Tag Archives: Nexstar

WTVO’s High School Quiz Show Goes Illinois-Wide

WTVO-WQRF’s high school quiz show, the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl, will include a statewide invitational tournament this spring.

WTVO is the ABC affiliate in Rockford, Ill., owned by Mission Broadcasting, and is the sister station to WQRF, the Fox affiliate owned by Nexstar, through a shared services agreement.

In January of 2015, WTVO-WQRF launched the area’s first locally-produced, half-hour game show featuring 22 academic teams from local area high schools in a test of knowledge.

Kelly Lattimer

“Within a few weeks of the show’s premiere, word had spread quickly, and we were bombarded by requests from academic teams across the region asking how they could get involved for Season Two,” said Kelly Lattimer, WQRF, general manager.

“It’s time to expand the brand statewide,” said Lattimer.

“We’ve heard from numerous academic coaches that our show is well-known in scholastic bowl circles. We’re told that kids and coaches from academic teams in other markets are envious and wish they had a show like ours. So, we decided it was time to give folks across the state the opportunity to experience what Rockford has been doing the past three years.”

Eight top academic teams from across the state will be invited to compete in the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl Tournament of Champions.

The Tournament of Champions will be played April 28 and 29 in the historic Nordlof Center in downtown Rockford. All matches will be recorded live to tape and will air for eight consecutive weeks May 26 to July 15.

WTVO-WQRF anchor Eric Wilson will be the show’s host.

The Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl Tournament of Champions will be carried on a five-market regional network reaching more than four million TV households.

Network affiliates include WCUU Chicago, WCIX Champaign, WMBD Peoria, WHBF Quad Cities and WTVO-WQRF Rockford.

Specific telecast dates and times in each market are yet to be determined.

The Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl recently celebrated its 100th episode.

“We couldn’t have done one show, much less 100, without the schools taking part and the support of our great sponsors,” said Lattimer.

To help celebrate 100 episodes, Nexstar has announced that during the Season Four finale on May 18, it will award each member of the winning team a $1,000 grant. Students participating on the second-place team will take home $500.

Click here to read how a Nexstar station in Phoenix started its own version of a high school quiz show.

Click here to read how WTVO started the high school quiz show back in January of 2015.

Tim Busch

NOTE: Tim Busch, Nexstar Broadcasting president, says WTVO’s high school quiz show was shared at Nexstar’s general managers meeting last year as an example of “best practices,” and says multiple Nexstar markets are reviewing it.

“We’ve encouraged our other GMs to consider it for their market. And I think you’ll see it roll out in its own time. Rest assured there will be other markets that will pick it up. They can do something that’s unique and different and it’s all about local.”

Grendel Levy New News Director At Nexstar’s WOWK

Grendel Levy

Grendel Levy is the new news director at WOWK, Nexstar’s CBS affiliate in Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. She starts later this month.

Levy joins WOWK from Boise, Idaho, where she worked for 7 years at ABC affiliate, KIVI, first as executive producer and then for the past 4 years as the station’s news director.

“I am sad to leave a team I truly respect and admire,” said Levy about KIVI, “but I am excited about this new challenge and the next chapter in my life! I look forward to many successes for my new team at WOWK.”

Levy shared this note she sent to her team at KIVI:

My News Family,

My heart aches as I type this. When you work with a group of people this closely, many of you for almost 7 years, it definitely feels like a family. We’ve won together, lost together and grown together. We’ve shared stressful moments and many happy times. We’ve come so far together and I’ll forever be proud of all of your accomplishments. I know that momentum will continue and I can’t wait to hear of future victories. We are so close! Just remember — unique content is what it’s all about. You are a very talented team of story tellers and you outshine all of the others in the market. Keep it up… and keep raising the bar!

Today it’s with great sadness that I must say I have decided to move on. I’ve accepted a job as news director of WOWK in Charleston, West Virginia.

NOTE: I worked with Levy briefly at KIVI when I was parachuted into Boise in 2011 for several months to help with the station’s marketing.

Hands On Buzzers, Quiz Show Comes To KASW

One of the benefits and strengths of being part of a large broadcast group like Nexstar is the ability to share and duplicate successful ideas from one market and station to another.

Three years ago, I wrote about a high school quiz show, Stateline Quiz Bowl by Bergstrom, on WTVO, the brainchild of Kelly Lattimer, WTVO-WQRF’s general manager.

WTVO is Mission Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate in Rockford, Ill., while WQRF is Nexstar’s Fox affiliate. The stations share studios.

A local TV high school quiz show combines the perfect venue for education awareness, community support, corporate PR, inventive local programming and station revenue.


And now the idea is being tested in Phoenix on the CW affiliate there, KASW. The half-hour show debuts on Feb. 1. It will feature students from local high schools in a test of their knowledge and give them a chance to win prizes.

Read On

WJLA Ups Andy Calhoun To Local Sales Manager

Andy Calhoun

WJLA, Sinclair’s ABC affiliate in Washington, has promoted Andy Calhoun to local sales manager.

Calhoun has been the digital sales manager at the station since 2016.

“I’m thrilled to represent such a powerhouse news organization here in Washington and look forward to bringing new perspective to conversations with our agency partners and valued clients,” said Calhoun.

Prior to working at WJLA, Calhoun was the digital sales director at WCSC in Charleston, S.C., from 2014 to 2016.

Before that, he spent 10 years with Nexstar at various stations in Texas and Little Rock, Ark.

WROC Digital Dude Snaps Shots That Go Viral

John Kucko

If you don’t live in or near Rochester, N.Y., you may not have heard of John Kucko, but more than likely you’ve seen his pictures and drone photography.

Like his picture of a lake house encased in ice, a viral sensation last March.

John Kucko has covered more than 16 Super Bowls, providing live reports to many Nexstar stations around the country.

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WCMH Helps Serve 7 Million Meals To Ohio Families

WCMH, Nexstar’s NBC affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, partnered with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to raise almost $1.8 million in an 18-hour fundraiser last week.

The Double Your Donation Day collected enough money to serve 7 million meals to central Ohio families.

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WTVO Puts Tongue In Cheek For Holiday Promos

Shawn Anderson

Aaron Rice

WTVO and WQRF, the ABC and Fox affiliates in Rockford, Ill., created some lighthearted holiday promos this year.

WTVO is owned by Mission Broadcasting, and is operated through a shared services agreement with Nexstar, which owns WQRF.

Shawn Anderson, WTVO-WQRD’s creative services director, shared these spots along with a note.

Read On

Creativity, Flexibility Drive Best News Topicals

This is Part 4 of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 3 here.

News topicals can take many forms.

Some creative services directors and topical writer/producers say recording the main news anchor sitting behind the anchor desk works best for their station.

Others see value in shooting their news anchor in the newsroom, cinéma vérité style.
And other stations try to feature real people and sound bites, along with reporter teases from the field.

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Finding And Keeping News Topical Writer/Producers

This is Part 3 of our five-part series Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 2 here.

Creative services directors are finding it harder and harder to find good news topical writer/producers.

Some grow their own, plucking them right out of college, perhaps as interns, and train them. Others look internally, finding someone already at the station who wants to be creative.

With bigger salaries to offer, CSDs in bigger markets have the ability to recruit from smaller markets, but that presents challenges, too.

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Danielle Ray Takes Over Marketing At WDAF

Danielle Ray

WDAF, Tribune’s Fox affiliate owned in Kansas City, named Danielle Ray to be the station’s new creative services director.

Ray starts the first week in January. Ray will continue to be the CSD for KARK, Nexstar’s NBC affiliate in Little Rock, Ark., through the holidays.

“Danielle is an innovative creative ambassador,” said Tracy Brogden Miller, WDAF’s general manager, “bringing both big picture marketing and digital experience to Kansas City. We are delighted to have her as part of our Fox 4 family.”

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