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WLNE-TV shakes up executive ranks

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PROVIDENCE – WLNE-TV (ABC 6) has had some changes in its top ranks in recent weeks.

Robinson Ewert, one of the two co-founders of Global Broadcasting of Southern New England LLC, the entity formed in 2007 to purchase and operate WLNE, has left the company, The Providence Phoenix reported.

Ewert’s partner at Global Broadcasting, Kevin O’Brien, declined to say what led to Ewert’s departure, which was announced to employees a few weeks ago, The Phoenix reported. Before buying WLNE, O’Brien and Ewert had worked together in the broadcasting division of the Des Moines, Iowa-based media giant Meredith Corp.

Separately, WLNE announced yesterday that Rob Holtzer, an advertising executive with the Florida Panthers hockey team’s media division, has been hired as the station’s new vice president and director of sales. He will begin work on Monday.

Before joining the Panthers’ Miami-based Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, Holtzer was an executive at the YES Network, the regional cable channel in New York that broadcasts Yankees baseball and New Jersey Nets basketball games. Holtzer has also worked for a number of local television stations.

“Rob has a great track record of developing innovative cross-platform revenue programs in all kinds of market conditions,” Steve Doerr, WLNE’s vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “He is a passionate, hard-charging guy and is the ideal person to lead our sales effort.”

WLNE’s advertising revenue fell 8.9 percent to $8.23 million in 2008, which was not as steep as the 11.8 percent decline for the Providence-New Bedford market as a whole, according to BIA Financial Network Inc., a Chantilly, Va.-based market research firm.

The station is perennially third-place in the local ratings behind Media General Inc.’s WJAR-TV (NBC 10) and LIN TV Inc.’s WPRI-TV (CBS 12). WLNE’s ad revenue in 2008 was fourth-highest in the market behind WNAC-TV (Fox 64), also owned by LIN, according to BIA.

“I think there is excellent growth potential at WLNE,” Holtzer said in a statement. “Challenging times often lead to great opportunities if you are able to move quickly and take advantage of the breaks that can be found at times like this.”

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