Comerford to top WNBC

Native New Yorker to continue city parade coverage

The NBC TV Stations Division has promoted exec VP of sales and marketing Frank Comerford to president and general manager of WNBC New York, succeeding Dennis Swanson, who has retired.

In his six years as prexy-general manager and NBC Olympics co-chairman, Swanson “grew the station to a consistent No. 1 in the ratings and solidified that position,” said Jay Ireland, president of the NBC O&Os. “WNBC has won seven out of the last 10 Nielsen sweeps, and the station has finished No. 1 in sales revenue for the last four years in a row.”

Comerford, a native New Yorker, has spent the past three years in his O&O job after serving five years as a sales exec with WNBC.

One of Swanson’s legacies that Comerford will continue is live coverage of the annual New York City parades organized by Puerto Ricans, Italians and Irish. WNBC was the first network O&O to engineer the parade coverage.

WNBC’s local newscasts from 5-6:30 p.m. and 11-11:30 p.m. tend to run neck and neck with those of WABC. The syndicated shows that deliver consistently high ratings for WNBC are “Judge Judy” at 4 and 4:30 p.m., “Extra” at 7 p.m. and “Access Hollywood” at 7:30 p.m.

Before WNBC, Swanson was president of ABC Sports for 10 years. Earlier in his career, he was prexy of the ABC-owned TV stations and VP-general manager of ABC-owned WLS-TV Chicago, where he helped create “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Although retired from salary-paying jobs, Swanson will continue his term as national chairman of the New York-based National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences.

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