSAT, KPRC take home Lone Star Emmy awards

Multimedia Journalist Erica Hernandez from KSAT-12.

Multimedia Journalist Erica Hernandez from KSAT-12.

Journalists from KSAT-12 and KPRC-2 were honored with Regional Emmy Awards at an event held in mid-November.

KSAT was recognized for its coverage of the Sutherland Springs church shooting and the aftermath that followed. Multimedia journalist Erica Hernandez was on the front lines as the story unfolded at the peaceful church in South Texas. She won the Regional Emmy for producing a special called “Sutherland Springs: One Month Later."

The KPRC-2 team took home nine big wins.

Below are the specifics. Congratulations, everyone!

KPRC2: Making Houston Stronger Through Service Jerry Martin, General Manager

KPRC2 In-Depth Reporting For Houston Dave Strickland, News Director Aaron Wische, Senior Executive Producer Dawn Campbell, Senior Executive Producer Mario Diaz, Investigative Reporter Bill Spencer, Investigative Reporter Jacob Rascon, Reporter/Anchor Amy Davis, Consumer Reporter

Hurricane Harvey's Unsung Heroes Sofia Ojeda, Reporter

Houston Film Commission: Sharon Sells Houston ... In Hollywood Mario Diaz, Producer Aaron Wische, Executive Producer William Carruthers, Producer Jon Hill, Photographer John Barone, Photographer

Inside MS 13 William Carruthers, Producer Jacob Rascon, Reporter Jeovany Luna, Photographer

Jim Murphy: At Over $312,000 A Year, Who Does He Represent? Mario Diaz, Producer William Carruthers, Producer Aaron Wische, Executive Producer Jon Hill, Photographer

Focus H1 Dash Cam: Changing Amber Alerts & Law Enforcement Mario Diaz, Reporter

On The Trail: Harvey And Irma Brandon Walker, Reporter

Mario Diaz: Channel 2 Investigates Mario Diaz, Reporter

WSLS 10 News dominates midterm election coverage


WSLS 10 News dominated the midterm election coverage.

The station was the only in the market with live crews at all candidates' victory parties in their three Congressional races. WSLS 10 News also had crews live from across Virginia, including in Charlottesville, Afton, Waynesboro, Roanoke, Abingdon and Bristol.

When it came to live updates, they delivered news seemlessly and quickly both on-air and online. WSLS 10 News was the first to project that Sen. Tim Kaine would be re-elected to a second term, as they broke the news at 7 p.m.

Online, the team was first with push alerts as well, providing them consistently throughout the night as winners were determined.

Additionally, the station livestreamed all the candidate speeches.

In anticipation of the midterm elections, all of Graham Media Group's stations remained committed to delivering more in-depth political coverage than their competitors. With journalists covering gubernatorial and U.S. Senate and House races across the country, among other local races, our stations brought viewers all the latest on the races with both close-to-home and national impacts.

“There’s so much focus on the White House, but governors and state legislators do much of the important public policy work in this country. It is our responsibility at the local level to cover local, state and federal elections actively and comprehensively across all platforms,” said Emily Barr, president and CEO.

Leading up to Tuesday night's election results, WSLS 10 News livestreamed the highly contested U.S. Senate race between Kaine, who was the incumbent, and his Republican challenger, Corey Steward. WSLS also aired and streamed the Chuck Todd-moderated debate between the two candidates. even produced a special 2018 election page for the occasion. This page contained information on all races, candidate bios, and voter information to assist viewers with getting to the polls.

For nearly three decades, Graham Media Group has given candidates in high-interest races free airtime to speak directly and uninterrupted to candidates -- and that tradition will continue. sets record for unique visitors to website

Jason Carr anchors for Local 4.

Jason Carr anchors for Local 4.

WDIV-Local 4 had more viewers than any other Metro Detroit TV station on Election Day. Starting in the morning and going throughout the night (6 a.m. on Nov. 6 to 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 7) the station averaged 100,000 people (adults ages 18 and older), and peaked as high as 200,000 (in the same demographic) during the evening coverage.

WDIV-Local 4’s website,, set a record with the highest number of unique visitors for the year, with nearly 1.1 million users.

More than 800,000 Facebook users engaged with Local 4’s election videos and stories, and nearly 50,000 people viewed WDIV’s livestream coverage online.

“The number of people looking for election information on all of our platforms, whether it was watching it on TV, online or through social media was phenomenal,” said Marla Drutz, Local 4’s vice president and general manager. “The night was a culmination of two things -- our commitment to encouraging voter participation prior to the elections and on being a station that provides news on any device people want.”

“It’s a massive effort, and everyone’s dedication is what makes it all come together,” news director Kim Voet said. “From our reporters out on the streets to our newsroom team compiling results throughout the night, this is the good, honest journalism that our community craves.”

Added digital executive producer Dustin Block, “Months of planning led to a record night on ClickOnDetroit. Every department at WDIV and our Graham Media Group digital team came together to deliver accurate, timely results.” is also the No. 1 TV website in Metro Detroit, according to the most recent comScore delivery (September 2018).

Mara MacDonald reports for Local 4.

Mara MacDonald reports for Local 4.

KPRC 2 launches 'The Eyes of Texas' podcast


HOUSTON – Almost 50 years after it first launched, KPRC 2 is proud to announce the return of its iconic brand, "The Eyes of Texas" as a digital podcast.

Hosted by KPRC 2 news reporter Brandon Walker, "The Eyes of Texas" will once again be traveling Texas in search of the stories that define state pride and meeting up with a variety of Texans doing big things along the way.

“For many Houstonians, 'The Eyes of Texas' is synonymous with KPRC 2,” said Vice President/General Manager Jerry Martin. “We think this is the perfect vehicle to spotlight as a podcast on our digital platforms.”

Originally hosted by former KPRC-TV news director Ray Miller, and then KPRC anchor Ron Stone, "The Eyes of Texas" aired original episodes on Channel 2 from 1969 to 1999. A series of “best of” episodes aired in 2007, followed by new episodes hosted by KPRC anchors Bill Balleza and Dominique Sachse in 2009.

Subscribe to "The Eyes of Texas" podcast on: Google Play Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. Follow the podcast on Twitter: @eyesoftxpodcast and online here. You can enjoy a new episode every Tuesday.

WJXT-TV4 wins every major news area in October


Jacksonville, FL -- THE Local Station is again Jacksonville’s No. 1 source for local news and swept all major news areas with viewers between the ages of 25-54.

Morning News leads the way. News4JAX at 4:30 a.m. is No. 1, beating the combined competition’s A25-54 ratings. News4JAX at 5 a.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.6 A25-54 rating, again beating the combined competition of WTLV, WJXX, WJAX and WFOX. At 5:30 a.m., News4JAX won with a 3.0, doubling the nearest competitors' A25‑54 rating. News4JAX at 6 a.m. is No. 1 with adults in the 6-7 a.m. time period, garnering a 3.2 A25-54 rating and a 19 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 2.9 A25-54 rating and a 17 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" with a 1.8 A25-54.

News4JAX at 4 p.m. and "Inside Edition" take the time period with a 1.5 A25-54, topping Dr. Phil, Wendy Williams, Judge Judy and Ellen.

In Evening News, News4JAX at 5 p.m. is most watched in the time period with a 2.3 A25‑54 rating. News4JAX at 5:30 p.m. is No. 1 in the time period with a 2.7 A25-54 rating. News4JAX at 6 p.m. anchored by Mary Baer, Tom Wills and John Gaughan is No. 1 with a 3.0 A25-54 rating and an 11 share. At 6:30 p.m., News4JAX beat out all network news with a 2.6 A25-54.

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 3.0 A25-54 rating and again at 10:30 p.m. with a 2.4 rating. News4JAX was No. 1 at 11 p.m. with a 2.0 A25-54, nearly beating both the WJAX and WFOX Action Newscasts added together.

WKMG-TV executive producer helps homeless teen land full college scholarship


At the start of Savohn Thomas' senior year of high school, the Orange County, Florida teen found himself homeless and moving from one place to another. At times, he even spent nights at a bus stop.

"Honestly, I didn't want to feel like anybody's burden," Thomas said. "It was a lot of times I wanted to give up. It was a lot of times I wanted to drop out."

But he didn't. Thomas used his passion for poetry, acting and being on stage as an outlet. And he's talented: his craft earned him some pretty big honors.

WKMG-TV learned about Thomas and his story, and wanted to help. Specifically, executive producer Tara Evans wanted to help. But it's safe to say, she had no idea just how much she could lend a hand.

For a station that works hard every day to "get results," Evans certainly delivered.

"Savohn is pretty extraordinary," Evans said. "I attended AMDA -- the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. And I knew that a girl that I graduated with still worked there. So I got in touch with her and I was like, 'Hey, you know, I've got this kid. He's going there, he's been accepted. So is it possible that maybe you could consider him for a work-study program? I think that would be really great. ... A few weeks later, his scholarship had been upped to what's called a director scholarship."

And the scholarship had increased from $40,000 to nearly $150,000.

Thomas came on News 6's morning show to do a live interview with the anchors and talk about his future, based on the life-changing news he had just received.

"So, we were super excited, and I didn't really realize at the time, like, exactly why they decided to do that," Evans said of the massive scholarship increase. "And I was like, 'Oh, by the way, why'd you decide to give him the extra money?' And they were like, 'Oh, because of you. Because you sent us the story.'"

At first, Evans said, she didn't want any of the spotlight or attention for what had transpired.

"I was just doing something nice as a human," she said with a laugh. She had no idea the school would step up and cover four years of Thomas' schooling.

Added Thomas, "This is everything to me -- literally everything. And I'm not going to let this slip away."

"Not every day is always fun," Evans said of the job. "(But) this day -- those days, are what make what we do here worth it."

Now, Thomas will go from walking nearly 20 miles to high school, to New York City.

The musical "In the Heights" brought out his talent. It was on June 2 when Thomas' theater class performed at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts -- a night Thomas said he'll never forget.

"It was a total surprise," he said. "I did not know anything that was going on that night that I got it."

Thomas is referring to becoming the first Applause Awards student recipient of the Pursuit of the Arts OCPS scholarship. Although Evans helped with the scholarship, Thomas got into AMDA on his own.

"Even though I am scared, even though I am afraid -- because I've never been out of where I grew up, this means more to me because it gives me those dreams that I had as a kid," he said.

WKMG-TV news director elected to board of Radio Television Digital News Association

Congratulations are in order for Graham Media Group WKMG News 6 News Director Allison McGinley after running a successful campaign to hold a coveted seat on the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Board of Directors.

Allison McGinley.jpg

The election results were officially announced at the closing business session of the RTDNA's Excellence in Journalism conference in Baltimore, MD Saturday, September 29, 2018. As a regional board member, the Orlando, Florida based News Director will now be representing the RTDNA's Region 13 which serves Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The RTDNA is the world's largest professional organization of radio, television, and online news directors, producers, executives, reporters, students and educators. Among its functions are the maintenance of journalistic ethics and the preservation of the free speech rights of broadcast journalists. Founded in 1946, the RTDNA is a legacy organization designed to set standards for the field of broadcast journalism, and to defend the First Amendment in instances where broadcast media may be threatened.

"Simply put I love this business. I believe in what we do and why we do it," Allison commented when asked why she decided to run for Regional Board Member. "Our industry is undergoing a transformational shift and we must keep pace or risk being left behind. But keeping pace should never mean forsaking our foundation."

As stated by the RTDNA, "The Board of Directors shapes RTDNA's and the industry's future by setting priorities, guiding training initiatives and responding to threats to press freedom."

"Journalists need to be able to stick together. We need to mentor new journalists and we need to be able to empower each other in whatever positions we are in," Allison stated. "It is important to guide each other, check each other and continue to make sure we are making the right ethical decisions as we continue to tackle tough topics now more than ever before. Journalism is under attack and as there is a level of safety in numbers we need to stick together. If we don't stick together and fight for our first amendment rights, then we are failing our communities. This position on the RTDNA will allow me to mentor new journalists, empower current journalists and help to defend our communities."

Allison is a native of Central Florida and has served WKMG News 6 and the members of the community for over 20 years. As such, her campaign was run on giving a voice to the members of the broadcast media and the people of the communities they represent.

WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit to host Gubernatorial Debate between Bill Schuette, Gretchen Whitmer

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WDIV-Local 4 will host “Decision 2018: Gubernatorial Debate” between candidates Bill Schuette and Gretchen Whitmer at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24.

Devin Scillian and Kimberly Gill will moderate the hour-long debate at the WDIV-Local 4 studios in downtown Detroit. Questions will be determined by the moderators and include opening and closing statements.

The live event will air on WDIV-Local 4 and stream live on

The debate is expected to be simulcast in most parts of the state on other television stations.

New season of 'Shattered' podcast reveals real-life story of White Boy Rick


It's back: Graham Media Group is announcing a new, eight-episode season of “Shattered,” an original true-crime podcast series. Season two, hosted by Kevin Dietz, takes listeners through the life of Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” the youngest-ever FBI informant-turned-drug dealer.

Season two of the eight-part series, "Shattered: White Boy Rick," chronicles the series of circumstances that led the 14-year-old to become a valuable drug informant during the apex of the War on Drugs. Once the FBI and Detroit Police Department no longer needed Wershe’s information, he transformed into a drug dealer in his own right, only to be sentenced to life without parole when he was 17.

Dietz, an Investigative Reporter with WDIV-Local 4 who has covered news in Detroit for almost three decades, takes listeners through the life of Wershe Jr.

“When Dietz decided to take on the story of White Boy Rick, he didn’t (just) report the facts. He lived and breathed the story, doggedly finding every angle possible and every interview available, by spending days, nights and many weekends with those close to this story," said Ro Coppola, Executive Producer of Special Projects at WDIV. "He single-handedly kept Wershe’s parole story alive in the public and with the authorities.”

“The story of Richard Wershe Jr. is unique on many levels,” Dietz said. “From behind bars, Wershe helped the FBI catch more criminals but also became involved in an illegal car theft ring. While some in law enforcement say his informing should have led to his release from prison decades ago, others say his willingness to help steal cars shows he has not been reformed and should stay locked up. Wershe holds the dubious honor of being the longest serving nonviolent juvenile offender in Michigan history and remains behind bars today, more than 30 years after his arrest.”

The series features extensive interviews with Wershe, law enforcement officials, former drug bosses, legal professionals who worked on the case, as well as family and friends of Wershe’s. The podcast is released in advance of the forthcoming Hollywood feature film, also titled “White Boy Rick,” starring Matthew McConaughey (who appears in the podcast, as well).

Shattered: White Boy Rick premieres Sept. 6, 2018. The entire series will be available for free on Apple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast listening platform.

For more information, visit

'High Rise – The Flood and Fury of Hurricane Irma' presented by GMG's WJXT Films

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We're proud to announce that High Rise – The Flood and Fury of Hurricane Irma premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 on WJXT. The First Coast is no stranger to hurricanes, however, during Hurricane Irma, Jacksonville experienced record-shattering inland flooding.

Narrated by News4JAX anchor Mary Baer, the hour-long documentary artfully weaves together stories from those who withstood Irma’s devastating effects. The compelling and raw recounting of events features never-before-seen footage, including the heartstopping moments as people react to the sheer magnitude of Irma’s force.

With $50 billion in damage, Irma was coined one of the costliest and most damaging storms. It made landfall seven times, four of which were as a Category 5 hurricane. Despite such staggering numbers, almost everyone survived.

“The storm surge was nothing like we’d seen before. We watched as water surrounded the station, knowing our reporters and photographers were out there relentlessly covering viewers’ resiliency,” WJXT Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis said. “Our coverage and even life-saving actions were a true testament to the amount of pride we take in being The Local Station.”

In combination with The Weather Authority’s Chief Meteorologist John Gaughan and Richard Nunn, as well as News4JAX anchors, reporters and photographers, the gripping documentary reveals the jaw-dropping moments that changed the community.

High Rise explores the cost of economic progression in a city prone to rising waters. As the natural disaster unfolds before viewers’ eyes, they are left with a powerful call-to-action about the necessity of preparedness.

Equally riveting as it is emotional, High Rise – The Flood and Fury of Hurricane Irma, is not to be missed.

Graham Media Group’s Catherine Badalamente featured by Local Media Association ahead of summit


One of the headliners of the upcoming Women in Local Media Summit, Catherine Badalamente, has been featured on the LMA website, discussing Graham Media Group’s commitment to gender diversity.

Badalamente, GMG’s VP of Digital Media, is scheduled to speak at the inaugural event, aimed at tackling diversity and gender issues in the media industry in an honest, transparent and proactive way, LMA said online.

Her session will be a part of the Media Transformation Conference, set for September.

LMA is leading up to the conference by featuring some of the biggest names and most relevant sessions, so that people know what to expect. Below is the interview from the story:

Graham Media has a great reputation for its commitment to gender diversity. Why has it been so important for the company?

Graham Media and Graham Holdings (the former Washington Post Company) have a long history of believing in “the diversity of voices.” From Katharine Graham, former chief executive and board chair of The Washington Post Company: “It is long-standing policy of the Post Company to enlist in each of its enterprises the best professional journalists we can find and give them a maximum of freedom in which to work. Each branch is operated autonomously. They compete vigorously with one another. They disagree on many issues. We think that the result is journalism of a high caliber that is notable for a diversity of voices on a wide range of public issues.”

This culture has long existed in our company and leadership believes it is imperative to have a diverse group of people that allow for a diverse set of ideas, opinions and experiences. We need a diverse contribution from our employees in order to effectively serve our audiences. We must reflect the communities we serve.

What does it say about the company that 60% of the senior management executives are women?

This gender equality stat is something I am proud to be a part of. Unfortunately, this is rare in our industry.

Tell us a little about the company’s mentorship program:

It starts at the top. Our President and CEO, Emily Barr, is known in the industry and beyond as being the ultimate mentor. She is always willing to spend time with anyone and everyone–giving advice, looking at career development and training opportunities and providing valuable connections.

She sets the bar high. She also sets the tone for our company leadership to create and participate in programs that support the values of the company.

Graham has an unique internal leadership program called, “Boss School,” where, according to Julie Dreixler, our VP and CHRO, it “helps to develop newly minted managers in a secure environment. Our company’s culture, philosophies and values are explained.” Graham Media also participates in and strongly supports programs like the Emma Bowen Foundation.

Is there a tip or two you could share that you think could help other companies have more of a commitment to gender diversity?

Hire great people that have diverse voices, ideas, skills and backgrounds. Don’t hire everyone to look and think like you do.