The KSTP-TV morning show is getting semi made over, talent-wise.
Anchor Brad Sattin and meteorologist Patrick Hammer have been given six months to find other jobs — “They Vineeta’d* them,” said one insider — while anchor Megan Newquist and traffic and entertainment reporter Rusty Gatenby will remain.
News director Lindsay Radford confirmed the pending departures Wednesday. She also told me that my insider info was correct about Sattin and Hammer asking that she not announce the news they received last week. “They asked for time to talk to the people they know in the building they built friendships with, and we honored that request,” Radford said.
I did not have to ask Radford why she made these changes.
Sattin and Hammer were almost too soothing on air. You need people who are going to WAKE YOU UP in the morning. In the case of Hammer, I found that lack of connection interesting because he showed me a lot of personality the day we met and discussed our fondness for Jeff Lorber, the smooth jazz pioneer.
“I’m too soothing? I need to be more Frank Zappa and less like Spyro Gyra,” Hammer laughed Wednesday.
“I was very disappointed. Love Minnesota. Love being a weather guy here. The Hubbards have been fantastic to me. Lindsay has been great. No ill feelings. I’m hoping to stay here. My family loves it here.”
Insiders tell me that Radford and her lieutenants have been burning the late-night oil, coming into the station presumably to work on the revamped show.
“I worked overnights Monday and Tuesday. We are [examining] how we’re handling content in the morning show,” Radford said. “I think if you’re going to make changes to a day part, it’s good to be really familiar with how the product is being made. You can’t make smart changes unless you understand the inner workings.”
If you are not a Gatenby fan, and I am, you may wonder how he survived yet another shake-up of that show.
Well, folks, while Rusty may get into trouble every now and then, he is a hard worker and, most important, he has one of the highest personality ratings at the station.
By the way, I have a feeling other changes are coming over there.
(*That’s the first name of Vineeta Sawkar verbacized as a result of the former KSTP-TV anchor, who now works for startribune.com, having been given a heads-up to find another job.)
Captain Phillips’ surprise
Beth El Synagogue has a surprise for Capt. Richard Phillips when he comes to speak on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
The target of a daring 2009 Navy SEAL rescue after he was taken hostage from the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates, Phillips told his harrowing story in his book, “A Captain’s Duty.” A 2013 movie version of “Captain Phillips” starred Tom Hanks and a host of Minnesotans, including Chris Mulkey and Barkhad Abdi.
One of the Navy sailors working on the destroyer USS Bainbridge dispatched to deal with the hostage situation will introduce Phillips at Beth El, Rabbi Avi Olitzky tells me. The sailor, Matt Radke, who Olitzky said was one of those to shine the light on Phillips when he was rescued, now lives in the Twin Cities, where he works as a community service officer for the St. Louis Park Police Department. For more information, go to www.besyn.org/captainphillips.