Dana Whalen

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Whalen and Alan Sagal in the Gold Building Newsroom

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Long time WTIC-AM news anchor, reporter and newsroom manager Dana Whalen has been let go. Officially, station management reportedly explained the layoff internally as a decision to eliminate the position of news director.

Word of the change came Thursday afternoon through a variety of sources with working knowledge of WTIC’s operations. At least one CBS Radio employee, who is not part of the on-air staff, has also lost her job.

Whalen had been with the station for decades and is known for her near total dedication to the WTIC-AM news product. Over the years she has worked as a street reporter, news anchor, assistant news director and news director. Whalen even wrote editorials for WTIC-AM back in the days when each afternoon drive ended with an editorial read by the station’s senior management.

She and Angela Dias are among the last links WTIC has to its once power house news team which was led by Walt Dibble and included; Bryant Thomas, Alan Sagal, Paul Douglas, Sue Morris and others. She was also a mentor to many WTIC News interns.

New England Emmys

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The New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced its 2015 nomination list. The winners will be announced May 30th.

Congratulations to all the Connecticut nominees.

Gail Huff

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Former WFSB reporter Gail Huff has begun working as a special correspondent for NH1 – the New Hampshire radio and TV news operation. She recently anchored coverage of the verdict in the Boston bombing trial.

Gail is the wife of former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown. The couple moved to New Hampshire after Brown lost his Senate seat in Massachusetts. He then ran and lost in New Hampshire.

After channel 3, Gail spent 17 years at WCVB in Boston.

Names in the News

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And now a few updates on stories we’ve been following…

Beau Berman – The former Fox CT reporter has landed a job with WTAE in Pittsburgh. It’s good news for Berman who announced a few weeks ago that he was leaving Hartford to help with a family crisis in his hometown of Pittsburgh. It’s good to see things work out for him.

Hena Daniels – The former WFSB anchor/reporter is now a freelance reporter with CBS Newspath contributing regularly to CBS Money Watch. The CBS position is keeping her busy full time, but she is also continuing to do some work for WPIX in New York.

Brian Williams – The secluded NBC Nightly News anchor has fired back at anonymous sources who fed damaging inside intel to the Washington Post and New York Times over the weekend. With regard to his eventual return to the anchor desk, an apparent Williams partisan tells the New York Post, Williams “is not going down without a fight.”

CNN – The one time leader in cable news has had a tough weekend in Washington, D.C. Maligned from the podium at the White House correspondents’ dinner by both the president and Cecily Strong(pictured), criticized for failing to provide live coverage of unrest in Baltimore on Saturday night – and if all that is not bad enough a headline in Wednesday’s Washington Post: Is CNN As Bad As Everyone Thinks? Yes and No.

Imus Off TV

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Don Imus, who as a big morning radio personality in New York in the early ’90’s, played an influential role in Connecticut’s debate over the income tax in 1991, is leaving television.

His morning show is currently simulcast on the Fox Business Network, but FBN and Imus have apparently agreed to end that arrangement at the end of May. Imus plans to spend more time on his recently purchased ranch in Texas. The news was announced in typical, gruff Imus fashion without explanation.

Back in ’91 Imus broadcast his show from the Connecticut Capitol one morning with Governor Lowell Weicker as the featured guest. Twenty-five years later, some of the issues debated at the Capitol that summer are still on the agenda today.

Ken Strayhorn

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Sad news to report on the passing of former WTNH sports anchor Ken Strayhorn.

Ken worked at channel 8 for five years in the early ’90’s before leaving the station. He also worked in television in North Carolina, Louisiana and Virginia. An obituary printed in the Meriden Record Journal says he died last week.

Strayhorn played college football, and though he never played in the NFL, he was good enough to get a free agent contract with the New York Jets.

All News, Most of the Time

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The cable news networks are taking some heat this week following this weekend’s anti-police protests in Baltimore.

Saturday night is the specific problem. While two of the big three all news cable networks carried coverage of the White House correspondents’ dinner, featuring the president, violent protests were taking place less than an hour north in Baltimore. The protests were related to the police custody death of Freddy Gray – the latest in a series of incidents that have led people to question the relationship between police and minority communities nationwide.

The issue has CNN, MSNBC and Fox on the defensive for their coverage decisions and is raising questions about whether the networks are really committed to 24/7 news coverage. As for the second point; the period between Saturday evening and Sunday morning has always been kind of an all news dead zone where it has been hard to justify spending the resources on full staffing levels for those 12 or so hours each week in which almost nothing ever happens.

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