WNWO new management team to build better content, communityWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tom Konecny, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
Aimed at enhancing the on-air product and increasing community involvement, WNWO-TV has made changes to its top level management. Five employees, all from Fort Wayne’s Granite Broadcasting Corp., recently came to Toledo in a move made by WNWO’s owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair purchased WNWO from Barrington Broadcasting Group in 2013.
Lead anchor Jim Blue will transition his news director duties to newcomer Nicole Hahn, currently in the newly created position of assistant news director. Blue’s new title will be managing editor and lead anchor. John Nizamis, one of the five employees from Fort Wayne, has been named general manager, replacing Chris Topf.
Nizamis, who has worked in television sales for 30 years, said that in a market of Toledo’s size it is rare to have a lead anchor also serve as news director.
“In a sense, most anchors have that managing editor responsibility,” Nizamis said. “They’re really leading the charge on what they’re covering. The news director is much more of a management position because you have to worry about hiring and firing.”
In other changes, Charity Freeman was named general sales manager, replacing Sena Mourad-Friedman. Freeman served as the local sales manager for Granite, as well as an on-air local program host. Two other positions have been added, including Jason Ashmawi, promotions manager, and Emma Ashmawi, digital content manager. Both previously worked for Granite in producing and Web content management, respectively. Granite operates several Fort Wayne stations, including WPTA-21 (ABC), WISE-33 (NBC), Fort Wayne’s CW and MYTV Fort Wayne.
Nizamis said he realizes WNWO trails far behind in local ratings, but said the new faces are here to deliver more than numbers.
“It would be far too ambitious to say that we want to knock (Channels) 13 or 11 off the throne,” Nizamis said. “As long as we’re fighting the good fight, we’re going to be in good shape here. It goes beyond the ratings. First of all, it is a business. If we can increase ratings, we have an opportunity to increase revenue.
I’m trying to establish a new morale. I want them to walk with a new swagger. We want to be relevant. This is a good product in a good market.”
Nizamis said the station is also planning to add eight more positions – such as on-air talent, producers and photographers.
Sinclair group manager Dan Hoffman oversaw the switch in personnel, and said he wanted changes with familiarity.
“I wanted to bring in a team that all knew each other and worked together,” Hoffman said. “This was a matter of getting a group of people together. They all have the same hymnal. They get it. They know what they have to do.”
Active involvement in the community is a big part of what Hoffman wants them to do.
“We’re going to do well by doing good,” Hoffman said. “We’re going to get involved in the community, and put a product out that everyone can be proud of. I want my anchors to be out in the community, to serve on boards. We want to make a difference in the communities we serve. How can we help the communities that are viewing us? Can we be at their schools? Absolutely we can, and we want to.
It’s going to be required if you come and work for us. I’m not saying they didn’t do those things (before), but we’re going to do it at a whole new level. If they don’t move the needle, we’re going to at least give people a really good product.”
Nizamis likes what he he’s seen so far
“I have absolutely loved it (here),” Nizamis said. “I moved in Downtown, and it’s just, just awesome. I feel the energy. People here have been terrific, which is cool. Toledo should be proud of that, and I love what I’m seeing over on the riverfront. I’m jacked. This station can only get better; we’re excited about it.”
Tags: assistant news director, Barrington Broadcasting Group, Charity Freeman, Chris Topf, Dan Hoffman, digital content manager, Emma Ashmawi, Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne’s CW, general manager, general sales manager, Granite Broadcasting Corp., Jason Ashmawi, Jim Blue, John Nizamis, MYTV Fort Wayne, NBC 24, Nicole Hahn, promotions manager, Sena Mourad-Friedman, Sinclair Broadcast Group, WISE-33, WNWO, WPTA-21