Heather Rowe is promoted to be KOLD 13’s main news anchor - Inside Tucson Business: Media Watch

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Heather Rowe is promoted to be KOLD 13’s main news anchor

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Posted: Friday, October 13, 2006 12:00 am

TV anchor Heather Rowe was putting in some mighty long hours early last week. She was filling as the lead anchor on KOLD 13’s 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscast when on Tuesday she found out she had been selected to get the gig permanently. But she wanted to say her good-byes to her morning audience so she was back at the station at 5 a.m. co-anchoring with Bud Foster.

At noon that day she was part of luncheon celebration for the station and that night, she was on the air again at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., this time as the “official” anchor.

Rowe says she’s “thrilled” to have been the one picked to replace Kris Pickel who left over the summer to return to her home in Sacramento, Calif.

Jim Arnold, KOLD’s general manager, said the station looked at hundreds of candidates and seriously considered women from Boston, Miami and Portland, Ore. But he said they came back to Rowe, who asked to be considered for the job. “She is a terrific individual and we just couldn’t be happier,” Arnold said.

News Director Michelle Germano said “we searched the country and found the best talent in our own backyard.”

Rowe came to Tucson from a station in southwestern Washington state, in April 2003, to anchor the 9 p.m. newscast on KWBA, which was produced out of the newsroom at KOLD. When KWBA dropped that newscast last December, Rowe was hired by KOLD and, earlier this year, joined Bud Foster co-anchoring the early morning news.

This doesn’t end KOLD’s hunt for anchors. In fact, Rowe begins her new assignment without a permanent co-anchor after Randy Garsee’s dismissal, Oct. 3, after he sent an e-mail critical of his boss, Germano, to the entire station.

Arnold said the only impact Garsee’s departure had on the hiring of Rowe is that “it delayed us for a few days.”

As for finding Garsee’s replacement, “We’re just starting that search now,” Germano said. “We’ve got some candidates internally we’d like to consider and we’ll look elsewhere.”

In the meantime, Dan Marries will shift from anchoring on the weekends to weeknights with Rowe, she said.

And Germano says the station has now begun looking for Rowe’s replacement on the morning news.

Names in news

Another vestige of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2001 World Series Championship season won’t be back next year. Fans already know Luis Gonzalez and Craig Counsell are leaving the playing field and now comes word Thom Brennaman will leave the broadcast booth to join his dad, Marty Brennaman, doing Cincinnati Reds games. The move won’t affect the younger Brennaman’s duties on the Fox Network doing NFL games, Saturday afternoon baseball games and in January calling the play-by-play for the Bowl Championship Series. The Diamondbacks say they’ll begin a search to find his replacement.

The promising news career of Jennifer Reardon won’t continue in Tucson. The former weekend anchor has left KVOA 4 and is off to Portland, Ore., to work for KGW-TV, the NBC station.

They handed out the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards Oct. 7 in Scottsdale. KVOA 4’s Executive Producer Brad Stone and Chief Photographer Paul Hanke won for continuing coverage of a story titled “Dumped Medical Records” and Amber Lyon and Hanke also won for a late-breaking feature report. Geoffrey Levine of KGUN 9 won the news photographer award. At KUAT-TV 6, Dan Duncan won for photographer on a program-length feature titled “Continental Desert Journey,” and Tom Kleespie and Martin Rubio won for their magazine feature segment titled “Medical School Student.” The city’s Tucson 12 cable channel also took two awards: Terry Quinn and Mitch Riley won for their “Desert Drums” arts and entertainment segment and Martha Cantrell and Riley won for “I Am Tucson,” a promotional announcement. LP&G, behind co-owner and creative director Leslie Perls, brought home an Emmy for a film they produced for First Magnus Financial that runs before movies and special events at the Fox Tucson Theatre. The film was directed by Matt Mooney of Lunacy Post in Scottsdale. Barbara Peck, who is public relations director, is LP&G’s other owner.

Reaction to Garsee departure

In the fast-paced world of TV news, speculation was rather intense in the immediate aftermath of Randy Garsee’s sudden departure Oct. 3 as KOLD’s main anchorman but as quickly as it happened, the reaction seems to have faded.

Inside the newsroom at KOLD, there aren’t too many tears being shed. In fact, I’ve talked to several who say they’re happy he’s gone.

In fact the night he sent out the e-mail to the entire station, more than one person in the newsroom said Garsee walked around the newsroom swearing and had a particularly heated discussion with a reporter.

They say Garsee is big in stature and liked to try to intimidate people. Earlier this year, the station suspended him over an incident in which he told an editor who was working on a story for that night’s 10 p.m. newscast to leave a tape editing suite to leave so he could use it to edit a feature store he was working on for another day. When the editor refused, Garsee yelled at them, “Do you know who I am?”

As often happens, the media gossip lines can beat awfully fast. Here’s what some have wondered and I’m hearing:

“There’s more to this than just that e-mail.” The may be, but almost anyone in any business would have reacted the same way if an employee had sent that vitriolic e-mail regarding an immediate supervisor to the entire staff.

“Maybe Garsee didn’t mean to send the e-mail to everyone at the station.” This is key, but he knew he sent it out and boasted of the fact. That same e-mail sent only to News Director Germano and copied to General Manager Arnold would have prompted a heated debate among the three of them, but it would have been behind closed doors and never been made public.

“Something is wrong with the management at KOLD. Look at all of the people they’ve lost in the last few months.” Yes they have lost a lot of marquee anchors in the last few months but look at each one separately: Main female anchor Kris Pickel left to return to her hometown. Weekend anchor Kaushal Patel was offered a job doing a primetime newscast in a major market, Dallas. Erin Christiansen wanted to be a station’s top weather forecaster. Should KOLD have bounced Chuck George to make that happen?

I don’t know Garsee. I’ve met him and had my own e-mail exchanges with him, previous to this latest incident. I’ve heard from people who’ve been the subject of his reports, that he comes prepared and is knowledgeable. It’s too bad what happened.

E-mail comments for publication to editor@azbiz.com. Contact David Hatfield by e-mail at dhatfield@azbiz.com or call (520) 295-4237. Inside Tucson Media appears weekly.

© 2006 Inside Tucson Business. All Rights Reserved

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