Dawn Jones will return to SJL Broadcasting’s WJRT (Channel 12) in Flint at the end of May. She will take over some of Karen Gatlin’s anchoring duties.
Dawn Jones is headed home to TV after a stint at City Hall.
Jones was a reporter and anchor at WJRT (Channel 12) but left in 2009, when Flint Mayor Dayne Walling appointed her communications director for City Hall.
Now, she’s headed back to the news desk at the end of May.
“I enjoy the news. I really enjoy it,” Jones said. “It’s always wonderful to go back home.”
WJRT anchor Karen Gatlin is retiring, and Jones will take over some her duties, anchoring at noon and 4 p.m.
Long-time news anchor Bill Harris is no longer employed by WJRT (Channel 12) in Flint. Harris is in “active discussions” with local news rivals WNEM (Channel 5) and WEYI (Channel 25).
Longtime WJRT (Channel 12) news anchor Bill Harris says he has worked his last day for ABC12.
Harris said today that his work on special projects for the station ended with this year’s Holiday Pops concert and said he is in active discussions with both WNEM (Channel 5) and WEYI (Channel 25) about joining one of those rival stations.
“My vision for what I want to do … didn’t mesh with (the work at) ABC12,” Harris said. “It is hurting me deeply (but) the marriage wasn’t perfect.
Jayne Hodak has been promoted to news director at SJL Broadcasting’s WJRT in Flint. Hodak replaces Jim Bleicher. Also, Kathy Reynolds has replaced Jeff Reinarz as news director of Barrington’s Broadcasting’s WEYI in Flint. Reinarz will stay on as the media operations manager.
WJRT-TV, Flint, MI: JAYNE HODAK has been promoted to News Director for this SJL Broadcasting owned ABC affiliate. She has been the Assistant ND here, and replaces longtime WJRT ND JIM BLEICHER. Bleicher left the station in late March, shortly after SJL took over ownership of the station from ABC, from whom SJL had bought the station in 1995. Jayne’s a former EP in Raleigh, and has also worked in Lansing and Detroit, where her father JERRY HODAK spent many years as the chief meteorologist for WXYZ-TV.
WEYI-TV, Flint, MI: KATHY REYNOLDS has been named ND for this Barrington Broadcasting owned NBC affiliate. Kathy has been running the newsroom at WAOW-TV in Wausaw, WI, most recently. Earlier she was an investigative reporter and Special Projects Manager for WGGB-TV in Springfield, MA. She’s also worked in Grand Rapids, MI, Burlington, Fargo, and Elmira, NY. She replaces JEFF REINARZ who continues as Media Operations Manager here, overseeing promotion and operations. He’s been doing double duty as ND since January, 2009.
Rick Gevers and Associates
Bill Harris will return to the air today on SJL Broadcasting’s WJRT in Flint. Harris will report from a homeland security training conference in Grand Rapids during the newscasts at 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. It is not clear what role he will take with the station.
Nearly a month after being let go from his anchor position at WJRT (Channel 12), Bill Harris will return to the air today, according to the station’s website.
Harris will report from a homeland security training conference in Grand Rapids at the 4, 5 and 6 p.m. shows.
“Harris will use his more than 30 years experience with local, state and federal agencies to explain what the training entails and why it’s important to Mid-Michigan residents,” an article on the website says.
It is unclear what role Harris will take with the station.
David Harris | Flint Journal
Veteran news anchors Bill Harris and Joel Feick depart SJL Broadcasting’s WJRT in Flint. News director Jim Bleicher left the station last week.
In another apparent shake-up at WJRT (Channel 12), two top on-air talents are reportedly no longer with the station.
Both Bill Harris and Joel Feick are no longer working at the station, multiple sources have confirmed.
Harris has worked at the station since 1977, according to ABC12′s website. Feick has worked at the station since 1983.
Changes are being made following the purchase of the Mid-Michigan ABC affiliate by SJL Broadcasting, which agreed to buy the station from Walt Disney Co. in November and recently finalized the deal.
Khalil AlHajal | The Flint Journal
Jim Bleicher has departed WJRT in Flint after the station’s change in ownership to SJL Broadcasting. Bleicher was WJRT’s news director for over two decades.
Jim Bleicher, who led WJRT‘s newsroom for over two decades, has departed his news director post amid an ownership change at the Flint ABC-affiliate.
According to sources, Bleicher’s final day with WJRT was last Friday–the same day that SJL Broadcasting took over ownership of the station. Last week the company, which agreed to buy WJRT from ABC in November, announced that general manager Tom Bryson was leaving the station. Bryson was replaced by Peter Veto, who has a longstanding relationship with SJL.
Jayne Hodak, who served as assistant news director under Bleicher, has been appointed acting news director as Veto considers Bleicher’s successor.
SJL Broadcasting is replacing the general managers at WJRT in Flint and WTVG in Toledo. Peter Veto is the new GM at WJRT and John Christianson is the new GM at WTVG.
SJL Broadcasting, which officially takes over WJRT Flint and WTVG Toledo tomorrow, is replacing the stations’ longtime general managers, Tom Bryson and David Zamichow. Both executives have opted to leave on their own, says SJL President George Lilly, and both replacements come from within the extended Lilly family.
“Both of them are class people,” says Lilly. “We would’ve kept both in a heartbeat.”
WJRT’s new GM is Peter Veto, who will also be director of sales at WJRT and WTVG. He comes from Lilly Broadcasting’s WENY-EENY-GENY, an ABC-CBS-CW trio in Elmira, New York.
WTVG’s new GM is John Christianson, who also comes from Lilly Broadcasting. He’s been general manager at WSEE, WBEP and One Caribbean Television in Erie, Pennsylvania since 2007.
Broadcasting & Cable
George Lilly talks about his purchase of ABC O&Os WJRT in Flint and WTVG in Toledo.
Buy low, sell high. George Lilly has been applying that basic business principle in the buying and selling stations since 1983.
In 2005, he partnered with the private equity firm The Blackstone Group to form Montecito Broadcast Group and purchased four stations from Emmis Communications for $259 million. Less than two years later, he flipped the stations to New Vision for a figure somewhere north of $330 million.
Now he thinks he can work that buy-low, sell-high formula at least one more time. Backed by Sankaty Advisors, a unit of Bain Capital, Lilly last month agreed to buy two small-market ABC O&Os — WJRT-TV Flint, Mich., and WTVG Toledo, Ohio — for $30 million.
With the worst of the recession apparently past and new sources of revenue beginning to materialize, Lilly believes the stations’ price tag is low and that he will be able to sell at a considerable markup several years from now.