Former Indianapolis TV exec to run WFTS
Richard Pegram III, a broadcaster with more than 30 years experience, has been named as the new vice president and general manager at Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS-Ch. 28. He starts the job May 28. (Read the press release here)
Pegram, 56, comes to Tampa from Indianapolis, where he served as general manager at NBC affiliate WTHR for 13 years before an abrupt departure in November. Credited with tripling WTHR's revenue and leading it into first place newscast ratings during his tenure, Pegram left the station amid rumors he had conflicts with the station's owners over cost-cutting issues.
At WFTS, he will jump from running the top station in the nation's 26th largest market to running a station ranked third and fourth in the 13th-largest market, Tampa. Pegram replaces Bill Carey, who resigned earlier this year, six months after he was arrested and accused of burglary and battery after a hit and run accident. Hillsborough County prosecutors declined to file charges against Carey in March, but the decision came too late to save his position at WFTS.
Pegram inherits a station which officially has been without a general manager since September. Executives there have run the station well during that time, but the move by WFTS owner E.W. Scripps Co. to name a new chief caps a longstanding question mark about how the station might move forward into the future.
Bill Peterson, senior vice president of the Scripps Television Station Group, extolled Pegram's virtues in a press statement: "For more than a quarter of a century, Rich Pegram's name has been synonymous in broadcast circles with excellence and leadership. His trophy case is filled with the most-prestigious awards in the industry, and he knows how to take share from competitors in the market. More importantly, his emphasis on high-quality local news and his belief in operating a powerful Internet business will make WFTS even more valuable to Tampa."