Exodus begins at Scripps owned WTMJ-TV


E.W. Scripps Company has begun shuffling the deck chairs at its recently acquired Milwaukee NBC afiliate WTMJ-TV (Channel 4), and a number of on-air people are among the key departures.

They include:




— Sportscaster Jessie Garcia, a Madison native who joined the station in 1994 and is author of “My Life with the Green and Gold.” Her husband is a photographer at the station;






—Meteorologist Michael Fish, a Fond du Lac native who got his master’s degree in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He worked at the station part time.






—Reporter Lacey Crisp, a South Dakota native who attended the University of Minnesota and joined the station in 2011. She also worked at the Journal Broadcast Group station in Green Bay. Her husband is a Fond du Lac native.




adepIMG_3183While their biographies have been removed from the Scripps’ website, a search of their names turned up WTMJ bios for Garcia and Fish with the word “deprecated” on the top.

Maybe that’s TV news or computer coding jargon, but the dictionary definitions I found for it were pretty harsh.


They are familiar faces that are the tip of the iceberg. Scripps took over the former Journal Broadcast Group station in April.

Behind the scenes departures include:

Stephanie Graham, I-Team and special projects producer and “Jill of all trades”;

—Photojournalist/producer Tim Meulemans, an 18-year veteran, also behind the I-Team reports;

—Assignment manager Amy Jahns, who coordinated newsroom operations including reporter and photojournalist assignments. In April Jahns became a media relations specialist at WE Energies;

—And 10 p.m. newscast producer Kirstin Skurka. After the station’s fourth place finish in the February sweeps, she turned down an executive producer position and in March joined WLS-TV in Chicago.

WTMJ still hasn’t named an anchor or plans for the 10 p.m. newscast to replace Mike Jacobs. The in-house competition appears to be between Steve Chamraz and Charles Benson.

WTMJ also reportedly plans to add multiple MMJs, or  usually young multi-media journalists who report, shoot, write and edit their stories, as opposed to reporters traveling with a photographer.

WITI and WDJT use MMJs, also known as one man bands, but to this point WTMJ and WISN reportedly had none.


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  • Kathy-And Brad Matthews

    E.W. Scripps Company and Janet Hundley should realize that it’s people like Michael Fish, Jessie Garcia, Lacey Crisp, Samara Sotos, and the behind-the-scenes professional crew are the reason we watch(ed) TMJ4. What happened to Scott Steele was unnecessary also. I have begun looking for a new “favorite” local news station but, “lucky” for 4, so far I’ve been unable to find any news programming in Milwaukee worthy of my allegiance. I realize that this is just how the world works in 2015. This, unfortunately, seems to be the only way to shout-out that I don’t like it! I shall continue my search for suitable alternative to TMJ4.

  • MrSchimpf

    I was hopeful Scripps would force out the incompetent management that dragged down 4 for years to the point they managed to lose their own channel number on TWC (and their subchannels are uncarried by any cable system). Sadly, it seems they’re making decisions worse than Green Bay sister WGBA did in 2009, when they laid off 1/4 of their news staff and outsourced most weather and news to WTMJ and 1/3 of their day was infomercials due to bad syndicated product.

    It looks like Scripps is staying with the old terrible management, while telling them to cut to the bone on newsgathering and continuing to let good on-air people go. And now with them adding the “Snapped”-repeat-heavy Escape and bad 90’s sitcom Laff networks in the next few months, the visual quality on 4.1 is going to be a mess.

    At least they finally added audio description…three years after the rest of the market did so and only because the FCC made it law in the market as of July 1. No wonder they’re trading 3rd and 4th with WDJT.

    • Dick Ginkowski

      Today’s TMJ4 nitwitness news complete with all those unnecessary sound effects, etc. I actually like ch. 58. Smallest and most poorly paid staff but they try very hard. As for ch. 4, you used to have to work a long time in smaller markets to make it to Milwaukee. That said, they have an asset in Shannon Sims as a solo anchor. She does fine when paired with someone else but solo she brings back memories of McCullough. I would be doing everything possible to keep her happy and to put her where she belongs — in a solo anchor spot.

      • Chuck O Donnell

        i think comparing Shannon Sims to John McCullough is an insult to Mr. McCullough!

  • Ray Dustin

    John McCullough would be rolling in his grave if he knew what had happened to the once venerated station. Ed Hinshaw should write an editorial for the Shepherd Express (since the Milwaukee Urinal, er, Journal Sentinel would never publish it) lambasting the collapse of TMJ4.

    I, personally, unlike Mr. Matthews commented, have found WISN, channel 12, to be a fine alternative. FOX-6 is okay but still works way too much commentary into its newscasts. WDJT, 58, I would watch any day over TMJ4.

    I enjoy the weather throughout the day with Brian Gotter (a waste since I would easily watch him over the arrogant John Malon later in the day). Too bad Scripps is the Wal Mart version of news organizations. Milwaukee used to be a great place for journalists in print and media ~ but those days are long gone.

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