NBC affil KXAS-TV has elevated news reporter Larry Mullins to director of the station’s Dallas bureau. The move is just one of many designed to strengthen the station’s position in the local market. It has been running second in the 5 and 6 p.m. local news slots and vying for that position at 10 p.m. with CBS affil KDFW-TV.
News director Stuart Kellogg also announced the firing of exec news producer Melvin Coffee and Dallas news operations chief Rick Thompson as part of the realignment process. Mullins is replacing Thompson, while Coffee’s replacement has yet to be named.
Mullins, who has been with the station four years, will continue to host the new “AM Central” program that premiered Feb. 3, but will no longer be an on-air reporter.
Recent hires also include Cynthia Tinsley, who began co-anchoring the 5 p.m. newscast Jan. 28, and Joyce Morgan, who will begin early morning and noon newscasts duties in April.
Both KXAS and ABC affil WFAA-TV have been picketed in recent months by minority activists protesting hiring practices and news decisions at the stations, although Kellogg says the management changes and new hires were unrelated to those protests. Mullins, Tinsley and Morgan are all black (as is the departing Coffee).
The station also continues to search for a new general manager to replace Frank O’Neil, who recently announced he is leaving sometime this spring to start his own business.