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Exclusive:  Local Chief Meteorologist Leaving TV Station

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

 

After nearly 14-years at Channel 6, Chief Meteorologist Fred Campagna and the station have decided to part ways GoLocal has learned.

Campagna confirmed that he is in fact leaving the station as of July 31st. "At the appropriate time, I went to channel 6 management with a reasonable proposal that I thought would allow me to stay at the station for, at least, the remainder of my contract (Aug 2013). The station dismissed my proposal out of hand, and we agreed to terminate the contract on July 31."

Campagna is the Chief Meteorologist on the 5, 6. and 11pm broadcasts and it had been his wish to stay at the station but apparently the two sides could not come together for a variety of reasons. While Campagna won't say either way - sources close to the situation tell GoLocal that salary and other benefits remained as some of the major sticking points. Some employees feel since new ownership took over at the station - the focus has gone away from keeping people who were higher paid and had longevity in the market. In particular the station's vacation policy is a sore point with some long term employees who say why should a person who has been there for 10-days get the same vacation as someone with 10-years.

"I am extremely grateful"

Campagna points out that he is the 3rd longest tenured employee behind Ken Bell & Steve Cascione in terms of WLNE on-air employees. Campagna, who started at Channel 6 with no on-air experience is fast to say he is grateful for the people around him who helped make him better. For a guy who had never been in front of a camera - Campagna has proven himself and cut his chops along the way. "I'll miss the people the most - both those that I work with on a nightly basis, and the viewers that have come to rely on my forecasts to help plan their day. I have worked with some excellent broadcasters, wonderful people, and great friends, including spending each weeknight with John Deluca, Karen Meyers, and Ken Bell - all of whom have taught me so much about how to be a professional broadcaster. I came to this station with no television experience, but have flourished with help from Steve Cascione."

Campagna is a Bristol native and still lives there with his wife and family. He went to St. Philomena School in Portsmouth, and Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River. What Channel 6 loses is a local guy who understood what local weather means to people. Like John Ghiorse did, and like how Steve Cascione, Mark Searles over at Channel 10 and Tony Petrarca at Channel 12 do.

The Replacement

New Guy - Kevin Coskren

Channel 6 has already named Campagna's replacement. GoLocal has learned it is Kevin Coskren who is the Chief Meteorologist from the Citadel (who owns Channel 6) station in Lincoln, Nebraska. No word on an official start date but safe to say he will be in place on or before July 31st. Chris Tzianabos, Vice President & General Manager at Channel 6 says Coskren has roots from New England and is thrilled to be coming. On the departure of Campagna he says there was agreement on both sides and it's pretty straight forward. "Fred initiated a discussion to pursue other options, we granted his wish. That simple."


Will The New Faces Work ?

What remains to be seen is if this new round of faces will work at Channel 6. In recent months you have seen some well known faces fade from the screen. Long time Channel 6 sports guy Don Coyne, Jim Corbin who did weather, also main anchor Allison Alexander was shown the door by new management.
Channel 6 has added new people - and resources - but the question remains if younger, less experienced, and different are better. Providence is such a unique place when it comes to TV news unless these new hires can really make some headlines - and break stories and not just report them - Channel 6 faces an uphill battle.

For Tzianabos, to his credit, he is a realist saying to GoLocal recently that the focus must be on making the station relevant. But, if the owners are just focused on profit and hiring cheap help - the answer becomes clear. Get used to staying in 3rd place.

As for Campagna, no firm direction from him on what he'll do next just yet.

"As for my next move, I'd love to continue forecasting for New Englanders. I'll be exploring some ways to continue providing accurate weather updates in a way that best serves the public's changing needs and desires." 

 

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