It’s effective immediately. Former number two Mike Caputa will take over as acting news director.
New station G.M. Brien Kennedy made the change. Caputa is the only member of WCCO news triumvirate who remains: New-media director John Daenzer resigned Friday to take a job as TPT-TV’s Vice President of Interactive.
Kennedy was hired in June from Florida to replace longtime General Manager Susan Adams Loyd. It was the first time in years, WCCO’s big boss had no local experience. Since new G.M.s often bring in new news directors, that had many speculating Libin’s future was drawing short.
Still, in recent months, he introduced a popular reboot of the 6 p.m. newscast and others thought the new guy’s ax might pass the news director by.
WCCO has long been the area’s number-two newscast on the ad-driven 25-to-54-year-old demographic, behind KARE, though that can vary depending on newscast. One knock against the station is that its 10 p.m. newscast doesn’t build on CBS-TV’s market-leading prime-time numbers. KARE has two decades of brand equity, but despite the market-leading popularity of Julie Nelson and Belinda Jensen, that station may be vulnerable due to cost-cutting.
Kennedy is considered a fully corporate guy. Among other things, WCCO is merging its TV and radio websites soon, which may not improve TV’s current offering but provides a less expensive, corporate-standardized alternative. Kennedy would not comment for this story, but it’s possible more combos and cost-cuts coming and that requires a new manager’s full buy-in.
Libin was a bit of a non-traditional hire. Although he was the news boss at KSTP-TV from 1998 to 2003, he did two stints at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a journalism think tank. He worked for Poynter when WCCO and Loyd named him news director in November 2007.
Here’s the staff memo:
I have decided to make a change in our newsroom leadership effective immediately. During this transition Mike Caputa will be acting News Director and will work closely with the leadership team here at the station while overseeing the day to day operation of the newsroom.
I will begin the search for our News Director right away.
I want to thank Scott for all his work during his time here and I know all of you will join me in wishing him well in his future endeavors.
If you have any questions or concerns during this transition please feel free to drop me a note or come by the office anytime.