STAY TUNED: NBC 2 moves Van Winkle to mornings; Fox 4 expands mornings

NBC 2 Meteorologist Robert Van Winkle

NBC 2 Meteorologist Robert Van Winkle

Mornings are the new prime time, many in the TV industry say, including Darrel Lieze-Adams, executive news director and manager of marketing and promotions at Waterman Broadcasting — the folks behind NBC-2 and ABC-7.

Lieze-Adams emphasized the statement in a recent press release announcing that current Chief Meteorologist Robert Van Winkle will be moving to mornings starting Jan. 11 and taking on new community liaison duties. The station will be choosing a new chief meteorologist.

So I had to ask, what makes mornings the new prime time?

“We continue to see growth in our morning viewership,” says Lieze-Adams. “NBC-2 News, ‘Today Show,’ ‘Ellen’ (and) our 11 a.m. newscasts have become some of the highest rated shows of the day.”

As the morning meteorologist, Van Winkle will be anchoring all of the morning newscasts and “Today Show” local segments.

According to Lieze-Adams, Van Winkle will also “acquire additional duties helping us build interaction with our audience as a community liaison. Robert will start by establishing strong relationships with elementary and middle schools with educational classroom experiences. Robert has a great passion to help us generate increased interaction with our audience, I am anxious to support him with this initiative.”

So what about current morning meteorologist?

“We are fortunate to have the talents of current NBC-2 a.m. meteorologist Haley Webb to bolster other time periods. She has been a driving force in holding our No. 1 position in the mornings. She is a vital part of our future, and I am anxious for her return to the air after having her baby,” Lieze-Adams said. “Having a strong team of meteorologists like Haley, Morgan Palmer, Jim Reif, Allyson Rae and Jeremy Eisenzopf will mean changes in individual responsibilities among our team as we look to appoint a new chief meteorologist in the coming weeks.

Lieze-Adams says the decision was made after extensive research and feedback from their audience.

So what do you think? Will you miss Van Winkle at 6 and 11 p.m.? Are you more likely to wake up with him in the morning? Send me your comments:

More in the morning and a new face at Fox-4

Excited is the word Judy Kenney, VP/general manager, used to describe some new year’s changes at Fox-4.

“Fox 4 Rising,” the station’s morning news is expanding by one hour. Kenney says the change will likely take place Jan. 17.

The news will start at 5 a.m., instead of 6. This isn’t a new venture, but a return for Fox-4, which at one time started its morning news at 5 a.m. Later, the station opted for syndicated programming at that hour.

Also, Lisa Spooner is joining the morning anchor team, according to the station’s news director, Eric Maze.

“We are very excited to have someone of Lisa’s energy, warmth and experience on the ‘Fox 4 Rising’ anchor desk,” said Maze. “She is a hard-working journalist who will enhance the ‘Fox 4 In Your Corner’ approach to news coverage in Southwest Florida.”

Spooner is joining Fox-4 from KYTX-TV, the CBS affiliate in Tyler, Texas, where she was managing editor and anchor of the morning news show that saw its ratings double in the past year. She also served as a guest host on the nationally syndicated morning show, “The Daily Buzz.” Prior to that she was a general assignments reporter and substitute anchor for ABC-affiliated KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, and spent a year making more than 400 public speaking appearances as Miss Texas in 2002.

“I am thrilled to be moving to Fox-4 in Florida, where I spent every summer of my childhood,” Spooner said. Spooner’s first day on-air will be Jan. 3.


A regular reader and contributor to my column, D.L. Farina of Naples and Huntley, IL, writes: “Enjoy your column, Bill. Must comment on the Chicago Bears vs. Detroit game Ms. Gaffney was put out about … If she had bothered to check her Comcast listings (on TV) with her remote, she would have seen that the Bears game was on. There are many transplanted Chicagoans in SWFL who were absolutely elated to see that game! Can’t speak for Detroit fans, but the Bears have been slighted all season.

“Now tomorrow (Sunday) there is a huge game … Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots … and according to Comcast and the NDN, it will not be televised! (The Steelers will be on again …

Didn’t know there were so many Pittsburghers here.) Well, I imagine Boston Beer Garden and Doc’s will be jammed tomorrow!

“Thanks for letting me air my grievance. BTW, I am not a football fan … my husband is!”

Thanks for your comments, Ms. Farina.

The TV maven’s gift

Shopping for that perfect gift for the TV lover in your home? TiVo has a deal for you.

From now until Dec. 31, you can get a TiVo premiere box, which holds 45 hours of HD programming, for no money down and $19.99 per month, with a two-year commitment.

The box streams Netflix, YouTube and Pandora. They promise to be streaming Hulu soon.

This box can replace your cable box and holds more than twice the amount of content as my current HD box from Comcast. If you need even more storage, you can always purchase the TiVo XL which holds 150 hours of programming.

Another, and perhaps better option: TiVo offers a driver that adds 140 hours to the 45-hour box (total 185 hours) which sells for $150.

And for the diehards, upgrade to a remote control with full Qwerty keyboard for $85.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year watching all your favorite shows.

If you have a TV-related question, e-mail me at

Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/ journalist with a secret life as a couch potato. Contact him at

© 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.