Monday, November 23, 2009

WPIX Names Bill Carey News Director

New York Veteran Joins The Station November 30th

NEW YORK, N.Y. - WPIX, Tribune Broadcasting's New York CW affiliate has named Bill Carey News Director.
This is a homecoming of sorts for Carey, a native New Yorker who held roles of significant responsibility in station management at WCBS and WABC during his award-winning broadcasting career. Carey will assume his new duties at PIX on November 30th.

Carey has more than 20 years of management experience in television news and a proven track-record of success. He comes to PIX after serving most recently as Station Manager and News Director for WQAD-TV, the ABC affiliate in Illinois owned by Local TV LLC, a Tribune Company partner that runs 17 television stations across the United States.
Prior to his position at WQAD, Carey founded Bill Carey Consulting in 2008 to work with cable, broadcast and internet clients including Cablevision in New York and New Jersey.

"Bill's expertise and experience will be a huge asset to PIX. I look forward to working with him and continuing to grow our presence in local news," said Betty Ellen Berlamino, PIX President and General Manager.

From 2004 to 2008, Carey served as Vice President and General Manager for WFTS-TV, the ABC Affiliate in Tampa. In that capacity, Carey led a staff of over 160 to ratings growth with national recognition for the station's investigative journalism and hurricane coverage. While in Florida, Carey served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, regularly lobbying congressional leaders on behalf of broadcast industry issues. Carey was elected by his peers as Chairman of the group in 2007 and was invited to testify before the FCC about issues facing broadcasters.

Prior to his work at WFTS, Carey served as the top news executive at WXYZ-TV in Detroit, the flagship television station of the E.W. Scripps Company.From 1994 to 1999, Carey worked in leadership positions in his native New York, serving as News Director for WCBS-TV (1996 to 1999) and assistant news director (1994 to 1996). Under Carey's leadership, WCBS was recognized with numerous broadcast journalism awards including the prestigious George Foster Peabody award, Edward R. Murrow award, and several local Emmy awards."I'm honored to be selected. I watched Officer Joe and Captain Jack growing up in Maspeth, and always dreamed of pitching for the Mets. WPIX already feels like home and I'm eager to get to work," said Carey.

Prior to his tenure at WCBS, Carey held a series of station management roles at WBBM-TV the CBS O&O in Chicago and before that at WABC-TV in New York including senior producer, responsible for all news content at the station. He produced Eyewitness News at 6 and was the executive producer of Eyewitness News at 11, returning both of those newscasts to first place.

Carey has served as a Board of Director for the Suncoast Golf Classic, (the non-profit entity that raises funds for charities in conjunction with the annual PGA golf tournament), led the Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation (a nationally recognized advocate for protecting children) to non-profit status in 2006, and served on its board until its mission was done in 2009. Carey is the proud recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy award, for his work in and around the Tampa Bay community.

In 2002 he was selected and graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy, and has lectured local and national law enforcement on media relations.
Carey attended St. Francis Prep and is a 1979 graduate of Fordham University, with a B.A. in communications.

WPIX made its on-air debut on June 15, 1948 as New York's fifth television station and second independent outlet. It was also the second of three stations to start up in the New York market during 1948, one month after Newark-based independent WATV (channel 13, now WNET) and two months before ABC-owned WJZ-TV (channel 7, now WABC-TV)

Like its longtime sister station WGN-TV in Chicago (which first signed on two months earlier), WPIX's call letters come from the slogan of the newspaper that founded it—in this case, it was the New York Daily News, whose tag was "New York's Picture Newspaper". Both the paper and the station were owned by the Tribune Company. Then and now, WPIX's studios and offices are located in the News Building, at Second Avenue and East 42nd Street (alternatively called "11 WPIX Plaza") in Midtown Manhattan. In its earliest years, WPIX also had another studio (called "Studio Five") located at 110 Central Park South, where programs with a studio audience were produced.

Through the early 1990s, WPIX was operated separately from the other Tribune television and radio outlets through the News-owned license holder, WPIX, Incorporated, which in 1963 purchased New York radio station WBFM (101.9 MHz). The News soon changed that station's call letters to WPIX-FM, and in 1988, the station became WQCD. The two stations were separated from the Daily News in 1991, when British businessman Robert Maxwell bought the newspaper. Tribune retained WPIX and WQCD, and the radio station was sold to Emmis Communications in 1997 (it is now WRXP).
From the outset, WPIX featured programming that was standard among independents: old movies, syndicated reruns of network programs, public affairs programming, religious programs, and sports—specifically, the New York Yankees baseball team, whom WPIX carried from 1951 to 1998. At various points, WPIX also aired the New York (baseball) Giants, the New York Giants and New York Jets football teams, the NHL's New York Rangers, and local college basketball. But it was through its coverage of Yankees baseball that WPIX gained perhaps its greatest fame and identity.

To generations of New York children, channel 11 was also the home of memorable personalities. In 1955 Joe Bolton, an original WPIX staffer who had been a weather forecaster in the station's news department, donned a policeman's uniform and became "Officer Joe", hosting several programs based around Little Rascals and Three Stooges films, and later Popeye animated shorts. Another early WPIX personality, Jack McCarthy, also hosted Popeye and Dick Tracy cartoons as "Captain Jack" in the early 1960s, though he was better known to adults as the longtime host of channel 11's St. Patrick's Day Parade coverage, from 1949 to 1992.
WPIX aired a local version of Bozo the Clown (with Bill Britten in the role) from 1959 to 1964, and comic performer Chuck McCann also hosted a program at WPIX during the mid-1960s before moving to other entertainment work in Hollywood. The station also produced two other memorable children's shows: jazz singer Joya Sherrill hosted Time For Joya, which later became known as Joya's Fun School and aired during the late 1960s and early '70s; and the Magic Garden series, which ran on the station from 1972 to 1984.

From its early years through the 1960s, WPIX, like the other two major independents in New York—RKO General's WOR-TV (now WWOR-TV) and Metromedia's WNEW-TV (now WNYW)—struggled to acquire other programming.

By the mid 1970s, WPIX was the clear number-two independent station in the city, behind WNEW-TV. It identified on-air as 11 Alive from September 1977 to 1986, a slogan made popular by stations like Atlanta's WXIA-TV, who also started using 11Alive themselves from September 1976 and still do so today. In 1978, WPIX was launched on satellite and became a Superstation. In 1980, WPIX began 24 hour a day operations along with WOR-TV.

WPIX suffered from declining ratings in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time, now-Fox-owned WNYW and a resurgent WWOR, then owned by MCAUniversal, relegated WPIX to sixth place among New York's VHF stations. After long-time station president Leavitt Pope, who had been with WPIX since its inception, stepped down as general manager in 1989, his replacement Michael Eigner (who was transferred to WPIX from Los Angeles sister station KTLA) helped engineer slow turnaround that eventually resulted in WPIX becoming the leading independent station in the New York market. In 1994, the station became the exclusive home of the New York City Marathon, carrying the five-borough running event for the next five years.

In January 1995, WPIX became an affiliate of the WB Television Network. Through Tribune's ownership interest in the WB (initially 12.5 percent in 1995, and later expanded to 22 percent), channel 11 could have been referred to as the WB's "flagship" station—though this is a designation in name only. The Warner Bros. Television division of Time Warner was the majority owner of the WB, and programming was distributed from the WB's facilities in Los Angeles.

Initially, WPIX continued with its usual programming. But due to industry changes, the station shifted directions beginning in 1996. As WB network and syndicated daytime programming (such as Maury, Judge Mathis, and The Jerry Springer Show) became more prominent on channel 11's schedule, most of the station's local-interest programming began to disappear.

WPIX was once home to the St. Patrick's Day, National Puerto Rican Day and Columbus Day parades, and Macy's Independence Day fireworks program. Along with the New York City Marathon these events moved to WNBC-TV, and the Marathon and the Macy's show are now carried on the NBC network.

WPIX lost its over-the-air broadcast rights to the Yankees to WNYW following the 1998 baseball season, more a result of regional cable sports networks (in this case, the Madison Square Garden Network) gaining team broadcast rights, leaving broadcast stations with fewer games to air.
In 1999 the station replaced them with the New York Mets, which up until that point had spent their entire televised history with WOR/WWOR. Ironically, beginning in 2005, over-the-air Yankees broadcasts were aired by WWOR, which was as synonymous with the Mets as WPIX was with the Yankees.

In recent years, WPIX has revived The Yule Log, a special holiday program that combines Christmas music with a film loop of logs burning inside a fireplace. The film was made early in the holiday season of 1966 and shows a fire burning in the fireplace at New York's official mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion; it was done with the cooperation of then-Mayor John Lindsay. The Yule Log aired on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas morning, initially from 1966 until 1989, and viewer response brought it back in 2001. The revival of the Yule Log has proven to be just as popular, and several other Tribune-owned stations have carried the WPIX version, complete with its audio soundtrack, over the past several years. Channel 11 also airs a live broadcast of the Midnight Mass, from St. Patrick's Cathedral, on Christmas Eve.

As children's programming began to fade from broadcast television, The WB dropped its morning cartoon block in 2000, leaving the time for local stations to carry their own programming. On June 5 of that year, WPIX launched the WB 11 Morning News (now PIX Morning News), which has grown to challenge the established network morning programs as well as its more direct competitor, WNYW's Good Day New York. The station continued to carry Saturday morning cartoons from Kids WB up to May 17, 2008 when it was bought by 4Kids Entertainment, but the afternoon cartoon block was discontinued on December 30, 2005.

On September 11, 2001, the transmitter facilities of WPIX as well as eight other New York City television stations and several radio stations were destroyed when two hijacked airplanes crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center towers.

The station's lead engineer, Steve Jacobson, was among those who were lost in the tragedy. WPIX's satellite feed froze on the last video frame received from the WTC mast, an image of the Twin Towers burning (this was ironic, considering a long-running WPIX advertising campaign in the early 80s, in which a fictitious ad man repeatedly fails to understand that the Twin Towers would make a good logo for Channel 11); the image remained on the screen for much of the day until WPIX was able to set up alternate transmission facilities (the microwave relay for WPIX's satellite feed was also up there). Since then, WPIX has transmitted its signal from the Empire State Building

On January 24, 2006, The WB and UPN networks announced that they would merge into a new service, the CW Television Network, named for its corporate parents CBS (the parent company of UPN) and Warner Bros. Television. The new network signed a 10-year affiliation deal with most of Tribune's WB stations, including WPIX. Unlike in its relationship with the WB, Tribune does not have an ownership interest in the CW—meaning, once again, WPIX is the network's "flagship" station in name only.

In the summer of 2006, WPIX began the transition to the new CW by unveiling its new branding, CW 11, with on-air promos, on-screen program bugs, and an outdoor advertising campaign. WPIX was officially re-branded as CW 11 on September 17, 2006, the day before the CW launched. The rebranding began with the 10 p.m. newscast, which aired at the conclusion of The WB's final night of programming. Prior to the newscast, the station aired a video montage of past WPIX logos, starting with a 1948 test pattern and concluding with the official unveiling of the new CW 11 logo.

On April 2, 2007, Chicago-based investor Sam Zell announced plans to purchase the Tribune Company, with intentions to take the firm private. The deal was completed on December 20, 2007. Prior to the close of the sale, WPIX had been the only New York City commercial television station to have never been involved in an ownership transaction. Zell's leadership took the Tribune Company into it's current state of bankruptcy.

On April 26, 2008, WPIX began broadcasting its news in high-definition, becoming the fourth television station in New York City to do so.
On December 1, 2008, along with the revised circle 11 logo, WPIX's newscasts were also rebranded as PIX Morning News and PIX News at Ten. The PIX call letters are pronounced phonetically, similar to the word "picks".

WPIX launched a new early evening Newscast on September 14, 2009. The broadcast is called PIX News at 6:30 and airs seven nights a week. With the launch of the WPIX newscast all but one of the major New York area stations now air a nightly news program before 10 PM at least five days a week (WWOR, which airs their newscast weeknights at 11 PM and does not air weekend news, is the only one that doesn't).

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