Van Howe extends stay at WWMT-TV
Current WWMT-TV main anchor Tom Van Howe has extended his contract and will continue anchoring the 5, 5:30 and 6 o'clock newscasts for the station, continuing to help out Newschannel 3 at the anchor desk at least through June 2009. He is currently filling the anchor role while Jeff McAtee serves as a U.S. Navy Commander overseas. Van Howe had initially retired in 2006 after 20 years of reporting and anchoring at WOOD-TV.
"Tom has been a great addition adding depth and experience to our news team," said Jim Lutton, WWMT Vice President and General Manager.
The station also announced a couple changes involving its anchors. Jeff Varner will move from his role as morning anchor to the night side and join Judy Markee for the 11 p.m. newscast on WWMT. Varner will also take over anchor duties for the 10 p.m. newscast on digital subchannel the CW7. Varner will also be reporting for the 5, 5:30 and 6 o'clock newscasts.
General assignment reporter Josh Roe will join Holly Doyle at the desk in the mornings. Roe joined Newschannel 3 in October from KFWD-TV in Dallas, Tex., where he reported and anchored.
"Josh is an exciting move for the WMMT/CW7 news team," said Cathy Younkin, News Director for WWMT. "We have some very talented anchors on all our newscasts to deliver live, local, breaking news to West Michigan viewers."
Grand Rapids AMs make changes
The two Birach Broadcasting AM stations in Grand Rapids have made changes to their programming. WMFN AM 640 has dropped its Adult Urban Contemporary/Talk format and is now airing brokered Spanish-language music as 'La Ponderosa', the format moving over from sister station WMJH AM 810 which only operates as a daytimer. The new programming at WMJH is reportedly Spanish-language contemporary hits.