In a move that had been expected (Daily Variety, Jan. 5), KNBC-TV yesterday confirmed that Mark Hoffman will become VP of news for the station on March 1.

Hoffman was lured away from his post as news director of WBBM, the CBS O&O in Chicago, with a salary said to be in the $ 250,000-per-year range–twice as much as any other N.D. in town.

Meanwhile, another WBBM vet, Stacey Marks-Bronner, who most recently served as VP of advertising, promotion and press for the CBS Television Stations, has been named VP-general manager of WFLD-TV, the Fox O&O in Chicago.

The loss of both Hoffman and Bronner will come as a blow, acknowledged WBBM G.M. Bill Applegate.

Dramatic improvement

Hoffman helped bring about some dramatic ratings increases during his time in the Windy City.

WBBM was a distant third in news when Hoffman arrived at the station in May 1991, but since his arrival the O&O has risen to a strong second-place standing in early evening news (its 10 p.m. newscast remains in third).

In an interview, Hoffman said yesterday that he operates under the philosophy that “the station that covers the news best wins.”

Aggressive marketing

He said he believes in covering the news well, marketing stories aggressively and “not getting beat on the big stories.”

Applegate dismissed the “tabloid” label given to Hoffman by some in the Chicago press, saying he has strong credentials and believes in presenting hard news.

Hoffman said it’s too early to discuss specifics such as personnel, formats or any of the multitude of decisions he will have to make once he arrives in L.A.

Replaces Valenta

KNBC has slipped from first in news a few years ago to second and, in some instances, third place in recent ratings books. The station’s last N.D., Nancy Valenta, quit following a dismal November sweeps and has been rumored for a possible position at KTTV with former boss, station G.M. Tom Capra (though it wouldn’t be news director).

Prior to joining WBBM, Hoffman was N.D. for WAGA-TV in Atlanta, where he brought that station’s newscasts from third to first. He held that position from October 1987 to May ’91.

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