The popular co-anchor of “Local 15 Today” says she has made a life decision to leave the station when her contract expires in September.
Kelly Jones, who joined Local 15 in 2013, says she’s come to a place in life where she wants to focus more on her two children, so she’s decided not to resign with WPMI when her contract expires this fall.
“I chose not to re-sign my contract that’s up in September,” she said. “It’s a faith-based decision and a decision for my children.”
While Jones didn’t say what she has in mind for her future, she did say she wants to stay in the Mobile area. Jones said she is not planning on leaving broadcasting, though.
“I love this city. I love the area and my kids love it. It’s a great place to raise a family,” she said.
Jones came to WPMI-TV from KCTV in Kansas City, where she worked as a morning/noon anchor as well as hosting “KC Zoo Show.” She also has worked at KFMB in San Diego, California, and KYMA in Yuma, Arizona.
Other aspects of her career include three years as a U.S. diplomat in Tirana, Albania, and Brussels, Belgium. In 2007 she also became the first civilian Family Readiness Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps 232-year history.
WPMI General Manager Bobby Totsch said Jones’ departure is something they’ve been discussing for a few months and that while he is sad to see her go, he is supportive of her decision.
“It’s unfortunate for us. She’s really helped us. We’ll miss her. She’ll stick around and I hope she’ll have a good life,” Totsch said. Jones and Totsch worked together in Kansas City and he brought her in shortly after taking over as GM.
As for finding her replacement, Totsch said the station has the luxury of time in making that decision. He said finding a new co-anchor for “Local 15 Today’s” Darwin Singleton will be a focus, as is launching a new lifestyle show called “Gulf Coast Today” that will be hosted by Terra Reeves.
Jones says she is grateful for her time at WPMI and says viewers are not going to notice any difference in the way she does her job over the next four months. She will approach it with the same enthusiasm she always has.
“My focus is on right now,” she said. “The station has been gracious to support me. But it’s just time.”
More on February TV sweeps
WKRG-TV General Manager Mark Bunting was unavailable to comment last week on the new code readers being used to determine ratings in the market, so he’s offering some thoughts this week.
Bunting said while the February Nielsen ratings book — the first to use the electronic readers — did show some tightening in the race to be number 1 in the market, the basic positions each station holds have remained much the same.
“The February 2016 Nielsen rating book provided us with some interesting information,” Bunting said. “The landscape with the new code-reader methodology has been altered somewhat, but for the most part the rank of stations throughout all day parts remains constant. For the Mobile stations, WKRG continues to be the leader in household ratings for news.”
Bunting provided some numbers that showed the coveted 25-to-54 age group indeed had tightened from top to bottom. In that demographic, WKRG finished first in five of eight of the news time periods. WALA was first three times. But in most of these time slots the difference between first and third has become very thin.
“The demo race in Mobile has tightened, but again, our ranking for the most part remains unchanged,” Bunting said.
Getting silly at al.com
Al.com’s foray into the world of comedic videos produced an interesting take on the current debate over which public restrooms transgendered individuals should use.
Part of the al.com’s comedy arm known as Slow News Day offered up a video skit on what is purported to be “bigot’s solution to transgender bathrooms.” The satirical commercial for an item dubbed “The Dick Detector 3000,” which ostensibly can recognize whether someone in a public restroom does or doesn’t have male genitalia.
While it’s a matter of personal taste as to whether SND’s Adam Schwartz hits the nail on the head or falls flat with this parody in which he plays a pitchman named Rod Johnson, it’s still hard to believe a “mainstream” news source like al.com has gone down this road.
3 Echoes ads staff and space
The staff is growing at 3 Echoes Productions, the exclusive video partner for the nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.”
3 Echoes announced the growth of its staff and client services last week with the hiring of a new producer and expanded onsite studio. Allison Kelley has been added as a producer. She has a background in public relations, newspaper journalism and television production and direction.
The studio is also expanding its 850-square-foot studio space to allow multiple productions to take place at once.
Updated at 2:35 p.m. 5/5/16 to correct statements that Kelly Jones is leaving broadcast. She says she is not leaving the broadcast business.
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