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New WIVB owner names new general manager as LaSpina exits

To no one's surprise, the new owner of WIVB-TV and sister station WNLO-TV have replaced General Manager Rene LaSpina.

I reported a month ago that LaSpina expected to be let go shortly after Nexstar Media Group's purchase of the Media General station was approved by the Federal Communications Commission. It was approved last month.

However, it was a little surprising that LaSpina's name wasn't even mentioned in the Nexstar release naming her replacement. Such omissions aren't unusual, but  you might have thought she would have been thanked for her service for almost the last four years.

Dominic Mancuso, who has 33 years of broadcasting experience and formerly was vice president and general manager at two Cleveland stations and three Nashville stations, Monday was named vice president and general manager of WIVB and WNLO.

The University of Notre Dame graduate started his career as an account executive at WGN-TV in Chicago and in his 18 years at the station rose to station manager.

In a lengthy Nexstar release that didn't mention LaSpina, Mancuso was quoted as saying:  "My wife and I are excited to move to Western New York and immerse ourselves in the rich history of the Buffalo community."

LaSpina wasn't that interested in community involvement in her almost four years at the station. She survived one ownership change from LIN Media to Media General but wasn't expected to survive another one.

She hired a news director, Scott Levy, who presided over a revamp of Channel 4's news, sports and weather departments as veterans Don Paul, Rich Newberg and George Richert exited and several younger reporters were added.

The revamp has been successful, with Channel 4 getting stronger ratings in its battle with Channel 2 for news supremacy. However, there will be no tears over LaSpina's departure because her management style didn't make her popular. More likely, there will be cheers over her exit and hope that Mancuso will be an improvement.

LaSpina left her successor with the decision to hire a permanent news director and a permanent morning female anchor or take the interim tag off those currently in those positions.

Lisa Polster has been the interim news director since Levy left and Brittni Smallwood has been the co-anchor of the morning program "Wake Up!" since Teresa Weakley left.


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