The year-long turnover at Channel 4 News continues, giving new News Director Scott Levy a chance to put his stamp on the news department as he tries to find the right people to fill several open positions.
The latest departure is reporter Joe Melillo, who is leaving for a station in Indianapolis, WISH-TV that is owned by the same owner as Channel 4 and recently lost its affiliation with CBS.
Melillo hardly had a chance to make much of an impression here as he only arrived at Channel 4 in July. He is moving to the No. 27 market in the country from the No. 52 market.
His departure was announced less than a week after Channel 4 announced that reporter Elysia Rodriguez had left after a year at the station.
This summer, three other Channel 4 news staffers left. Anchor Diana Fairbanks went back to Michigan to take a job outside of television, reporter Ed Drantch moved to Channel 7 to anchor and report, and reporter Rachel Kingston left to work in the Erie County Sheriff’s Department.
And the departures might not be over.
The contracts of Channel 4 reporter-weekend anchor Lou Raguse and his wife, reporter Emily Guggenmos, are believed to expire early next month and they could be headed elsewhere.
Reinforcements are coming. Levy announced two weeks ago that the station has hired a new reporter. Jenn Schanz arrives in early March from KLKN in Lincoln, Neb. She has something in common with Fairbanks. Fairbanks arrived here from Traverse City, Mich. Schanz’s bio in Lincoln says that she grew up in Ann Arbor and Traverse City. She is a graduate of DePaul University and has worked in Lincoln for two years.
Channel 4 has finally gotten around to confirm the hiring of a Binghamton anchor, Dave Greber. It was reported here two weeks ago. He anchors several newscasts at WBNG and is expected to join the CBS affiliate here next month as a reporter. A native of Cincinnati and a graduate of Miami of Ohio, Greber has been in Binghamton for three years. With his background, you would expect he would get an opportunity to at least substitute anchor, especially if Raguse were to leave.
The hiring of Schanz and Greber essentially replace Drantch and Kingston. Nalina Shapiro has taken over Fairbanks’ anchor duties, leaving a reporter opening for Shapiro’s former duties.
With the departures of Melillo and Rodriguez, Channel 4 still will have three reporting openings and it could expand to five depending on whether Raguse and Guggenmos leave.
If Raguse -- who just received three New York State Emmy nominations -- and his wife depart, seven reporters on Channel 4’s staff will have left in less than one year.
It would also mean the only news staffers in their early 20s remaining on the CBS affiliate hired by former Channel 4 News Director Joe Schlaerth a few years ago during the news department’s reorganization will be Shapiro and Brittni Smallwood in news and Lauren Brill in sports.