White out as WISH-TV GM after talent turnover

June 2, 2014

Jeff White, president and general manager of WISH-TV Channel  8, has parted ways with the station after 9 years at the helm.

White “is no longer with the company,” Courtney Guertin, a spokeswoman for station owner LIN Media, confirmed via email on Monday morning. She did not respond to questions regarding the circumstances of his exit.  

NewsBlues.com, a website covering the TV news industry, cited inside sources at WISH who said White was fired for disappointing newscast ratings and a series of significant talent losses, including the departure of popular meteorologist Angela Buchman in 2012.

The station last month reported an upswing in May sweeps ratings, although longstanding market leader WTHR-TV Channel 13 remains the market's No. 1 news station.

WISH-TV spokesman Scott Hainey referred questions about White to LIN Media. Efforts to reach White were not successful.

White was named station manager at the local CBS-TV affiliate in 2003, and then president and general manager in 2005. He held the same position for local sister station WNDY-TV Channel 23.

White’s tenure at Channel 8 has been marked by recent turnover in high-profile positions. In December 2011, the station fired field reporter Brad Edwards. At the time, White denied Edwards’ claim that the move was due to his salary, but declined to provide another explanation. The next month, WISH chose not to renew the contract of morning anchor Joy Dumandan.

In 2012, News Director Patti McGettigan was let go by the station. Also that year, popular meteorologist Buchman departed the station with no official explanation, although media sources said she had reached a deal with Channel 13.

Buchman debuted on Channel 13 in September 2013, leading to an immediate ratings surge for WTHR.

Longtime WISH anchorwoman Debby Knox retired in November at age 59, after 33 years with the station.

White began his career in media as an account executive for a radio station in Lansing, Mich. He joined WISH as an account executive in 1989. He was promoted to national sales manager in 1994, local sales manager in 1995, and general sales manager in 1998.

He ascended to station manager in 2003 when WISH's Scott Blumenthal was promoted to regional vice president for LIN Media. Blumenthal announced in September that he would retire from LIN Media at the end of 2013 as its executive vice president of television. 

LIN Media, based in Providence, R.I., operates or services 43 TV stations and seven digital channels in 23 U.S. markets.

WISH is a linchpin for operations at several LIN stations. It conducts a number of back-office operations for the company, and its facility on Meridian Street also conducts video switching and other production work for LIN stations in several states.

White’s departure comes at a time of transition for the station. In late March, LIN Media and Media General Inc. announced a $1.6 billion merger.
 

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