By Alan Pergament
It is time to talk about some morning personnel issues in local news.
First up is Channel 7 meteorologist Mike Randall, who recently agreed verbally to a new multi-year contract to keep him at the ABC affiliate into his early 60s.
"I’m happy," said Randall before heading off to vacation. “I’m not thrilled at getting up at 2:30 in the morning. No one is. That’s the hardest part of the job. What I do is somewhat ideal for the mornings. I like to babble."
Randall won’t be working with morning co-anchor Ginger Geoffery for long.
As anybody in the media who has dealt with me knows, I hate very few things more than getting spun. That's why you rarely see me run long self-serving quotes from news sources.
Which brings me to my recent experience with Geoffery. After I wrote last week that the station had decided to go to an entirely new morning team and quoted new General Manager Mike Nurse, Geoffery wrote me a terse email that said "the truth is that after much contemplation I decided it is best for my career not to sign another contract at WKBW."
I added that claim to my story and blog. And a few days later, Geoffery spun a similar story to a national media website. However, the website also ran a quote from News Director Polly Van Doren that said the station decided against offering Geoffery a contract. Van Doren kindly added that it didn’t reflect on Geoffery’s work.
It is hard to sign a contract that you aren’t offered. So it is clear that Geoffery was doing some spinning in her email to me, possibly because her side of the story would look better to future employers.
The truth is there is no shame at not being offered a contract by a new GM who is coming in to change things. Geoffery should have accepted that and quietly looked for another job.
If she gets a new job, Nurse said he will her allow her to leave immediately before her contract expires in October because she has been a good employee for nine years and deserves an opportunity to succeed elsewhere.
Geoffery, who arrived at Channel 7 after working at the Empire Sports Network and worked in sports at WKBW-TV as well, would seem to be a good candidate for the vacant sports job at Channel 2. Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner said after Ed Kilgore left that he wants to add a fourth sports staffer. It isn’t Kilgore’s job. He was replaced by Adam Benigni, which left the sports staff one person down. However, it would be somewhat surprising if Channel 7 allowed Geoffery to move to Channel 2 before her contract expires in October even if Geoffery was willing to go back to sports.
Inquiring minds want to know: Where is Channel 2 meteorologist Andy Parker? Some readers have wondered where he has been lately. As I expected, he is on family leave, undoubtedly changing diapers after his wife gave birth. Channel 2 News Director Jeff Woodard emailed me to say that Parker is expected to return to “Daybreak” by early or mid-July. With baby pictures, no doubt.
Finally, I touched on the unusual first names for anchors in this area of the new Channel 7 morning team during an interview with incoming General Manager Mike Nurse Wednesday after he announced their hiring.
Cole Heath and Tiffany Lundberg sound like anchors of some MTV show or actors in a CW prime time series.
So I propose Channel 7 consider changing the name of its morning program from "Eyewitness News This Morning" to "Good Morning, with Cole and Tiffany.” It has a nice unusual and memorable ring to it.