Todd Ricke of WTVC

Sinclair promotes Ricke at WTVC

Sinclair Broadcast Group has named Todd Ricke as general manager of WTVC-TV (Channel 9) in Chattanooga.

He will fill the vacancy created when Mike Costa, the former general manager at the ABC affiliate in Chattanooga, resigned in November.

Ricke, who has served in the U.S. Air Force, will also be responsible for the oversight of Sinclair's provision of services to WFLI (CW) under a joint sales agreement.

Since 2012, Ricke has been the director of sales at Sinclair-owned station KEYE in Austin, Texas, where he joined Sinclair in 1999 and served as local sales manager, account executive and IT director.

Steve Marks, the execuive vice president and chief operating officer of Sinclair's television group, said Ricke has been with Sinclair in Austin for almost 20 years and in sales management for the last eight.

"His leadership and technology background should translate into great successes in Chattanooga, especially as media and technology converge," Marks said.


Electrify America adds battery storage

Electrify America on Monday announced plans to install Tesla Powerpack battery systems at more than 100 of its electric vehicle charging stations nationwide over the course of 2019.

The battery systems will be deployed to mitigate higher power demand charges and manage operating costs by avoiding or reducing demand and energy charges during peak charging periods, according to the Electrify America, which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen.

"With our chargers offering high power levels, it makes sense for us to use batteries at our most high demand stations for peak shaving to operate more efficiently," said Giovanni Palazzo, chief executive officer of Electrify America, in a statement.

Electrify America plans to have 484 power stations installed or nearly so across the country by mid-2019. One in Hamilton County opened last year at the Ooltewah Walmart. VW plans to build an $800 million electric vehicle production facility adjacent to its Chattanooga assembly plant and hire 1,000 more people.


Chicago airport tops Atlanta for flights

O'Hare International Airport in Chicago was the busiest airport in the U.S. in 2018, surpassing Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for the first time in four years.

The Federal Aviation Administration released data on Monday showing that O'Hare had more than 903,000 arrivals and departures during 2018. Atlanta's airport was second, with more than 895,000 arrivals and departures.

Los Angeles International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Denver International Airport round out the top five.

Last year, O'Hare operations increased 4.2 percent, compared with a 1.8 percent increase in Atlanta.


Local gas prices fall after month of rises

After rising nearly 20 cents a gallon in January, gasoline prices in Chattanooga fell last week by an average of 3.7 cents per gallon and remained 32 cents per gallon below the U.S. average, according to surveys.

The average price of regular gas in Chattanooga dropped to $1.93 per gallon as of Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. Motorists in Chattanooga are paying 14.1 cents per gallon more than they did at the start of 2018, but prices at the pump in Chattanooga still average 43.6 cents a gallon below where they were a year ago and remained the lowest of the major cities surveyed by in Tennessee.

"While oil prices have risen to their highest in months on the instability in Venezuela's political situation, gasoline demand has remained weak and supply strong, thus keeping increases firmly in check," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.


Google profits beat market predictions

Google parent company Alphabet beat Wall Street expectations for its fourth quarter earnings Monday, reporting a profit of $8.9 billion on revenue of $39.3 billion.

Its revenue grew more than 21 percent from $32.3 billion a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings per share of $10.86, or a profit of $7.6 billion, on revenue of $38.9 billion.

Alphabet's advertising commissions, or the money it pays other companies to direct people to its search, grew to $7.4 billion from $6.5 billion a year ago.