- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

Fox affiliate WTTG-TV (Channel 5) scored 40 nominations for local Emmy Awards this week, almost twice as many as any other television station in the Washington area.Its closest competitor, ABC affiliate WJLA-TV (Channel 7), nabbed 21 nominations. Maryland Public Television received 18 nominations, followed by NBC affiliate WRC-TV (Channel 4) with 10, CBS affiliate WUSA-TV (Channel 9) with five, PBS affiliate WETA-TV (Channel 26) with four, MHz Networks affiliates WNVT-TV (Channel 53) and WNVC-TV (Channel 56) with three and WB affiliate WBDC-TV (Channel 50) and NewsChannel 8 with one apiece.WTTG’s Brian Bolter and Tracey Neale were each nominated for news anchor, with WJLA’s Andrea McCarren and Jeff Pegues from WBAL-TV (Channel 11), the NBC affiliate in Baltimore.The nominees for weathercaster are WRC’s Bob Ryan, WTTG’s Tom Sater, and Tim Williams from WJZ-TV (Channel 13), the CBS affiliate in Baltimore. There were eight submissions for sports anchor, but no one was nominated. (Ouch.)The major sports categories largely have been shut out at the Emmys for the last few years. Fran Murphy, chairwoman of the awards committee for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the group that organizes the awards, said she plans to review the judging procedures.The academy sends the submissions for each award to other major cities, where judges determine who will be nominated. This year, entries were judged by television professionals in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia or Seattle.”The sports situation is tough. I think that’s something we need to explore,” Miss Murphy said.Folks at WTTG also were upset that there were no nominees for live reporting, despite 14 submissions. WTTG submitted tapes from Mr. Bolter, Will Thomas and Holly Morris, who has won the last two years.Most of the reporting awards were dominated by entries from the sniper attacks, the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the La Plata, Md., tornado.This year’s ceremony will be held June 7 in the District. Two special awards will be handed out: WRC anchor Susan Kidd will receive the Glenn Brenner Award, and MPT reporter John Aubuchon will receive the Ted Yates Award.Free SchaeferSupporters of Jim Schaefer, the popular WJLA executive producer who was suspended last month after some expensive editing equipment disappeared, have flooded the station’s newsroom with postcards demanding his reinstatement.”Free Schaefer. Don’t make Jim the scapegoat,” the postcard reads. It urges recipients to tell WJLA news chief Bill Lord “to do the right thing and bring Jim back to work.”Several anchors and reporters at the station received the postcards. Mr. Lord declined to comment.At least three attache case-size editing machines that news crews use to prepare stories in the field disappeared sometime after WJLA and its sister cable network, NewsChannel 8, moved to Arlington in September.Management realized the equipment was missing about two months ago, according to a source at the offices of Allbritton Communications Co., the D.C.-based company that owns WJLA and NewsChannel 8. The source said executives are not sure how many editing machines are missing, but it could be as many as five.The cost to replace the machines could be as much as $100,000, the source said.Mr. Schaefer, who was responsible for some newsroom operations, was suspended with pay indefinitely April 24. Newsroom morale has plummeted since. Several staffers describe Mr. Schaefer as a respected station veteran and say he is taking the fall for something he didn’t do.The higher-ups don’t believe he had anything to do with the equipment disappearing, either, according to the Allbritton source. Instead, the company suspended him because they believe he knew the equipment was gone and didn’t report it, the source said.”The reason he’s in hot water is because he didn’t say anything to anybody,” the source said.Mr. Schaefer could not be reached.Ins and outs•Audrey Barnes has joined WUSA as a general assignment reporter on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news. She previously free-lanced for WRC and WTTG.•Joe Witte debuted as WJLA’s new weekend evening weather forecaster Saturday. Mr. Witte, who previously forecast weather for CNBC and NBC’s New York affiliate, replaces Dan Henry, who departed WJLA in January. Mr. Witte also will be the primary substitute for WJLA’s chief meteorologist, Doug Hill.•John Butler resigned last week as operations manager at ABC-owned WMAL-AM (630), although several sources at the news-and-talk station say he was asked to leave. Mr. Butler joined WMAL as news director in 1993.Off the airWondering why you couldn’t pick up all-news radio station WTOP’s 1500 AM signal late Friday night?Jim Farley, the station’s vice president of news and programming, said engineers took the signal off the air for routine repairs from about 10 p.m. Friday to about 1 a.m. Saturday.Listeners could still pick up the signal on WTOP’s second frequency, 107.7 FM, Mr. Farley said.•Questions? Comments? Tips? Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send an e-mail to [email protected]

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