Channel 2 taps Ohio TV executive to be news director

October 11, 2006|By Nick Madigan | Nick Madigan,Sun Reporter

In its quest to increase viewership of its struggling news programs, Baltimore's ABC affiliate, WMAR, has named David Silverstein, a television executive in Columbus, Ohio, as news director.

Connie Howard, his predecessor, left Channel 2 in June after spending 16 months trying to boost its news audience, which is considerably smaller than those of Baltimore's other stations.

Since July 2001, Silverstein has directed the combined news department of WSYX, Channel 6, Columbus' ABC affiliate, and WTTE, Channel 28, the Fox affiliate, both owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, based in Hunt Valley.

Silverstein, 41, declined to lay out a strategy but said he is undaunted by the prospect of fighting for ratings at WMAR, which is owned by the E.W. Scripps Co.

"There's a huge upside," he said. "ABC has really turned it around in the last few years, with Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, those kinds of shows. When you have a strong prime-time lead-in, it helps your news product. It's helping in Columbus, and it will in Baltimore." He'll start work before the November sweeps.

His Columbus staff was 70 people, about the number he will have under his supervision in Baltimore. In terms of households that watch TV, Silverstein is going from the 32nd national market to the 24th, a promotion by any measure.

Silverstein will not be stepping into unfamiliar territory. "This is a homecoming for me," said Silverstein, who was born and raised in Wilmington, Del. As a child he often visited Baltimore and his cousins in Pikesville. "We'd make plenty of trips to Baltimore for family events and the like."

Silverstein, who is married and has two daughters, graduated from Syracuse University in 1987 and worked as a producer and news executive at TV stations in Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Tampa, Fla.; and Miami.

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