Wednesday, August 1, 2001

A reprise of roles
in TV ouster

A tough day at KITV yesterday. President and General Manager Mike Rosenberg let News Director Wally Zimmermann go -- a second time. The first time was in February 1987 while they both worked in similar capacities at KHON. Zimmermann had been news director there since 1981.

"We were shocked," said anchor and reporter Ann Botticelli. "I think Wally Zimmermann is one of the most humane bosses you'll ever find, very supportive of the employees, and nobody likes to see something like this happen to someone who is such a wonderful human being."

From his East Honolulu home, Zimmermann said, "We had a good run while we were together." His last day is Aug. 10.

Zimmermann became news director at KITV in September 1988 when typewriters with extra-large type -- for visibility on a teleprompter -- were used to write news. He ushered in the transition to computer-assisted reporting as well as the transition from "ENG," or electronic newsgathering, to digital television.

Rosenberg announced the news to the staff. "He told all of us that it was a very personally painful decision," said anchor and Pacific Adventures Producer Gary Sprinkle.

"If you look around this newsroom, more than half of the people in it came to work here specifically, mainly, because of Wally Zimmermann," Sprinkle said. "We can't lose sight of the fact that this man is a husband and a father and a son and a member of the community and he's not just a news director."

Pamela Young, co-anchor of KITV's 5 p.m. news, producer of the station's "Mixed Plate" specials (and Sprinkle's wife), was first hired by Zimmermann at KHON in 1983, and then again at KITV. She echoed the shock expressed by others, but added, "He's such a talented guy, he's going to do wonderfully wherever he lands."

Rosenberg said, "Wally over the years has contributed greatly to the success of the television station, and we will all miss him, and wish him the best of success in his future endeavors." He said there is no specific candidate for the news director position and that internal and external searches will be conducted.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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