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WISH, WNDY owner appoints new general manager

Jeff Newman
August 25, 2014
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The owner of WISH-TV Channel 8 has appointed a well-traveled industry veteran to lead the Indianapolis station through what could be the biggest transition in its history.

Les Vann was named president and general manager of WISH-TV and sister station WNDY-TV Channel 23 on Monday by Austin, Texas-based LIN Media LLC.

Vann takes the position just two weeks after WISH-TV found out that it would lose its 58-year-old affiliation with CBS-TV at the end of the year to WTTV-TV Channel 4, which is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Broadcasting.

WISH now must find another network affiliation, if possible, or go it alone as an independent.

Vann is moving to WISH from another LIN property, WJCL-TV in Savannah, Georgia,  where he has been president and general manager since January 2013. He will replace Jeff White, who was with WISH-TV for nine years before leaving the station in June.

Prior to the Savannah job, Vann spent more than 20 years in management jobs in TV stations in locations including Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York. He began his broadcasting career in 1977.

“Les has done a terrific job in Savannah, rebuilding and launching a new brand, transforming its news department and strengthening the station’s commitment to localism," LIN Media Vice President of Television Jay Howell said in a written statement. "He brings a unique skill set to WISH-TV and WNDY-TV that will be very important to these stations’ growth and development.”

Vann received his bachelor's degree in mass communication from Illinois State University and attended the Broadcasters Executive Training program at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.

“I am excited to join the team at WISH-TV and WNDY-TV at a moment of great opportunity to enhance the stations’ strong community presence and develop innovative strategies that will drive new opportunities," Vann said in a prepared statement. "Indianapolis has long been one of my favorite cities and I am eager to become immersed in their great traditions.”

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  • make wish tv all news channel
    I would rather see wish TV be a 24/7 all news channel because everything else wish offered was boring.I would like for wish to have a lot of scenic views on bottom of screen of different towns and places while the news is going at top of TV screen simotanisly.
  • Good news - bad news
    Congratulations, Les Vann -- you are the new captain of the ship. The bad news -- it's called the "Titanic."
  • Too little, too late
    Hola, Telemundo?

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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