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2013 flashback: Are big changes coming to CBS Atlanta? Eric Ludgood out

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed January 4, 2013

CBS Atlanta – which has stabilized in recent years but remains a third or fourth place finisher in the ratings in most time slots – has cut its news director Eric Ludgood after two years.

Ludgood worked at the station as an assistant news director for several years, left briefly for Raleigh, N.C., then came back in early 2011.

General manager Trey Fabacher, who joined the station in the fall, said this is his fifth “turnaround” effort as a general manager of general sales manager. He last spent six years lifting ratings at the CBS/CW duopoly in Detroit and is seeking a “new direction” at CBS. He wished Ludgood well in his future pursuits.

One employee, who wasn’t authorized to speak, said Ludgood was well liked by staff and “cared about you personally.”

Fabacher wouldn’t provide me details of what direction he’d like CBS Atlanta to take under a new news director, but he said he has an eye on the big picture – not just a way to differentiate himself from his direct competitors but to adjust to how consumers in general are consuming news in different ways nowadays.

The station has been pushing its investigative “tough questions” brand for several years. He didn’t say he’d change that but would like to broaden the brand itself. He also said he’s happy right now with the partnership with 790/The Zone, which has provided the station its sports coverage since the fall of 2009.

As for marketing, the station has been emphasizing its “Better Mornings” team for several years, helping boost viewership of the lighthearted morning program.

The station’s longest-running anchor on its highest-rated 11 p.m. show, Stephany Fisher, has been at CBS Atlanta for ten years. Fabacher said he plans to give her more promotion. Last month, under Fabacher, Fisher’s co-anchor Guy Rawlings’ contract was not renewed after a year. Justin Lock also recently left “Better Mornings.”

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.