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Author Topic: WSPA Anchor fired after lengthy illness
Ex-Anchor
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 11:46 AM      Profile for Ex-Anchor     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.goupstate.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060808/NEWS/608080343/1051/NEWS01

Pamela Graham, an award-winning and popular television personality, will not be returning as WSPA's evening news anchor.

On Monday, Phil Lane, vice president and general manager of WSPA-TV, declined to say why.

But a friend and former co-worker of Graham's said the station let her go last week while Graham was continuing treatment for whooping cough, which has kept her off the air since February.

"Pam was fired because she was sick, and she was blind-sided by this," said friend Richard Edmund. Edmund is a former employee of WSPA and is no longer with the company.

Graham could not be reached for comment Monday.

Edmund said Graham was hoping her doctor would release her after an appointment later this month and that she could return to her job in September. "She has been eager to get back to work," Edmund said.

Edmund said Graham is feeling better than she did a few months ago, and on days when she felt up to it, the two had met for lunch.

"The coughing spells were horrible," he said. "It's hard to anchor the news when you are coughing. So the past months have been sort of wait-and-see as to when she would return."

Graham had been an evening news anchor for WSPA since 1990.

And in a telephone interview, Lane, the station's general manager, refused to answer questions about Graham's job status.

Instead, he e-mailed a statement to the Herald-Journal, confirming Graham will no longer work as an anchor.

"It's all in the release. I cannot comment on a personnel matter," Lane said by phone.

The written information he offered listed Graham's accomplishments and her assignments while working at the station for 23 years.

He also spoke of Graham's ability on the job, describing her as a "dedicated journalist."

Lane said Graham "told the important stories of the day to the people in our communities."

He also said that WSPA-TV will miss her professionalism, dedication and determination.

Graham was inducted in 2004 into the National Academy of Television Arts and Science Silver Circle.

She also received the 2004 AP Award for Best Health/Medical reporting, the 2003 National Federation of Press Women anchoring award and the 2002 S.C. Broadcasters Association Anchor of the Year.

Graham won four Emmy awards for her role in News Channel 7's programs at 5 and 6 p.m.

And in 1992, Graham was the S.C. Broadcasters Association Personality of the Year.

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Pro
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 12:26 PM      Profile for Pro     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And the lawyers are lining up.....
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Diplomat
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 12:41 PM      Profile for Diplomat     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't understand why the station would risk the barrage of bad publicity that is sure to follow.

--------------------
"I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
William F. Buckley, Jr.

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery" -- Winston Churchill

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LENSCRAFTER
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 12:45 PM      Profile for LENSCRAFTER     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Diplomat:
I can't understand why the station would risk the barrage of bad publicity that is sure to follow.

Good call Dip... apparently it has already started.

WSPA-TV moving on without Graham
By Carolyn Farr Smith
HERALD-JOURNAL

Public outcry won't be enough to bring award-winning television personality Pamela Graham back to the anchor desk.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Phil Lane, vice president and general manager of WSPA-TV, said the company had done all it could to find a middle ground with Graham and was now moving forward.

"We feel we have done everything we could to accommodate Pam's lengthy absence, including keeping her job open for the past seven months," Lane wrote in the e-mail.

"Pam recently told us that she is not yet ready to come back to work, even in a light duty or off-air capacity and did not know when she would be able to return. We do not believe it is in the best interest of the station or our viewers to hold this vital anchor position open indefinitely.

"We appreciate all of Pam's contributions to WSPA and regret that she will not be a part of our team going forward. All of us at WSPA wish her well."

In a phone interview Tuesday, Graham said she wasn't ready to talk about the announcement made by News Channel 7 on Monday that she would no longer anchor the evening news.

"I'm feeling so much better than I was," Graham said. "But I'm not feeling well enough to talk about this."

Graham, who is recovering from whooping cough, said she had hoped that after an Aug. 29 appointment her doctor would clear her to return to the anchor desk.

Despite the recent turn of events, "I've been blessed one way or the other," Graham said. "I have good friends who have rallied behind me."

Since she went out on medical leave in February, Graham said she has received hundreds of e-mails and cards from viewers.

"A lady in Ninety Six started a prayer chain for me," Graham said. "I've answered more than 1,000 e-mails. There have been so many people who went out of their way to let me know that they cared."

When asked whether he was shocked that Graham would no longer co-anchor the 6 o'clock news with him, Tom Crabtree said he didn't know "if

shocked was the right word."

"I did expect her to return," Crabtree said. "I had no reason to think that she would not."

Crabtree said he thought he and Graham made a good team -- both shared similar writing and anchoring styles and used their experience to make sure things were done right.

"Quality was always on our minds," Crabtree said. "Anyone working here after 23 years has a lot of experience. You don't replace experience. You gain that from working in an area for a long time."

Crabtree described Graham as "very classy, approachable and personable" in her treatment of people and in her accuracy of reporting the news. He said Graham's interest and knowledge of medical reporting was not only valuable to the station, but to viewers.

"She took it quite seriously, because a person's well-being was at stake," Crabtree said. "Whenever she did a report, she made sure everything in it was correct and clear. I truly think she helped people. I will miss her."

As for who might take Graham's seat next to him, Crabtree said he would leave that to the management of the station to decide. Lane declined to discuss a possible replacement.

Amy Wood has filled in during Graham's absence, but Crabtree said he did not know whether the change would be permanent.

"That's a decision management has to make," Crabtree said. "Amy has done a terrific job in replacing Pam, and it reflects in our ratings."

But Graham's fans are outraged that she will not return to the anchor desk. (read more)

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...from Norfolk and the Virginian-Pilot:

Return of WAVY news anchor delayed; Monday possible date

Alveta Ewell will not return to the air this week as WAVY-Channel 10 news anchor for the 6 and 11 p.m. broadcasts.

Contrary to earlier reports, her return to the WAVY anchor desk has been delayed, according to Channel 10 news director Kathy Hostetter.

"Alveta has asked for another week of personal leave," Hostetter said. Ewell, off the job since May, had been scheduled to return Monday.

"We're looking at the possibility that it will be Monday, Aug. 14," Hostetter said.

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Media Hack
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 12:45 PM      Profile for Media Hack   Author's Homepage   Email Media Hack   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This same station fired their wildly popular chief weathercaster because he wasn't a "meteorologist" only to hire him back in a reduced role after a barrage of negative publicity. Then the guy they hired to replace him ended up getting fired shortly thereafter for apparently hooking up with the new weekend meteorologist.

Negative publicity is nothing new for them.

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"Mortal enemy of false present tense." --Me

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kneedinthegroin
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 02:34 PM      Profile for kneedinthegroin     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This station also preempted Letterman with "Mama's Family" for a few weeks. The GM couldn't get tickets to Letterman for some of his buddies while on a trip to NY.

Then they tried to fire Jack Roeper, as mentioned in a previous post, only to hire him back after the public backlash. I'm thinking Pam's large contract has quite a bit to do with her not returning. Pam was a quality person and a class act. I'm sure she'll end up somewhere in the market.

--------------------
God is not a republican....or a democrat

The Bible is the single most shoplifted book.

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Media Hack
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 03:56 PM      Profile for Media Hack   Author's Homepage   Email Media Hack   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree... I wouldn't be shocked to see her resurface in the market. She was always one of their strengths.

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"Mortal enemy of false present tense." --Me

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Brain Cramp
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 04:18 PM      Profile for Brain Cramp         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I found the following on whoopingcough.com -

"Whooping cough lasts at least 3 weeks and can frequently go on for 3 months or even longer. I am told that in China it is called the 100 day cough."

I don't know the station or the person in question but there's obviously more to this story that goes beyond someone with whooping cough. She's been sick somewhere around 160 days; too sick to return to work, she says. The station says it offered her the opportunity to return on an off-air, part-time basis. She said "No." She was waiting to hear what her doctor said on August 29? That's 3 whole weeks from now. Seems to me he could squeeze her in long enough to offer a medical recommendation before before then. It doesn't look like she had any desire to come back to work anytime in the near or distant future and may have been using the whooping cough as a crutch at this point.

P.S. I've had whooping cough. It's awful. But I really felt a whole lot better 6 months after I first contracted it! I was a high school student at the time and, as I recall, I wasn't left back or required to go to summer school because of it.

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Mom
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Member # 553

Icon 8 posted August 09, 2006 04:24 PM      Profile for Mom   Email Mom   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by kneedinthegroin:
This station also preempted Letterman with "Mama's Family" for a few weeks. The GM couldn't get tickets to Letterman for some of his buddies while on a trip to NY.

You know how everybody has their "that really pushes my buttons" issues? Well, kneed, you just pushed my buttons with your post. Is that really true? If there's anything I can't stand it's a$$sholes like that who think they're so important that it doesn't matter who else is inconvenienced or offended as long as he gets what he wants. Never mind that viewers in his market probably wanted to see Letterman rather than Mama's Family. That kind of behavior from some overblown, legend in his own mind kinda guy would keep me from ever ever ever buying advertising on his station. It's hard to believe station ownership would let that kind of behavior get past them.
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Roy Hobbs
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 05:34 PM      Profile for Roy Hobbs     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Big Whoop.
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a shooter
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Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 08:01 PM      Profile for a shooter     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I HATE it when stations say they can't 'comment on personnel matters'

what crap.

i will GUARANTEE you that they 'commented on personell matters' when she was HIRED.

they should say: 'we don't want to talk about things that reflect poorly on us'

[ August 09, 2006, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: a shooter ]

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Diplomat
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Member # 2560

Icon 1 posted August 09, 2006 08:28 PM      Profile for Diplomat     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by kneedinthegroin:
This station also preempted Letterman with "Mama's Family" for a few weeks. The GM couldn't get tickets to Letterman for some of his buddies while on a trip to NY.

Then they tried to fire Jack Roeper, as mentioned in a previous post, only to hire him back after the public backlash. I'm thinking Pam's large contract has quite a bit to do with her not returning. Pam was a quality person and a class act. I'm sure she'll end up somewhere in the market.

I knew Jack a little before he went to WSPA. Friendly fellow.

--------------------
"I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
William F. Buckley, Jr.

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery" -- Winston Churchill

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kneedinthegroin
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Icon 1 posted August 11, 2006 07:01 AM      Profile for kneedinthegroin     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mom:
quote:
Originally posted by kneedinthegroin:
This station also preempted Letterman with "Mama's Family" for a few weeks. The GM couldn't get tickets to Letterman for some of his buddies while on a trip to NY.

You know how everybody has their "that really pushes my buttons" issues? Well, kneed, you just pushed my buttons with your post. Is that really true? If there's anything I can't stand it's a$$sholes like that who think they're so important that it doesn't matter who else is inconvenienced or offended as long as he gets what he wants. Never mind that viewers in his market probably wanted to see Letterman rather than Mama's Family. That kind of behavior from some overblown, legend in his own mind kinda guy would keep me from ever ever ever buying advertising on his station. It's hard to believe station ownership would let that kind of behavior get past them.
September 3, 1998
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Late-night TV viewers don't seem to have missed David Letterman, whose show got replaced for a week by informercials that got the same Nielsen ratings.

Spartan Communications pulled "Late Show With David Letterman" from WSPA-TV and six other stations after the program refused to give free tickets to clients who were visiting New York.

During the three weeks that Letterman aired in the Greenville area during July, his A.C. Nielsen numbers on WSPA were a 3 rating and a 14 share. The informercials got a 3 rating and a 12 share.

A rating point represents the percentage of all possible households tuned to a show. A share point represents the percentage of households watching television tuned to that show.

"I'm surprised," programming director Jimmy Sanders said Wednesday in The Greenville News. "But I think you have to put it in the context that it was a one-week experiment. The furor about this may have drawn more attention to it."

----------

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God is not a republican....or a democrat

The Bible is the single most shoplifted book.

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