Media Scene

WBTV addresses racial sensitivity in newsroom

Management held meetings at WBTV (Channel 3) with general manager Nick Simonette and news director Dennis Milligan to address staff concerns about racial sensitivity last week after receiving a complaint about a photographer who whistled the folk tune “Dixie” in the newsroom.

“We wanted the staff to know that we don’t tolerate things in the workplace that make people uncomfortable,” Milligan said, adding that the matter was a personnel issue and he could not comment further on whether any disciplinary action was taken.

Alexis Mitchell, a news content specialist at WBTV and president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists, a chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, issued a statement calling the situation “unfortunate” and said the local chapter and the national organization would continue to monitor the station’s response. “This is a learning lesson for all, and we hope this will never occur again,” she said. …

WCCB (Channel 18) adds Jeff Zell, who has been filling in, to its sports team full-time with Kelli Bartik and Brandon Davidow, replacing Sean Bell, who left for a job with the Fox affiliate in Philadelphia. Zell, who most recently worked as sports director of the CBS affiliate in Myrtle Beach, emceed Charlotte Knights games last season. He will also be part of the WCCB team doing Charlotte 49er football broadcasts. He is married to Kristine Zell, who joined WCCB’s “News Rising” in late 2013. …

Anna Douglas of the Herald of Rock Hill is named reporter of the year by the S.C. Press Association. … Kyle Tucker of Detroit Speed in Mooresville was named winner of the televised “SEMA Battle of the Builders” competition for modifications on his 1969 Camaro on Velocity Network this month. …

After nine years at Time Warner Cable News, government reporter Brad Broders is leaving his hometown for a job at the ABC affiliate in Memphis.“I felt now was the right time to take on a new city and start from scratch in a new place,” says Broders, who started at Channel 14 in 2006.

Former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and his partner Lanny Ford, who do “Inside the Lines” on WZGV-AM (ESPN 730), will expand their franchise to a 10 a.m. weekday show on Yahoo Sports Radio beginning Monday. Hurney, who became a co-host on ESPN 730 in June, quickly attracted attention on “Inside the Lines” for the quality of A-list guests and his business perspective. “I have fun,” Hurney says. “We can bring a different perspective.” Ford and Hurney will follow another veteran Charlotte broadcaster on Yahoo Sports – Steve Czaban, who used to work for WFNZ-AM (“Fan” 610), does the morning show on Yahoo from 6 to 10 a.m. …

This week’s “Life in the Carolinas” (11 a.m. Sunday, WJZY, Channel 46) hosted by Carl White focuses on the phenomenon of the Brown Mountain Lights. Among those interviewed are Appalachian State University astronomer Daniel Caton, author Charles Braswell Jr. and former forestry service agents Clarence Smith and Les Burril, who encountered the lights on patrol. …

New York ad exec Tim Dillingham, whose portfolio includes Super Bowl and MasterCard “Priceless” commercials, has joined Charlotte’s Saturday Brand Communications as creative director from McCann-Erickson. Saturday Brand, which specializes in lifestyle and leisure brands, has among its clients the NoDa Brewing Co. and Brixx Pizza.

Washburn: 704-358-5007;

Twitter: @WashburnChObs.

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