Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

CBS46 hires Ben Swann as evening anchor, replacing Scott Light

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, June 8, 2015

Another day, another CBS46 anchor change.

Okay, it's not quite that frequent. It only seems that way.

Evening anchor Scott Light, as I reported on Saturday, has been released after 18 months. Today, CBS46 announced his replacement Ben Swann.

If anything, fourth-place CBS46 is hiring a lot of interesting characters to shake things up. Swann is not just another pretty face in the crowd. He's got some Doogie Howser in him. Home-schooled, he graduated Brigham Young University in 1993 at age 15 and received a masters degree at California State University at age 16.

Over the years, Swann has worked for TV stations in El Paso, Texas and Cincinnati, where he created a fact-checking segment called "Reality Check."

Since 2013, the 36-year-old journalist ran his own independent media operation at benswann.com, which morphed into truthinmedia.com, which involves more people.

Based on his descriptive, he was trying to be like Vice Media: brash and bold and off the beaten path in his reporting. He is also a big believer in having more major political parties.

On the site, he described it as thus:

The Truth in Media Project THE source for uninfluenced, reliable and fearless news. Mainstream media has failed to provide an honest representation of current and past events, and the public is fully aware. Your news or vision of current events at home or across the globe must not be leveraged.

Journalism, the Fourth Estate, must be free from undue or corrupting influence. Whether challenging the “Left vs. Right paradigm” or witnessing firsthand the misrepresentations of the Mexican drug war, Ben’s mission is focused, intentional and highly credible.

His site notes that "through the generous support of thousands of backers, Swann created 16 episodes of the Truth in Media project, a video series that has garnered millions of views and has impacted the national discussion on issues like cannabis and ISIS."

Here's his ISIS piece from February:

He also noted on his site that while "covering the 2012 Republican Presidential primary, Swann confronted problems in the American electoral process, the stranglehold of America’s two party system and the suppression of voters’ choices by mainstream media."

Once he joins CBS46, he'll have to clear anything he posts over there with the station first.

Swann has generated a fan base: 49,000 Twitter followers and 129,000 likes on Facebook.

His Twitter sig: "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations."

Light, by the way, ironically won a Southeastern Emmy this past Saturday for best news anchor, beating out four others, including DeMarco Morgan on 11 Alive and Jovita Moore on Channel 2 Action News.

All the newbies start on Monday, June 15. Here's the line-up changes, in review:

Mornings: Michelle Burdo out, Bobby Kaple from L.A. and Gloria Neal from Denver in.

Mid-days: Jocelyn McConnell out, Kim Passoth from Oklahoma City in

Evenings: Stephany Fisher, Scott Light out; Sharon Reed from St. Louis, plus Ben Swann in

Sports: Larry Smith out, Fred Kalil in

Meteorologist: Markina Brown out, Jim Kosek in

Plus, the station is bringing in 10 mostly former journalists to do rotational "Just a Minute" daily commentaries, including former Fox 5 anchor Amanda Davis. Those begin at 5:56 p.m. daily starting Monday though I don't know who will be up first.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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