The revamped “Wake-Up!” morning show debuts today on WIVB-TV Channel 4 featuring new co-anchor Jordan Williams and Diana Fairbanks, who logged her first morning shift Monday.
Williams, who worked for four years at KRGV in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, was introduced on Tuesday morning’s edition of “Winging It.”
“Diana and Jordan are two of the most natural journalists I’ve seen,” said Joseph D. Schlaerth, news director. “They know what is important to our viewers, and what folks want and need to know in the morning.”
Fairbanks and Williams, station executives believe, will give WGRZ-TV’s “Daybreak” with Melissa Holmes competition in the morning ratings race.
According to the November Nielsen ratings book, the battle for morning TV viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 is a squeaker for the first hour, between 5 and 6 a.m. Currently, WGRZ-TV Channel 2 is winning with a 2.2 rating compared with 2.1 for Channel 4.
The second hour, 6 to 7 a.m., gives Channel 2 a more pronounced lead with a 4.9 rating against 2.9 for Channel 4.
Meanwhile, Fairbanks appears to be learning a morning wake-up drill off the air, too.
“Technically my day starts at 4, so I’ve been trying to get up no later than 3,” said Fairbanks during a phone interview from the Channel 4 newsroom. “I woke up at what I swear was the middle of the night, and it was 10.”
Until recently, Fairbanks was on the air at that time anchoring the 10 p.m. newscast on WNLO-TV, Channel 23, Channel 4’s sister station.
By shifting Fairbanks to morning anchor, Channel 4 executives have finally filled the vacancy created by Victoria Hong, who left in June 2012 to work for Delaware North Cos.
“Morning show viewers are very loyal, and they like to have their routine in the morning,” said Fairbanks.
“They like to get up, get their coffee and turn on the TV. I think more and more people are getting a jump-start on their day, ” Fairbanks said.
Don Postles is now anchoring the 10 p.m. news, with Jacquie Walker picking up Fairbanks’ former slot at 5:30 p.m.
Fairbanks, meanwhile, is also now the station’s noon anchor.
“One of the things I am excited about is the ‘Winging It’ show that starts at 8,” said Fairbanks. “I love news, don’t get me wrong, but the cooking and lifestyle segments are something I like, too.
“I want to be welcoming, informative and warm,” she added. “I want to be part of the community in that way, because people here care about where we live.”
Fairbanks started at Channel 4 in January 2012. Before that she served as anchor/reporter for 11 years at WPBN/WTOM in Traverse City, Mich.
Fairbanks’ husband, Brian, who had worked in public relations in Michigan, now works in public relations with Rural Metro/WNY.
In other news at Channel 4, senior news producer Vic Baker has left the station to take a new position with a cable news channel in Florida, station personnel confirmed.
Baker, born in Hornell, worked in the news broadcasting industry for more than 40 years. He also did a reporting stint for the Elmira Star Gazette.
Baker was a co-founder of Habitat for Humanity in Lockport, according to the Buffalo Broadcasters Association. In 2011, he was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame.