Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I'm out of town at a funeral, and was on the road when WTMJ-AM (620) announced that it's picking John Mercure to anchor what it's calling "Wisconsin's Afternoon News," starting in January.
The 3 to 6 p.m. news show will replace the Green House, with its host, Jonathan Green retiring from regular duties at the station.
Here's the news release from WTMJ:
Milwaukee, Wis. — Newsradio 620 WTMJ (WTMJ-AM) announced today that it will debut a new afternoon news program in January.
"Wisconsin Afternoon News" will feature in-depth coverage, interviews, breaking news updates and frequent weather, sports and traffic reports. Airing 3-6 p.m. weekdays beginning January 3, 2011, it will take the place of "The Green House," which will end with the retirement of the show’s venerable longtime host, Jonathan Green, after his more than 40 years with the station. Green announced his retirement in August.
The new news program will be anchored by veteran Milwaukee journalist John Mercure, whose hard news background and familiarity with issues important to the metro-area community will bring a new and different emphasis in providing context and clarity of the topics covered each afternoon.
A familiar news leader to those who live in the area, Mercure spent 10 years at TODAY’S TMJ4 as an investigative reporter and anchor before becoming the corporate communications manager at Assurant Health in 2009. Prior to WTMJ-TV, he worked in Sioux Falls, SD; Rockford, Ill.; and La Crosse, Wis., before becoming an anchor at a Green Bay station. Mercure is the winner of five Emmy Awards for his work with TODAY’S TMJ4, and was part of the news team that received an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2007 for coverage of the Falk Chemical explosion. A graduate of Illinois State University, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications with a minor in political science.
Both Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY’S TMJ4 are owned by Journal Broadcast Group.
"For us, the question was never ‘who should replace Jonathan Green?’; rather, it was ‘what should replace The Green House?’. Jonathan is a one-of-a-kind entertainer, and the format of ‘The Green House’ was built specifically around him. ‘The Green House’ was a tremendous afternoon companion for thousands of listeners for over four decades and we salute Jonathan for his years with our station serving the audience," said Journal Broadcast Group Executive Vice President Television & Radio Operations Steve Wexler.
"We will be announcing a farewell event for Jonathan in the near future so his many fans can thank him for all he’s done for WTMJ and for our community. I also wish to add my personal gratitude to him for giving me an opportunity to learn about the power of local radio when I was an intern for him in the mid 1970s.
"Now we’re turning the page. We wanted to build a news show that fit the WTMJ mission to be informative, relevant, entertaining and compelling," Wexler added. "Our idea of a strong news show led us to John Mercure. The more we talked with him about our vision, the more it made sense for both of us. John’s local contacts, his knowledge of the area and his news instincts are a perfect match for this new project."
"I am very excited to join the talented team at Newsradio 620 WTMJ," Mercure said. "I look forward to adding depth and perspective to the issues that matter to our listeners. I will work hard every day with the team to dig deep, add context and make a difference on the stories that are important to Wisconsin residents."
The farewell event for Green will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.