Category: KNBC

Vickie Burns out as news director at NBC4 in Los Angeles

NBC4 in Burbank

NBC4 news director Vickie Burns, the sometimes-abrasive executive who expanded the station with a digital news station, announced in an email to fellow employees Friday that she was leaving the station after a little more than a year and a half.

Burns' message to the Burbank newsroom said she was making the move of her own accord after discussions with Valari Staab, head of NBC's owned-and-operated stations, and Steve Carlston, general manager of NBC4, formerly known as KNBC-TV.

Several employees have quietly complained about what they said was Burns' sometimes-confrontational management style. Latinos in the news department expressed concern about losing status under the Burns regime. And Staab complained when she took over last year about NBC4's "sloppy" production.

Burns introduced California Nonstop, a 24-hour news and feature station on the outer reaches of the cable spectrum. Understaffed from the start, that initiative got less and less attention in recent months as the news operation refocused on improving core newscasts. Naysayers in the newsroom depicted California Nonstop as just part of a move to lighter content over more serious news.

Originally from Chicago, Burns said in her email she had "decided to move my career back to my roots," east of the Mississippi River. She talked in her email about pride in a number of initiatives, including California Nonstop and the relaunching of a midday newscast. She also touted a number of awards the NBC affiliate won during her tenure.

Burns had taken over for Steve Lange, another news director who drew the ire of some employees for his focus on light feature coverage. He brought in one of the "Real Housewives of Orange County" cast members to report one story.

One NBC executive in New York said this week that the network's Los Angeles affiliate had suffered from a lack of investment in recent years, a problem that he said should be corrected by Comcast's purchase of the network and the rest of NBCUniversal last year.

The executive, who asked not to be named discussing internal divisions, said former ABC veteran Staab was also determined to bring a harder news sensibility to all of NBCs affiliates. It was not immediately known who would replace Burns.

-- James Rainey

Twitter: latimesrainey

Photo: NBC studios in Burbank. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images

Jennifer Bjorklund, KNBC reporter and anchor, leaves

Jennifer bjorklund cropped (3)
Veteran KNBC reporter and anchor Jennifer Bjorklund has left KNBC Channel 4.

Bjorklund had worked since 2000 at the station and also wrote a daily online column for called "What's Jen Clicking on Between Newscasts," which had also been posted on her homepage. Executives at the station said her contract had expired and was not renewed.

On her website, Bjorklund said she was intererted in "the story behind the story, or a detail that may have been left out in the shuffle of the daily news rush ... the thing that's not the most important part of the story but a tidbit that might shed a little light on how the story became news in the first place."


SAG Awards: Why 'Homeland' was snubbed for "Harry's Law"

All Christmas all the time on TV

— Greg Braxton

Photo: Jennifer Bjorklund. Photo credit: KNBC.



NBCUniversal knocked for lack of diversity after Comcast merger

NBC last season heavily promoted its commitment to boosting racial diversity in front of and behind the camera, programming several series such as "Undercovers" and "The Event" that featured minorities in major roles.

The development of the shows was largely in response to opponents of NBC's merger with cable giant Comcast who claimed that the network had a historically bad record of hiring African Americans in front of and behind the camera.

Little more than six months after the approval of the merger, NBC and its Los Angeles owned station KNBC have come under fire for what critics say is a lack of diversity. KNBC has been criticized for the absence of Latino anchors in prime newscasts, while the slate of new shows on NBC has only one minority in a leading role.

For more on the story, read here.


NBC calls it quits on 'Undercovers'

TCA 2011: NBC Entertainment chief looks to inject 'creative vitality'

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Boris Kodjoe, left, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw of the now-canceled NBC show "Undercovers." Credit: Frank Ockenfels / NBC

KNBC weathercaster apologizes after calling NBC's Al Roker 'a kook' on the air

KNBC-TV Channel 4 morning weathercaster Elita Loresca apologized to viewers after making an off-the-cuff remark Friday morning about NBC "Today" weather anchor Al Roker when she thought her mike was off.

The comment came after Roker, who was in Rockefeller Center in New York City, called out from a high platform to a massive crowd awaiting a live performance from Bruno Mars, proclaiming, "My people."

The camera switched to a shot of KNBC's chart of the seven-day forecast. Loresca, who was off-camera, could be heard saying, "Oh, my God, Al Roker is a kook." She then started singing a lyric from one of Mars' hits, saying that she was going to have that song "in her head" all day. Seconds later, she appeared on-camera, which quickly switched back to the "Today" crowd.

Loresca later appeared and told viewers that there had been a "audio mishap" earlier in which she made a "playful comment about my good friend Al Roker. She said if anyone was offended, "I truly apologize."

[Updated at 12:28 p.m.: Roker apparently regarded the remark with good humor. He tweeted: "So Elita Loresca of KNBC called me a kook during a cut in. I know Elita. She was joking. And some mornings I am kooky. No big whoop."

Loresca responded with her own tweet to Roker: "You know I love ya ... Can't wait to see you the next time you're in L.A.!"]

-- Greg Braxton



Lucy Noland Joins KNBC Channel 4 as anchor and reporter

Noland head shot Lucy Noland, coanchor of the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newcasts at CBS affiliate KHOU-TV in Houston will join KNBC Channel 4 News on July 11 as an anchor and a reporter.

Noland has worked at KHOU since 2007. She previously cohosted "Good Day New York," the morning show at the Fox owned- and-operated WNYW-TV in New York. She also briefly anchored that station's midday newscast.

"Lucy is smart, warm funny and a definite people person -- all qualities that are perfect for a career in journalism," said KNBC Vice President of News Vickie Burns. "She is an engaging and dynamic reporter who brings a strong commitment to her community."

-- Greg Braxton

Photo credit: KNBC 

KNBC, KTTV big winners at Golden Mike Awards

KNBC and KTTV won top honors Saturday at the 61st Annual Golden Mike Awards, which salutes excellence in broadcast and Internet journalism.

The Radio and Television News Assn. honored KNBC for daytime and half-hour newscasts, while KTTV won for 60-minute newscast.

Regis Philbin, the host of "Live with Regis and Kelly" who announced his retirement from that show last week, was presented with the first-ever broadcast legend award.

Veteran local news anchors Kelly Lange and Jose A. Ronstadt were presented with lifetime achievement awards. Lange, who retired from KNBC, is currently a novelist while Ronstadt is an anchor at Telemundo.

In the radio division, KNX-AM  won for top newscast over 15 minutes, while KFI-AM won for newscasts under 15 minutes.

-- Greg Braxton



CBS 2 News to catch the early bird at 4:30 a.m.

CBS 2 will join the early-morning news race Tuesday when it adds a newscast at 4:30, station officials announced Friday.

The newscast, which will be anchored by Kent Shocknek and Lisa Sigell, will replace the CBS Morning News.

With the addition of the news broadcast, the pre-dawn local news race will become even more competitive. KNBC, KTLA, KABC and Fox News 11 all have newscasts starting at at 4:30 a.m., hoping to attract early-morning commuters and students.

— Greg  Braxton

KNBC news director resigns

KNBC-TV Channel 4 news director Steve Lange, who has only been at the station for about three months, resigned Tuesday, just a few weeks after coming under criticism for focusing on entertainment elements during newscasts.

Station executives said that Lange, who had replaced retiring news director Robert Long, had decided to return to his independent production company.

"After a great deal of consideration, I have decided to return to the full-time management of my independent production company, Steve Lange Productions," Lange, who also had the title of vice president of content, said in a statement to staffers. "Although I have been with you for only a short time, I want you to know how much I appreciate your work and tireless dedication."

Susan Tully, whom executives called "an experienced journalist and news leader from our Dallas station," will serve as interim news director until a permanent replacement is named.

-- Greg Braxton

Former KABC-TV anchor Kathy Vara joins KNBC

Vara Former KABC Channel 7 "Eyewitness News" morning anchor Kathy Vara will join KNBC Channel 4's early-morning newscast this month, escalating the heated competition among local stations in that time slot.

Vara, who left KABC last year after a nine-year stint on the morning news, is scheduled to make her first on-air appearance March 29 on "Today in L.A." with current anchors Chris Schauble and Alycia Lane. She will be the sole anchor of the recently expanded 4:30 a.m.-5 a.m. newscast, and will join her fellow anchors from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. as a "contributing anchor."

The hiring marks Vara's return to KNBC. She anchored "Today in L.A." from 1994 to 2001.

"Kathy has a lot of loyal viewers," said Craig Robinson, KNBC president and general manager. "She has been a presence in local news for many years, and she will be a welcome addition to our news."

Vara appeared to vanish abruptly from KABC last year, leaving many viewers to question what had happened to her.  Robinson said Vara described her departure from KABC as a "friendly and amicable separation."

--- Greg Braxton

Photo credit: KNBC


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