Doerr opens new leadership for Fox Chicago News
The new vice president and news director at Fox 32 is a seasoned industry veteran who’s worked at more than a dozen stations around the country since he began his career. None of them was in Chicago.
On Tuesday, Tom Doerr was called up from Houston, where he’d been vice president and news director at Fox-owned KRIV-TV since 2009. At Fox Chicago News, he replaces Phyllis Schwartz, who bailed last December after less than a year on the job.
“There is no news town quite like Chicago; there is always something vibrant and exciting happening in this city,” Doerr said in a press release. “I look forward to leading the talented team of committed journalists at Fox 32 in providing interesting and valuable news to viewers.”
In tapping Doerr for the job, Fox bosses passed over the Chicago insider, assistant news director Chris Myers, who previously worked at NBC 5 and ABC 7, and had been Schwartz’s top lieutenant. Myers most recently was serving as interim news director.
Doerr, who starts Monday, will report to Dennis Welsh, the vice president and general manager who arrived last month from the Fox stations in Orlando. Although he’s never worked with Doerr, Welsh said in a statement: “Tom has a fresh approach to local news and an ability to recognize meaningful stories within a community. He is an exceptional leader, with a natural news instinct and a proven track record of success and we are excited to welcome him to our station.”
As the station’s fourth news director in four years, Doerr steps into an enterprise forever struggling to gain traction. For the month so far, Fox 32’s late news remains in last place at 9pm with a modest 4 percent audience share, a 2.5 rating in overall households and a 1.5 rating among viewers between 25 and 54. It’s still running dead last in mornings, too.
Before joining KRIV, Doerr was vice president and station manager at WFOR-TV and WBFS-TV in Miami, news director of KTVT-TV and KTXA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, and executive news director at KENS-TV in San Antonio. He previously worked as a senior strategist for Audience Research and Development, a news consultancy based Dallas.
A native of Detroit who grew up in Ohio and graduated from the University of Florida, Doerr also was news director of WPLG-TV in Miami, KTRK-TV in Houston, WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., and KTUL-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A close friend who worked with Doerr in Miami said of him: "Tom is direct with people and wants to win. He knows how to promote a good story and is keenly aware of the audience."