In a move that caught some WALA staffers off guard last Wednesday, long-serving General Manager Gary Yoder was replaced by Corey Hanson to head the FOX affiliate’s Mobile/Pensacola market.
Yoder had been vice president, general manager of WALA since 2009, when he came to the Gulf Coast after 16 years running a station in Toledo, Ohio. The press release announcing Hanson’s hire said she would take over immediately, and Yoder made a statement on his Facebook page indicating the decision was financial.
“Not the way I wanted to say goodbye to my family at WALA FOX10 and to the wonderful friends I have made over the last nine years along the Gulf Coast, but sadly it is the way 2020 has gone!” he wrote. “I was recently a casualty of the economic times but was offered a fair severance package to help a bit. I came to Mobile with zero expectations and from day one you accepted this yankee and made me part of your family and I will never forget you all! My family fell in love with [the] WALA family, Mobile and Dauphin Island in a way I never expected them to! You touched us all and the memories will live forever!”
Insiders at the station said they were shocked by the decision and had no idea it was coming.
Hanson has been with Meredith for 16 years, serving at KPTV/KPDX, the company’s duopoly in Portland, Ore. She has worked there as an executive producer, creative services director, executive news director and station manager.
“Corey’s results-driven leadership has been a huge part of our success in Portland, and I’m confident she will be a great leader for the WALA FOX10 team and the greater Mobile and Pensacola communities,” Meredith Local Media Group President Patrick McCreery said.
Hanson has a degree in rhetoric and media studies from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and a certificate in business essentials from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
“While Portland will always hold a special place in my heart, I am thrilled to be leading the team at WALA FOX10,” Hanson said. “This is an exciting time to be in local broadcasting and I can’t wait to get started.”
Crawford to USA
The University of South Alabama (USA) has a familiar face handling media relations, as WPMI Local15’s Sports Director Lance Crawford recently left broadcast to take a position with the university.
Crawford was named director of media relations for USA and his last night on the air was May 23. He was in broadcast for 33 years and served two stints at WPMI as sports director, for more than 10 years at the station.
“I’ll miss a lot of things about TV, although not working nights, weekends, holidays and hurricanes. I’ll miss the people who I met at the ballpark, street or grocery store who said they watched me every night, even though some couldn’t recall my name. That never mattered because I still considered it a privilege to be invited into your homes every night. Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Crawford wrote on his Facebook page. “For a guy who just kind of accidentally discovered this career in college, I’ve enjoyed a hell of a run. Now I’m excited and am looking forward to the next chapter.”
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