WXIN-TV Channel 59 General Manager Jerry Martin notified staff on Monday that he is leaving the Indianapolis station Feb. 25 to pursue a similar position in Houston.
Martin will join NBC affiliate KPRC, a Post-Newsweek-owned television station, as its general manager.
He has been at WXIN, commonly known as Fox59, for more than six years and helped the station triple its number of hours devoted to local news.
“I’ve worked at a top-10 market before, and it’s a good opportunity to get back into a top-10 market,” Martin said of Houston. “It’s a bittersweet move.”
When Martin took over as general manager in 2004, the Fox affiliate was airing 18-1/2 hours a week of news—a three-hour local news-and-entertainment show on weekday mornings and a half-hour news show at 10 every night.
This year, the station expanded its weekend morning news shows by an hour, and is now is airing more than 50 hours of live local news each week. WXIN televises news weekday mornings from 4 to 10 a.m.
And if everything goes as planned, by the end of 2012, it will add a 6-7 p.m. newscast weekdays, bringing the total to 59-1/2 hours per week. That means more than a third of its airtime will be devoted to local news—about twice as much as its three competitors and maybe more than any other network affiliate in the country.
“WXIN and [sister station] WTTV [Channel 4] are in terrific shape,” Martin said. “I see both these stations doing well over the next three to five years.”
WXIN is the latest local television station to lose a general manager.
WRTV-TV, the local ABC-TV affiliate, recently chose Larry Blackerby, a 30-year television veteran, to replace long-time general manager Donald Lundy, who retired in December.
Coincidentally, Blackerby arrived from KPRC—the station Martin is joining in Houston.
And in June, John Cardenas joined WTHR-TV Channel 13 as its general manager, replacing the late Jim Tellus.