CBS46 hires Steve Doerr, its seventh news director in 10 years

This was posted by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

TV news consultant Steve Doerr has been hired as the latest news director at CBS46 in what has become a revolving-door position.

He replaces Frank Volpicella, who was let go last month after less than a year on the job. Doerr will be the seventh news director at the station in less than a decade.

“Steve comes to us with a rich history and both news and upper station management,” General Manager Mark Pimental wrote to staff today, “and is uniquely qualified to take on this important role here.”

Doerr has had a slew of management jobs in local TV over the years. He has worked as a news director in Philadelphia (WCAU-TV), Washington D.C. (WRC) and Columbus, Ohio (WSYX). He has been senior vice president of news, promotion and programming for all NBC own-and-operated stations. And he has been general manager in Providence, R.I. (WLNE) and Dallas (KXAS).

Most recently, he has been vice president of client development for a broadcast consulting firm Crawford Johnson & Northcott. The description of him on the website is as follows:

The brand is everything. Steve has built some of the most distinctive brands in local media because of his sharp focus on becoming distinctive. His experience in news, management and corporate strategy provide you uncommon insight. His knowledge of digital content and strategy will help you forge new paths. Plus, Steve cuts right to the point. Just what you want when the goal is to win.

The CBS affiliate has seen regular turnover of top management for many years as the station has struggled to improve ratings.

Here are the previous six news directors: Frank Volpicella (11, months, July, 2016-June 2017), Larry Perret (20 months, September 2014- May,  2016), Lane Michaelson (15 months, April, 2013- July, 2014), Eric Ludgood (22 months, March, 2011-January 2013), Steve Schwaid (two years, 10 months, May, 2008-March, 2011) and Rick Erbach (three years, four months, January 2005-May 2008).

Michael Castengera, who teaches broadcast news at the Grady School at the University of Georgia and does broadcast consulting, said Doerr had a decent reputation back in the day but he hadn’t tracked him recently. He does not envy Doerr’s task at hand.

“I quite frankly don’t understand how anybody with decent credentials would want to take that station on,” he said.

Castengera said he’s friends with Volpicella, Doerr’s predecessor, and knew he made a concerted effort to meet with publicists and VIPs in town to help build the affiliate’s reputation. Pimental and Volpicella had worked together before successfully, Castengera noted, “so it was a shock to me when Mark let him go after such a short time.”

Doerr also worked with current CBS46 evening anchor Sharon Reed before in Cleveland in the mid-2000s at WOIO. That was a period of time when Reed posed nude with hundreds of others as part of a photo installation in 2004, garnering her headlines nationwide. According to a wire story at the timeDoerr as news director said the story was aimed at bringing in ratings during November sweeps when audiences are measured to set advertising rates.

Above: WOIO anchor Sharon Reed. Below WOIO news director Steve Doerr (with Reed) tapes a response to viewers after Reed disrobed at the scene of a mass nude photo installation in Cleveland as part of her first-person report. Photo via WOIO, Cleveland Ohio less


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