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New news director on way to KDKA

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Joe Coscia, news director at the CBS affiliate in Albany, N.Y., will take over for current KDKA news director Jeff Weissbart on Oct. 23.

In a move that's out of the norm, Weissbart will remain at the station, taking the title managing editor and overseeing the assignment desk and news operations.

Weissbart, who has been with KDKA since 1982 and became news director in June 1998, said he wanted to return to a job similar to the assistant news director role he had prior to becoming the station's top news executive.

Weissbart said he approached KDKA general manager Gary Cozen a few months ago to ask about the possibility of returning to his previous role at KDKA.

"The administrative efforts of this job take away from the ability to do news on a daily basis," Weissbart said. Cozen could not be reached for comment.

In Albany, Coscia was news director for WRGB, that city's heritage station, similar to KDKA. Coscia joined WRGB in October 1997 when the station's longtime No. 1 standing had begun to crumble in a tight three-way race for news viewers. Ratings remain close, but recently WRGB's ratings have improved.

"There are so many similarities [between WRGB and KDKA], the heritage and the tradition," Coscia said in a phone interview yesterday. "My style of local news so fits their 'Hometown Advantage' ... I'm an enabler, a facilitator. I hope to bring my hometown philosophy and enable them to execute their 'Hometown Advantage.' "

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