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Mark Wilson to replace departing anchor Kathy Fountain on WTVT-Ch. 13's 5 p.m. newscast



WILSON_MARK When he first came to WTVT-Ch. 13, Mark Wilson's big goal was to anchor with his father, the station's top male anchor, John Wilson.

But now that he's taking on a big new job -- succeeding departing anchor Kathy Fountain on the Tampa Fox affiliate's 5 p.m. newscast -- Wilson can't believe he's been at the station for a dozen years, leading the station 11 p.m. NewsEdge newscast since its inception in 2005.

"What I've seen through Kathy and my dad is the importance of deep community ties," said Wilson, 40, who hopes to anchor more from breaking news scenes after he joins co-anchor Denise White on the 5 p.m. show Dec. 31. "I've been fairly involved with the show, doing stories for the program, and I get along terrifically with Denise. I think I'll fit with the audience pretty well."

Wilson's appointment does end a 19-year tradition at WTVT of featuring two female anchors in the timeslot. White and Fountain were first teamed up back in 1990, as station officials decided to try an anchor pairing which hadn't been seen before in the market.

Fountain, 59, announced in November that she would leave the Fox affiliate on Dec. 30 to become a full-time mental health counselor. Her surprise departure after 24 years left two openings; the co-anchor slot at 5 p.m. and the host position on her 12:35 p.m. midday talk segment, Your Turn.

Morning anchor Russell Rhodes will take over Your Turn the same day Wilson joins the 5 p.m., though the segment will be cut from 35 minutes to 15-minutes each weekday.

Raised in St. Petersburg, Wilson graduated from Florida State University, working in Raleigh, N.C. and as a regional correspondent for NBC before coming to WTVT. "Our big challenge is setting ourselves apart, at a time when everybody is getting news on their mobile devices," he said. "i think that local connection is how you do it."

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