Tag Archives: Sean Lafferty

Thomas to leave Nexstar

Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas

WJET/WFXP News Director Lou Baxter tells P&T that he’s on the lookout for a new primary anchor to partner with Sean Lafferty. Kim Thomas will leave at the end of the month to join the office of State Senator-elect Sean Wiley.

Lou continues:

Kim has done a great job for us the past 6 years ago, having spent the last two of them on the anchor desk with Sean Lafferty. We wish her the best of luck. We have launched a nationwide search for her replacement. In the interim, Sean will solo.

Tapes and resumes to lbaxter@wjettv.com.

Three years of Press and Tower

Press and Tower Screen Shot

First Press and Tower Post - Sept. 1, 2008

Three years ago today Press and Tower was born.

Since our humble beginnings on Sept. 1, 2008, we’ve generated 488 posts, received 3,362 approved comments, and almost 160,000 visits to the site, including almost 18,000 different visitors in the past year. Our Facebook page for Erie radio old-timers called “We Rocked Erie in the 20th Century” has over 220 group members from across the country engaged in lively conversation about their days in the Flagship City.

This was a year of celebration and sadness; great improvements and unfortunate setbacks.

We mourned the passing of Frank, Chris, Al, and Bob. Rupolo went to Florida, Nat The Hat to Texas, Cassie to NYC, and Joey to OneCarribeanWeather.com. Even the Jennings rejoined the South.

Sadly, GlobalErie fell off the face of the earth, and we lost 40 skilled workers and about 12 column inches per page when the newspaper outsourced the actual newspaper part of their business south of the border; the Venango County border that is.

But we also gained, especially in the area of a rebounding advertising climate, the embracing of social media and new technology, and some strong investment in the product that the Erie media consumer can benefit from. We now have a fun old-time TV Low Power TV digtial trio, and are getting at least one new FM station, while a couple AM’s simulcast on FM translators now. And the GoErie iPad app is coming.

Don’t forget, as Sean and Kim remind us consistently, we can “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter!

Let me just say that I “Like!” and appreciate each of you for reading, commenting, encouraging and supporting this effort. I am always open to ideas for improving this special community of consumers and producers and would love your feedback. Thank you for being gracious when my editing gets heavy handed, and for understanding that in the end we all want excellent, responsive, interactive media that improves our community and quality of life. We are all “for Erie.”

That makes this little “two cans and a string” of a media voice worth all of the effort. Thank you…and on to year four!

Kim Thomas to join Lafferty at JET anchor desk

The management team at Nexstar/Erie turned their sights within their Peach Street newsroom in seeking replacements for Selena Wiles at news anchor and Luke Simons on the weekday sports desk for WJET/WFXP. From their release tonight:

JET-TV VP/General Manager Tim Dunst and JET-TV/FOX 66 News Director Lou Baxter jointly announced Friday September 10,  the appointment of Kim Thomas as the new co-anchor of Action News 24.  Thomas will join veteran news anchor Sean Lafferty at the news desk at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11pm on JET-TV’s Action News 24.

Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas was selected from a field of prospective anchor candidates from around the country.   She will begin her new anchoring duties in the next few weeks.

Kim Thomas joined JET-TV as a reporter in November 2006 after working for a short time at the local CBS affiliate.  She is a graduate of Edinboro University.  In naming her to this critically important position, Dunst said, “It’s always great when you can promote from within, and in this case because of her proven news talent and experience in our community, Kim was clearly the right person for the anchor desk.”

Kim Thomas has been JET-TV and FOX 66’s Erie City Hall and Erie Police Department reporter, and has covered every major local story involving crime, government, and politics.  Twice, she has co-hosted the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the MDA, and has served the community as an Erie Ambassador.

“In Kim Thomas, we have found someone who was educated in the area, has worked in the area, and has made a conscious decision to make Erie her home.  She’s a working mom who knows the region and brings a very real life sensibility and passion to her coverage of the stories that matter most,” said Baxter.  “We are very excited about her new role and her decision to continue to be a long term member of our news team.”

Craig Smylie

Craig Smylie

Also joining the weeknight anchor team at JET-TV and FOX 66 will be newly named Sports Director, Craig Smylie.

Smylie has anchored weekend sports on both JET-TV and FOX 66 for the past three years, after beginning his career in Lima, Ohio.  Craig “Let’s Talk Sports” Smylie is a graduate of Ohio University and has proven to be a favorite among area sports fans, players and coaches.  Smylie will be the very capable captain of Erie’s most aggressive television sports team, the home of the very popular and long running Friday Night Lights.

Sean Lafferty

Sean Lafferty

Also announced today was the appointment of news anchor Sean Lafferty as Managing Editor of Action News 24 and FOX 66.  In his additional new role, Lafferty will assist in responsibility for editorial content and direction of the evening newscasts and long range planning and implementation of strategic news initiatives.  Lafferty has been with Action News 24 for more than 20 years, and recently renewed a long term commitment to continue as the anchor of Erie’s TV news leader.

I think this is an excellent move for Nexstar, stopping the “revolving door” effect that the stations have experienced lately by elevating personnel that want to be in Erie, and excel at reporting about our town.

WFXP begins prime-time hour newscast


With the new season of “24” as a powerful lead-in, WFXP/Fox 66 begins Erie’s first hour-long prime-time newscast tonight at 10:00 PM.

Promos running Sunday night promised a greater and different approach to news, weather and sports for the 60-minute strip, which is slated to run 7 days a week. The prime-time news product should prove to be a powerful competitor to the current broadcast schedule. It also illuminates the reality of the cost of syndicated programming compared to repackaging local news.

What would make this move even more interesting is if WFXP put on a hip young anchor to match the prevailing network audience. I love Sean & Selina…but maybe a Jeremy Beecher-type would keep the high 18-35 year-old lead in.

Just my take.

Poll: How well has Obama used the media?

Last week’s poll generated the greatest response since we started the blog. We asked, “Who is the most influential person in Erie media?” and I must admit the results were surprising with Mike Richwalsky of ErieBlogs.com getting 26% of the votes, followed by WJET/WFXP anchor Sean Lafferty with 18%. Brian Lilly was third with 12%, with a tie for fourth with ETN’s Ed Palattella and his boss Pat Howard at 11%. Certainly trying to measure influence is an inexact science, but it was interesting to see that reporters and anchors outperformed the managers who write their checks.

Last week we had the countdown to and then the celebration of the 100th day of President Obama’s administration. Considering the challenging times in which we live, the President’s poll numbers continue to be significantly strong. Perhaps part of that standing comes from his strong use of the media.

What do you think?

From a scale from 1 to 5, how well is President Obama using the media to advance his goals?

  • 5: The Obama administration is playing the media like a virtuoso, in near total control of its message and media coverage (56%, 15 Votes)
  • 4: the administration is doing a good job in controlling its message and managing positive media coverage (33%, 9 Votes)
  • 3: the President’s control of his message is about average for young administrations (7%, 2 Votes)
  • 1: the administration is managing the media poorly (4%, 1 Votes)
  • 2: the President is having some trouble getting his message out (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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Erie media and the time crunch

Over the past week I’ve made a significant observation: when I get out of my Press and Tower journalism mode, and act as a typical Erie citizen in my routine, I consume little traditional Erie media.

The reason why this is occurring to me now is that for the past week, I’ve had a few really big deadlines at work that have me concentrating on the tasks morning, noon and night, so my blogging juices have gone on the back burner for a little while. My schedule put me in a mode of everyone else who doesn’t have a regular blog deadline, and here’s what I found out.

When I was in radio, we talked about “appointment radio;” making moments that people would stop and change their routine to listen to. This past week, when my life made me just average busy Joe Cume member, I found that there is very little in Erie media that I’ll make an appointment to watch, read or listen. Perhaps the most regular consumption is 15 minutes scanning the Times-News with my coffee and cereal. 15 minutes of NPR or Barry and Jim on the way to work. More sporadically I’ll catch Sean and Selena, or Amanda and Kevin about once a week each. Music on the radio is a weekend thing, 80’s on Classy 100, swing on WQLN, and worship on WCTL. Like many, I find that media viewing and listening is a secondary action while doing something else: eating, driving, getting ready for bed.

Selena Wiles forecast: sunshine

Around the WJHL/Tri Cities newsroom, she was known as “Sunshine.”

Well the team at WJET TV 24 are hoping to catch some rays as Selena Wiles enters the anchor chair at Action News 24 opposite Sean Lafferty. Wiles replaces JET-TV fixture Karla Mullenax who left the station this summer to take a communications position at Gannon University.

According to a station news release, after a nationwide search, News Director Lou Baxter stated, “We’re very happy to have found an experienced anchor that has just the right mix of broadcast journalism expertise, education, passion, chemistry, and charm to continue Action News 24s tradition of trust.”  Baxter added, “Selena Wiles is a welcome addition to Action News 24.”