WLNE-TV chief Doerr leaving as Citadel takes over

WLNE-TV’s top executive, Steve Doerr, will resign at the end of this month as Citadel Broadcasting takes over management of the station, WPRI.com has confirmed.

“After discussions with Citadel over the last week, I want you to hear – from me – that I will be stepping aside as Vice President and General Manager of WLNE-TV/ABC 6 at the end of the month,” Doerr told employees in a memo sent late Tuesday and obtained by WPRI.com.

In a phone interview, Doerr confirmed the memo’s authenticity and described his departure as a mutual decision arrived at by him and Citadel, which bought ABC 6 at auction last month in a deal valued at roughly $5.8 million.

“They clearly have a sense of the direction they want to go,” he said of Citadel.

Doerr’s announcement came the same day WLNE said it would reshuffle its weekday schedule on April 25, reducing its local news programming by 30 minutes and reshuffling its afternoon broadcasts.

Doerr will continue to run WLNE until May 1, when a local marketing agreement allowing Bronxville, N.Y.-based Citadel to operate the station is scheduled to take effect, the memo said. (Citadel cannot become the station’s actual owner until the FCC approves a license transfer.)

Doerr said he will stay involved at WLNE after May 1 as a consultant working for Matthew McGowan, the station’s court-appointed receiver, until its license is officially transferred to Citadel.

The outgoing GM praised ABC 6’s staff as “extraordinary” in the memo, adding: “We’ve been through a lot together, and through it all, your professionalism, dedication, focus, competitiveness and talent have kept us going.”

Doerr joined ABC 6 in October 2007 after working as a consultant with Audience Research & Development, where his clients included WJAR-TV. He was previously a senior executive at NBC and also worked for a number of broadcasters in different parts of the country.

“It’s been an interesting time and we’ll see what’s next,” Doerr said by phone. “My plan is to stay around here,” he added, noting his daughters are still attending school locally.

(photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)

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