Wednesday, July 12, 2006

UPDATE: WBRE fires Knapp, Sweeney

Beale's Bites has learned that sports anchorman Jason Knapp (left) and weather forecaster Vince Sweeney (right) are out at WBRE. Tipsters report both men were fired Tuesday, due to "restructuring [in] the news department."

Restructuring? Call me crazy, but it seems Nexstar shook the branches a bit too hard on South Franklin Street. After all, both Knapp and Sweeney had done their time at WBRE; Knapp started at WYOU in the 1990s, and Sweeney is one of the most-recognized personalities in local TV (Remember the "Vince said it would be like this" promos?).

Knapp and Sweeney are the second and third people to get fired from WBRE so far. You may remember veteran news director Paul Stueber was fired earlier this year after an employee complained.

58 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Sweeney was terminated. I suspect the same was true for Knapp. There's another one in the pipeline. To put my name to this would be detrimental to some of the parties concerned down the road.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laid off? Quit? Are you fekkin' nuts? Both of these guys were FIRED on Tuesday, FIRED. Where in hell did you get that laid off garbage from?

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Unfortunate Employee of Nexstar said...

First thing I want to say is…what they did to poor ol' Vince, is the dumbest thing that Deathstar can do. And I hope it bites them in the ass! As an unfortunate employee of Nexstar, I find this move the stupidest! Vince has a good following, and I hope they all write letters to the station about this firing. Is Vince better than Joe, you bet your sweet ass he is! I just pray they don't put April on the morning show, because if they do, we are defiantly screwed!

I've never been a big fan of Jason Knapp, but I wish him well.

The e-mail from Ron K. makes it sound like they are leaving on thier own, but we all know the truth. Their contract is up, and the station is NOT going to renew it!

As for the 3rd person to be kicked out, it will either be Diane Lee, or Lyndall Stout. Something is coming down and I don't know what it is, but when it does come down, it's going to be bloody!

God, I feel so sorry for Vince. Poor thing!

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweeney's been phasing himself out of the spotlight for a few years now. When was the last time we saw a promo for him ? I don't think he gave a crap either way.

Good luck, Vince.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Jason was on Wednesday night.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can think of a couple reasons why Vince Sweeney would not be 1n 28's future plans.

1. He's not a meteorologist.

2. After many years at the station, he makes too much money for 28's return on their investment (ratings).

But, at least as of a few years ago, research in this market showed Vince was the most recognizable and liked personality they had. He even topped some of the big names at 16. Even though 28 didn't have a lot viewers, Vince could be thanked for bringing in many who did watch. Kind of odd that 28 would oust a guy like that.

I wish Vince good luck on whatever direction he takes.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! Numbers are in the tank. Heads roll when that happens. Unfortunately, the little guys take it in the shorts, not the boneheads in charge. I hate to see people lose their jobs, but they're not getting it done.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's stories like this that give me reasons not to do anything with using my oh-so-valuable Comm Arts degree. That and the horrible starting salary!

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:25 and 6:31 are both exactly right at the same time, which is why I find this whole mess difficult to digest. Vince is the guy everyone knows, even WNEP viewers, but hardly anyone watches... so what do you do? You would think that winning the silver medal was good enough, but I guess not.

And check it out, the Vince Said promotion is the only good promotion WBRE ever had, now they are really back to square one in that department.

The Jason situation was a surprise, considering they moved him over from WYOU. He has a lot of talent and probably has something lined up already. Who knows. He does, but I doubt he will be posting here anytime soon.

I guess this answers the question of how 50 was going to pay for the new weather people. They said they were adding staff, but they never promised they would add payroll.

And if someone else is on the way out, it will be interesting to see who and the reasons why. So far the reason has been:

Why should we overpay for someone who cannot add audience share?

I would reply, what has the company done to promote who I am and what I do?

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere Al Zobel is grinning. He never said why (except for the "meteorologist"/"weatherman" thing) but he hated Vince and singlehandedly talked all the Nexstar brass into ignoring the research and Vince's status as the most-recognized and best-liked 28 personality.

Too much money? Impossible. When Zobel demoted Vince he forced him to take a big paycut.

If Vince had a problem post-Zobel it's that he was not a happy camper: and can you blame him?

I once saw a Vietnam veteran wearing a jacket that said, "When I Die I'll Go To Heaven, I've Served My Time In Hell." Vince, I'll look for one for you on eBsy.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Vince move I could see and I am sure he could as well the first time they moved him off the primetime casts and to the mornings.

Jason makes no sense and I hope is not true. One of the best people to ever work in the market. Didn't need to be silly like 16's Ping, Jason was smooth as silk.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn this sucks for both of them...
Vince is a very cool guy and Knapp is entertaining as hell...

Stuccio better watch his ass... although he did screw over John Marshall oh so many years ago....

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see Vince replace one or both of the Clarks on WNEPotism.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe 28 is going to start a "Spike TV for Macho Knuckleheads" news show. Bring back Kevin Lynn as anchor, get Joe Sned fron 16 for weather, and bring back Joe Zone or Ping for knucklehead sports. All they would need is for the FTC/FCC to lift the ban on beer & liquer ads and they would clean up. Knapp was professional and maybe thought as aloof, but did his job well. Vince was kind of folksy, but like a comfortable pair of shoes. Who cares if he had a degree or not- They all get their weather from another source or service, or kick off a program on the PC. A Frank Andrews without the baggage. Vince could get elected in this area very easily. Hey, maybe 16 will start doing their news too, ala Fox56.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the "unfortunate employee of nexstar" should seek employment elsewhere. At least they would have a more optimistic login name.

Vince: As said above, numbers are everything. Obviously, his Name wasn't bringing in the numbers needed.

Jason: Again, numbers numbers. He always seemed to be a better No. 2 guy in the rotation.

Good luck to both.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it, Nexstar has no clue how to run a television news operation, and they've just proved it again by letting Sweeney go. Would love to see NEP pick up Vince in some sort of capacity, even if it's not in the weather department. TV Stations today are hell bent on having only meteorologists. Funny, Willaird Scott was not, GMA never used meteorologists, even that Janice woman on Fox News is not one.

Good Luck Vince.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More Nexstar bungling, more desperation, more bad ratings on the way. Two decent and capable guys screwed for which there will be no gain. A very well known and respected former news director in this market said more than once, "If a definitive history of this TV market is ever written, an entire chapter will be devoted to the biggest blunder ever made here. And that would be Zobel's taking Sweeney off WBRE's evening shows."

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing 50 can do at this point will improve numbers, nothing. Here's betting the November book is the worst in their histories. And that's a hell of a statement, considering how bad they are right now.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's hoping Sweeney sues them and wins! Who wouldn't love to see a Nexstar bigshot swinging by his figurative neck?!?

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, People!!!
Al Zobel has been gone for 3 years!!! 3 YEARS!!!! Get over him!
You talk about him like he's the one that "ruined" WBRE. GET OVER YOURSELVES!!
If Vince was so good at night, where were the ratings?
Same with Jason.
Idiots...it's about promotion, promotion, promotion...when you have none, you don't get viewers.

Good luck to Vince and Jason. Sucks, but this is the biz. Don't like it, get out.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it or not, talent-turnarounds are a nasty part of the business we've chosen to be in. No one does business with the Mafia without a bit of blood on them.

The key-term there is "business" ! These are business moves. Good or bad for the future ? We'll see.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all bringing idiot-moron Zobel into this discussion IS relevant. He was the dumb arrogant prick who demoted Vince in the first place, a move that essentially started "BRE's downward twist (among many things). Zoble just hated Vince. It was the dumbest-ass move ever! Vince is/was the face of WBRE. So quit defending that useless f*** Zobel. He is working his pathetic news magic in some other market now...I hope he rots in HELL!

Second of all, what NUMBERS is everyone talking about here? Didn't Nexstar stop using Nielson a few years back? So how can they claim bad numbers (for Vince and Jason)...when they don't even know the numbers? Poor excuse. Good luck, Jason and Vince.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Unfortunate Employee of Nexstar said...

To the 9.53AM Post, the only reason, why I went by that name "Unfortunate Employee of Nexstar," because of what they have done to two of their better employees...shoved them out the door. Also, because, I think we are going to take a major noise dive with these people gone, at least for awhile. Otherwise, you just get use to working at Nexstar.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add BRE to the list where infomertials are the only way to bring in revenue and viewers.

I agree with the poster who said "That's why I choose not to use my Comm degree. I follow the industry but, no thanks. A lot of highly qualified people refuse to enter the frey because they can make much more, have job security and put up with a lot less bs in another line.

That leads to a few good people, a lot of schlock and the kind of hilarity we discuss here.

Firing Vince is like getting rid of a solid all-around second baseman because a guy in the minors is hitting the ball well. Only your whole team is the second baseman.

Batter up.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You talk about him(Zobel)like he's the one that "ruined" WBRE.

Do you have one f***ing clue what you're talking about, you dumb hump? Zobel is the one that ruined WBRE. If you were at all connected to this business, you'd know that. Clearly, you're not. Do us a favor and get lost until, and if, you ever work one day in this industry.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok..if Jason is really gone, why is his picture and bio still on the WBRE webpage (and Vince's isn't) ??

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bye bye BRE sports... Schoener probably won't be back after his contract is up this fall... Can you say "Eyewitness Newscene 50" or "Pennsylvania Evening"? Darn FCC.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The deal with Nielsen numbers is simply this; 1) WNEP posts them after each book for all employees to see, 2) Most, probably all, national and local ad agencies buy the numbers. What you have here is two solid sources of just what's what. 50 not subscribing to Nielsen only means that 50 cannot use/quote any of the information issued by Nielsen. Hope that helps. And as someone who works with these numbers daily, I can tell you that before Zobel, the evening shows routinely did 22-23-24 shares. Now, and 8 or a 9 is about it. That alone should tell a huge story.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now just give it a month, and promotions will change WBRE's website banner and take Knapp off of it. And heck, while they're at it, they might even give Laurie a bio @ wyou.com!

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsflash: Nielsen is not the only provider of numbers. Get yourself educated before posting.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

Ok..if Jason is really gone, why is his picture and bio still on the WBRE webpage (and Vince's isn't) ??

1. Sweeney's bio is still online.

2. Nexstar seems to take its sweet time in updating its website. Rememebr how long it took to take Frank Andrews off WYOU's banner, even after he announced his political campaign?

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is zero chance Vince will do weather at 16. Not a meteorologist, not hired!

WNEP would be smart to go after Vince as host of its "Home & Backyard" show. "Home & Backyard" lacks a real host. Mike Stevens and Jackie Lewandoski are competent and likeable, but Vince
would be an audience favorite.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beale, I know you've got some juicy stuff to follow up on with this, but I have a suggestion for a rainy day. I think it would be interesting to see what kind of response there is to WNEP's new Sarah Buynovsky (http://wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=5140625&nav=menu158_11). I am leaving for college this fall pursuing broadcast journalism, and I would love to hear what area professionals think about 24/7 cable stations. At least to my knowledge, I believe Sarah is the first reporter in NEPA to have come from one of these 24/7 local cable stations. I would love to hear what people think about places like News 10 Now, and if its something tomorrow's reporters should look towards or run away from. Thanks.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the web pages:
Is Vince offically off the air yet?
If not, then his bio should stay.

As for Jason... from what is going around (see below), isn't his last day August 4th? so that means his bio/pic should stay up until then...

Ahhhhh remember the good old days when 'shared services' first came into existence... and the promise of "no on air talent will cross to the other channel"?

And yes - Zobel killed WBRE...

---- an e-mail from a friend of a friend of a friend of a so on and so forth...----
I am sorry to announce that WBRE Sports Director Jason Knapp will be leaving the company on Friday, August 4, 2006.
(Blah blah blah - hard work... service...)
Ron Krisulevicz
WBRE/WYOU News Director
---

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, geez, I certainly hope this doesn't upset Lyndall's nuptials. And we can only hope that Diane L doesn't meet the same fate. After all, more than a few folks are hoping she'll record a new Christmas CD this year. And that ought to help YOU's sucky ratings.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:32 PM
I worked at WBRE when Zobel was there, jackass.
If Zobel was so bad, why did ratings actually go up for several books with him there? Hmmm?
Don't you realize a news director is just a sheep for ownership? ALL decisions made by Zobel came from up top.
Zobel wasn't that great of a guy, but why should he be when he worked for assholes like yourself?
Oh...but you work in this biz, so you must know.
You don't know crap.
To think that Zobel's influence on that station is stilla round and that he's the reason it's a sinking ship is assanine and proves my theory about NEPA asses - you people are the biggest phucking idiots around...blame everyone else for your miserable lives instead of looking in the mirror.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great...WBRE/WYOU have holes in their ship so big that getting rid of a few heavyweights (no pun here) will stop it from sinking. WYOU is putting their evening newscast in the talkshow/entertainment motif, while WBRE hires low-pay/no experience talent. Yeah...that's great way to drive numbers and increase revenue. It's obvious that WBRE/WYOU does not care about ratings. They can have a firesale on ads. WNEP gets the high-priced clients, they will leave the smaller fish for the bottom-feeders who can only afford WBRE/WYOU. Meanwhile, by hiring the low-priced talent, they might find a diamond in the rough who might rise and be their Alpha.

You can blame Zobel (who wouldn't) or the current talent or the promotions department, but the bottom line is the blame should go to Nexstar. They don't want to sacrifice ad space for promos. They don't have a budget for billboards or other forms of significant advertising in other mediums. The are too cheap to negotiate trades for significant contests...why should they...no numbers they can claim legally. They get rid of the stuff they don't need nor care about (AP, Nielsen's, etc) They get by apparently. Although their stock indicates that wrong decisions are being made everyday.

I used to work at WBRE and left a few years ago, but I've seen some star talent come and go that Nexstar just doesn't care to hold onto using money...Weiler, Osman, Zucker, Knapp, Nugent, Sweeney, Trygar, Deleste, Timmeney, Henneberg, (I'm missing a few for sure) not to mention a few producers who really made things happen. Most of the people on this list have gone on to bigger and better things...Here's to Vince and Jason!! Getting the boot from WBRE will prove to be the door to a happier place.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:59PM: please help educate me. I thought Nielsen was the last rating service left.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking about Vince and NEP's "Home and Backyard:" how many realize that in his spare time Vince went back to school and is now a certified "Master Gardener?"

Also, no WBRE contract means no "non-compete." A match made n heaven?

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you have one f***ing clue what you're talking about, you dumb hump? Zobel is the one that ruined WBRE. If you were at all connected to this business, you'd know that. Clearly, you're not. Do us a favor and get lost until, and if, you ever work one day in this industry"

Wow, so a journalist, or someone working within the industy - one that strived for freedom of information and freedom of speech - and you're basically trying to limit speech of another???

Do you work for FOX News, and is your name O'Reilly?

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If Vince was so good at night, where were the ratings?"

Anyone who asks that question, doesn't understand the biz. You may have a point with the promotion angle, but it's still people, people, people. Promote the hell outta Tony Danza, but if his manner makes you uneasy, you're goin' to Ellen.
Same with news. Don't blame the set. Invest in people that the viewers will want to welcome into their homes. And no matter how popular one person may be (or had been), you've got to have chemistry. Mind numbing chit chat will send viewers packing before you can say "coming up". Good, bad or indifferent, Vince had that IT. But, as we all know, research tells us changes have to be made. Like hair length, the seating arrangment of anchors, or the use of the word "this", we keep throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. No reason to look at this as anything other than just another pair of soiled underwear.

I too wish them both well. It is good that we are seeing (mostly) a love fest here. Though Vince, for one, was not without his detractors. Just ask his morning producer.

"Sucks, but this is the biz. Don't like it, get out."

Thanks, Perry! Nice hearing from you again.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:43 PM
If Zobel was so bad, why did ratings actually go up for several books with him there? Hmmm?

What books? The very first one under his leader(?)ship? That's like saying that the ONLY reason Notre Dame went to a bowl last season, was because it was still Willingham's team. Credit where credit is due.

I hope you didn't write for the news when you worked there, because your spelling SUCKS! When you say that "Zobel wasn't that great...", you mean GRATE. And I don't remember him working FOR me. In fact, he didn't do anything FOR me at all, except play people like candles...lit at both ends, waiting for the meltdown in the middle.

"ALL decisions made by Zobel came from up top."
And who would that have been, Herbster? That tool was like a lanced boil, so far removed he didn't even know the names of his "talent". Was it Herbster who came up with Smurf News (no bodies, no blood)? Please, everybody rubbernecks at a crash. Sure, we all say we hate the gore, but we slow down to get a good look anyway.

NEPA rules!

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want an analogy that'll suddenly have Nexstar making perfect sense?

The Los Angeles Clippers.

Until this season (and almost ruining analogy), team ownership was notorious for not spending money on anything...and managing to turn a profit. It's a perfect plan. Don't spend any money on big-name, big-talent players. Don't worry about winning. Worry about selling those $100 courtside seats and six-figure luxury boxes at the Staples Center to spoiled celebrities and CEOs.

Genius.

I see some eerie parallels at WBRE and WYOU. The moves Nexstar have made, most recently with Vince Sweeney (who, though he bugged the hell out of me, definitely had something most weather guys and gals don't), indicate that they're not all that concerned with fielding a winning team. It doesn't make sense. Unless Nexstar isn't TRYING to win the game.

When 7:27 said that Nexstar wasn't willing to sacrifice ads for promos, it hit me. They're not in it to win it. And in the position they're in, so far behind WNEP they can barely see them, it makes perfect business sense for them to strip it completely down, throw in the towel and cash the checks from Eynon Furniture Outlets.

Pretty sad, when you think about it.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are all a bunch of phucking piss and vinnegar whiners. But, that's the mentality of NEPA residents. Woe is me...I can't get out so I blame everyone else for my problems,
My experience in this business outshines all of you asses.
Keep blaming Zobel for you guys sucking so much.
Blame Steuber for you guys sucking so much.
And yes, this business is about screwing people. If you don't realize it, then you don't deserve to be in it. Get with the program, retards.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

goes to show you that 20 years at a station don't mean chit.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, like Perry spends time on this website and bases his business decisions on the blogs/posts. Dream on. Moron.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Vince very well, but one of his professional problems is: He ONLY reads the wx. He's been there long enough to be making decent money. I would bet that part of 28's decison was paying someone who could only "read" the wx.
I will say getting rid of him was a mega dumb move.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't anyone learn a lessen from WYOU? They dismantled a team lead by Deb Dunleavy and John Nugent to quote "save money" and the ratings went in the tank. Now the station has a product no one watches and no one wants to buy. Nothing against anyone working there right now, ie Diane or Scott, but you build on your strong people, known people...Jason and Vince were known personalities, people watch TV because they make a connection with the newscaster. It isn't Vince or Jason's fault that the product produced by 22 or 28 is weak due to the lack of staff and gear. Ron has introduced some nice changes in the past couple of months, but it is like putting a fresh coat of paint on your front door when the whole house needs a coat.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also know Vince very well, he doesn't have a degree, never wanted one, and his being shitcanned has nothing to do with credentials at all. He could write a great forecast, and had an almost scarey knack for nailing snowstorms.

And after working with him for roughly 12 years, let me tell you that the guy doesn't "read" anything, nothing he does is scripted, he's probably got the sharpest ad-libbing skill this reporter has ever seen. Give him a topic and he could give you ten entertaining minutes on whatever it was.

Did he have his detractors? God, yes, who doesn't? But I can tell you that during my time in that place, three seperate research projects revealed not one single negative on the guy. Even people who said they hated WBRE(and then WYOU)liked him.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody is burying 22 and 28 but is their product really inferior to 16's? Could it be that viewers in the market are so very set in their ways and it would almost take and Act of God for them to at least sample 22/28? As for Vince, he is a good broadcster. Meteorologist or not, just tell me plain and simple what the weather is going to be. Im NOT impressed with your "cool" graphics and maps that you almost need a meteorology degree to figure out. Before some dumb witted consultant years ago said that its en vogue to have a "metrorologist" do the weather, we were all happy watching Joe Scott, J. Kristopher, Bill White et all. I can name at least 5 meteorologists in the market who can't hold a candle to Vinces comminucation skills and on air talent.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

April Gonzalez is one hot weather girl. I'd let her touch my warm front anyday.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

April Gonzalez is one hot weather girl. I'd let her touch my warm front anyday.

Do you have any idea how stupid of a comment that is? Not to mention sexually harrassing. Somehow, I doubt it.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:22 PM

Me too!!!

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sexual harassment. Isn't that what the internet is all about?

God bless anonymity.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:41, I take it you're not a hot weather girl?

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:39, I know enough "hot" women who do a variety of things for a living, so you'll have to try and stay with me here. Consider this clue #1; women are completely, totally, thoroughly creeped out by your type of comments. Remarks like yours make their skin crawl. Memorize that, you'll be a better person once you embrace the idea, and you might actually find someone. I have lots more clues, want more?

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:46, how do you know I didn't mean a girl who likes hot weather?

I think you DID leave another clue though. No one has ever creeped you out and made your skin crawl?

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you DID leave another clue though. No one has ever creeped you out and made your skin crawl?

Holy Christ, you make this way too easy. I'm outta this one.

10:42 PM  

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