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TV Notes: Mike Stone leaves WTAE to join Cleveland station

Saturday, September 16, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

He'll be only a stone's throw away in Cleveland, but he won't be on TV in Pittsburgh anymore. Meteorologist Mike Stone is leaving WTAE for a job at WKYC, Cleveland's NBC affiliate.

Stone, who has been with WTAE for two years, will be working mornings in Cleveland with a likelihood of advancement to an early evening newscast after a year, he said.

"It's one of those things," Stone said. "I kind of have done everything I've been able to do here. It's not like there are any other openings. It's a situation where I looked to see what else was out there, and something else was.

"Plus, I think most of the people here have gotten tired of me," Stone said, his sense of humor always at play. "I'm leaving mainly because [morning anchor] Sam Merrill is tired of me. I think most of our morning show viewers would believe that."

[Cue laugh track here.]

Stone's last day on the air at Channel 4 will be Sept. 24. WTAE general manager James Hefner said a search has begun to fill Stone's position.

Stone's departure may not be the last from WTAE this month.

This week on WTAE's Web site, thepittsburghchannel.com, the station posted an opening for a weekend sports anchor/reporter ("No ESPN knock-offs, please") in the event current weekend sportscaster Pat Parris leaves. His contract expires in mid-October, and although WTAE has made an offer to keep him, Parris is looking to see if he can find a lead sports anchor job elsewhere.

Hefner said the station is advertising for a replacement "just in case."

"I hope he doesn't [leave], I hope he sticks around," Hefner said. "I've been here almost 15 years and we have a strong set of front-line talent, and in the middle you get caught and it's hard to keep people."

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