WISH, WNDY owner appoints new general manager

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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