WTAE news director Alex Bongiorno to leave

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Alex Bongiorno, news director at WTAE-TV since March 2009, will depart the station next week.

"Alex has decided to leave. I'm not sure if she is going to another job," said Channel 4 general manager Michael Hayes. "She decided to leave the market for personal and family reasons."

Ms. Bongiorno did not return calls seeking comment.

During her tenure the station demoted meteorologist Stephen Cropper, who then bolted for rival station WPXI (Mike Harvey was hired as his replacement). Last September Mike Clark returned to anchor evening and late news broadcasts after a stint in the morning and at noon. At the same time, Andrew Stockey returned to anchoring sports along with 5 p.m. news anchor duties.

Channel 4's May sweeps ratings were down year-to-year (2012 vs. 2011) in many weekday news time slots in household and key demographic ratings.

Mr. Hayes said he'll begin the search for a new news director. Open on-air positions may wait to be filled. Channel 4's weekend morning anchor position remains unfilled since the departure of Keith Jones for Philadelphia in July.

"I'm not saying we wouldn't make any hire, but at the same time, I think it's important for the person whose responsibility it is to be able to hire their own people," Mr. Hayes said. "I wouldn't rush to make that decision."

New WQED program

WQED's 7:30 p.m. weekday programs return with new episodes next week and a new show in the lineup. "conversations@WQED," a weekly discussion program on topical issues hosted by Michael Bartley, will air at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, sharing that time slot with Rick Sebak's "It's Pittsburgh ...," which returns with new episodes in January.

Auto racing star Chip Ganassi will be the first guest on "conversations@WQED" next week.

Other upcoming programs include Tonia Caruso's look at Downtown living on "Experience" (7:30 p.m. Monday), a report on "Hunger: Our Hidden Crisis" on "Horizons" (7:30 p.m. Tuesday) and "Pittsburgh 360" (7:30 p.m. Thursday).

In addition, "Filmmakers Corner" returns with new episodes at 10 p.m. Saturday beginning today.


TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.


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