WCPO-TV News Director Leaving In March
Make it four for four. When WCPO-TV News Director Alex Bongiorno announced Tuesday she was leaving Channel 9 in early March, she'll be the fourth of the four TV newsroom bosses here to step down in eight months.
With changes at Channels 5, 12 and 19 since July, Bongiorno is the longest-tenured current local TV news director, at 2-1/2 years. She was hired in July 2013, three months after Scripps executive Jeff Brogan was named WCPO-TV general manager.
“Alex has worked hard to get us where we are today. Our station’s news strategy has evolved and we agreed to go in different directions,” Brogan said in a memo to the staff Tuesday after Bongiorno announced plans to leave after the February ratings sweeps (Feb. 4-March 2).
“Our search for our next news director begins immediately,” he said in the memo.
Under Bongiorno, Channel 9 changed its primary anchor team to Craig McKee and Tanya O’Rourke from Clyde Gray (retired) and Carol Williams (now working part-time). She also hired anchors Chris Riva, Julie Dolan, Ken Broo and Tamyka Artist; and added meteorologists Jennifer Ketchmark and Jason Adams to replace Larry Handley and Sarah Walters.
In her note to the staff, Bongiorno cited her faith in explaining that “God is clearly moving me on. I’m excited about what He has for me ahead.”
She wrote, in part: “I have truly enjoyed my time here and enjoyed working with all of you. I have had the privilege and opportunity to watch many of you grow at this great station as we’ve tackled big coverage and plenty of challenges. We’ve certainly experienced a lot together. I know it’s probably not the norm to discuss faith in a note like this, but I can’t send this out without talking about mine. After a great deal of prayer, God led me here to WCPO two and a half years ago. Every day I have looked to Him in my own leadership as I worked to lead all of you. I have prayed for direction in most everything I’ve done here. One thing I’ve known beyond a shadow of a doubt is that I wouldn’t be here one day past when He wanted me to be here. God is clearly moving me on. I’m excited about what He has for me ahead….
“Thank you for the opportunity to let me lead you – after all – leader is a title, the ability to lead is always in the hands of the people you’re leading,” she wrote.
When asked why all the TV news leadership changes in town, Brogan declined comment.
It could be that TV stations are under pressure to produce the strongest ratings this year, so they can cash in on all the political advertising from the presidential election. “WCPO - 9 On Your Side” also has a unique TV news operation, with a separate WCPO.com subscription digital news team to compete with The Enquirer on in-depth reporting and features.
The TV changes started in July, when Kirk Varner stepped down as WKRC-TV (Channel 12) news director, and was replaced by Tim Geraghty in August.
Kevin Roach left WXIX-TV (Channel 19) in August, six months after the arrival of a new general manager, and was replaced by Steve Hyvonen.
Mike Neelly was promoted by Hearst from WLWT-TV (Channel 5) news director to general manager of its Jackson, Miss., station and replaced this month by Jeff Benscoter, a former Channel 12 executive news producer working for a sister station in Kansas City.