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WTTG’s Akerman expected to shift News Corp. posts

Piers Akerman, the news director of Fox O&O WTTG and prexy of the moribund Fox News Service, is reportedly headed for another province in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire.

Tuesday, the staff at the Washington, D.C., station learned that Akerman would be leaving his current position.

A Fox rep refused comment on Akerman, and the news director could not be reached for comment. An announcement is expected today.

Akerman is a longtime veteran of News Corp. Before joining Fox, he had worked as an editor at several Murdoch newspapers in Australia and the United Kingdom.

While WTTG’s latest news director was liked by many at the station, he apparently offended several staffers with his salty banter.

Colleagues suggest his tabloid tongue would have been perfectly acceptable in a different time or in a different culture, but for today’s workplace, it was definitely politically incorrect.

June 11 was the last day for the Fox News Service. It got flipped into WTTG’s operations, which has been feeding out news packages to Fox affils since then.

FNS was announced with much fanfare almost three years ago as an essential cog in Fox’s attempt to become a network on par with the Big Three. At the time, Fox exex reasoned that to compete with the majors they had to get their affils into the news business. Many Fox stations lacked news departments then.

While a number of Fox affils entered the local news arena — currently almost 50 are in the news biz — the weblet had anticipated more rapid growth. A recession-riddled economy derailed many Fox affils’ plans to start news departments.

In addition, Murdoch hoped that FNSwould allow the Fox O&Os to free themselves from having to purchase CNN’s affiliate newsfeeds for hundreds of thousands of dollars in yearly fees.