Posts Tagged ‘WQAD’

Goodbye Quad Cities Television

Today marks my last full day in the Quad Cities.

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Early Friday morning, I’ll be taking off for the 1,000-mile drive to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

While I’ve spent time in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I’ve never seen the “Emerald Coast”, but I’m told it’s absolutely gorgeous.  And, from this photo, I see that!

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Last week, I signed off as a television meteorologist in the Quad Cities, my home for the past 11.5 years.  That’s the second longest I’ve ever lived anywhere — behind my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, where I spent much of the first 30 years of my life.

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ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at WQAD.

I sincerely thank news director C.J. Beutien for hiring me and bringing me back to the Midwest.  I had lived in Chicago twice, from 1994-1996 and from 2002-2004, before heading to the East Coast for almost 16 months to the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) Peninsula.

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Former Chief Meteorologist Neil Kastor was instrumental in bringing me to the Quad Cities and, for that, I’m grateful.  We still stay in touch today, many years after he left the news business and the Midwest for Florida.

Along with Neil, I’m still very close with my former “work wife”, Vanessa van Hyfte, who was the weekend anchor when I started.  She welcomed me with open arms and we had some of the most exciting and fun conversations between shows. 🙂

I also consider Julie Sisk, Matt Hammill, and Cassie Heiter dear friends.

I cherished my time with anchors Jason Fechner and Barbara Dawson, morning producer Brian Boesen, (who moved on to anchor at KWQC), and photojournalist Jenny Hipskind.  (This is like winning an award and thanking all the people you care for hoping you’re not forgetting someone!)

Even though we never worked together, I consider KWQC’s Theresa Bryant a dear friend.

I fondly remember much of my time at WQAD (November 2005-November 2012).  With that being said, I was definitely angry with the station for the way it handled my dismissal that fall when it lost the Fox newscast to KWQC.

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It was tacky and unprofessional and the lack of compassion I was shown for my seven years of dedication and commitment was appalling.   However, the station did the same thing to Neil before me and to others since.

Interestingly enough, all of that was brought up to me again about a month ago.  In a disagreement, a former friend said to me, “Maybe you still just have a bone to pick from the station? I don’t know and I really don’t care.”

My response to him was, “my issue over this whole pettiness isn’t with WQAD. It’s with you!”

That got to me to thinking again and, honestly, the whole WQAD ordeal has been water under the bridge for me for a long time.

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After a couple of months off to enjoy the holidays, I was honored when WHBF General Manager Marshall Porter and News Director Heather Voudrie brought me on board as the morning meteorologist in February 2013.

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While I wasn’t getting rich at WQAD, I was financially comfortable.   My new position came with a big pay cut, but I was once again doing what I loved and I didn’t have to leave my family.

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At WHBF, I’ve worked with so many great people over the years.  At the top of the list is my “work wife” and dear friend, Emily Scarlett, who just took a new position with the #1 station in Columbia, South Carolina.

I’ll also remember my close friendships with chief meteorologist Andy McCray and his wonderful wife, Michelle, Jay Kidwell, Jim Neidelman and his adorable wife, Denise, and Katrina, my trusted confidant on the morning show, and her lovely partner.  (Katrina, I’ll always smile at “Breathe” and “Calm down, Lucille!”)

Those are just some of the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the Quad Cities, but I’ve also worked with some real losers.

I’m too much of a gentleman to say more than that, but two of the ones that stand out the most are so emasculated that it would be unfair to point out their deficiencies publicly.

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With that being said, I’ve never worked in a television market as a meteorologist or a weathercaster that over dramatizes and sensationalizes weather as much as some do (or did) here.

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That isn’t the case with all local meteorologists.  I didn’t do it and neither did Neil Kastor. I highly recommend now that you put your trust in “Local 4 News” Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray and “Quad Cities Today” meteorologist Kevin Phelps.

They’ve earned my trust over the years as colleagues.

Enough about people, let’s talk weather. 🙂  As I head to the heat and humidity of Florida, I’ll truly miss the snow!

Snowy Moline

You’re probably laughing, but I’ll seriously miss it.

How many times in your life do you get a record-setting 18.3″ in a single storm? For me, ONCE!

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Happy weather, my friends!

May your springs flower with excitement, your summers toast with long sun-filled days, your autumns glow with bright colorful leaves, and your winters crackle with a beautiful fire and a blanket of serene snow covering everything to remind you of the beauty of living in the Midwest!

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Remember me when you pop a bottle of champagne or you open a bottle of Moscato with a nice cheese and fruit platter or enjoy a piece of cheesecake!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

Anthony

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Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part Two

How was your Saturday?  I hope it was great and that your Sunday is even better.

Tomorrow marks my blog’s one year anniversary.  I can’t believe I’ve been sharing my thoughts for a year now.  I’ve really enjoyed having the avenue to write.  Yesterday, I featured my most viewed blog entries over the past year from #20 to #11.  Today, it’s my ten most popular blogs since I started it on January 7, 2012.

#10 MOVIE

Charlie Brown, We Found Your Grown-Up Christmas Tree

Posted:  November 29, 2012

Views:  1,578

9 CD

Drugs Are Bad — “Just Say No” To Molly & Tina

Posted:  March 27, 2012

Views:  1,591

#8 CD

Dreams, They Can Come True

Posted:  April 22, 2012

Views:  1,617

#7 CD

Does The Erie School District (Illinois) Need A Stronger Anti-Bullying Approach?

Posted:  May 22, 2012

Views:  1,860

#6 CD

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Posted:  November 1, 2012

Views:  2,045

#5 CD

Hats Off To Jason Mraz’s Love of Equality

Posted:  April 9, 2012

Views:  2,232

#4 CD

“Magic Mike” — The Real Deal or A Cheap Thrill

Posted:  June 30, 2012

Views:  3,309

#3 CD

Will John Travolta Finally Be Forced Out of the Closet?

Posted:  May 9, 2012

Views:  5,221

#2 CD

Do We Really Need To Tell Adele She’s “Too Fat”?

Posted:  February 12, 2012

Views:  6,018

#1 CD

Super Bowl Bet: 50 Cent, I’ll Pay You A Dollar To Keep it To Yourself

Posted:  January 29, 2012

Views:  25,028

a few of my favorites

Those are my Top Ten viewed blogs since I started my blog January 7, 2012.

I have to admit that my favorites on this list are #2 “Do We Really Need To Tell Adele She’s “Too Fat”? about weight and my eating disorder, #6 “When One Door Closes, Another One Opens” about losing my job, and from yesterday’s countdown from #20 to #11, “ABBA:  My Best Friend” at #15, “Marriage Expert Bristol Palin Weighs In On Marriage Equality” at #16, “Marriage Equality:  Is It Simply Black & White” at #17, “Have Your Reception Here Unless You’re Gay” at #19 (which was featured on the Facebook page of “Instinct”, a leading gay magazine), and “President Reagan, I No Longer Hate You” at #20.

Here’s yesterday’s recap of #20 to #11.

Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part One

Throughout 2013, on the one year anniversary of some of my favorite 2012 blogs, I’ll highlight them again.  There are some that didn’t make the year-end recap that I’m proud of and want to share again, in case you missed them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

New Year and Happy Thoughts

Happy New Year!

If you had a great 2012, I hope 2013 is even better for you.  If 2012 was just okay, I hope 2013 is wonderful.  And, if 2012 left a lot to be desired, here’s to a better year ahead.

While I lost Miss ABBA in early 2012 and my career late in the year, I had many things in the past year to be thankful for and I’m ready for new adventures in 2013.

Sydney 2013

Sydney, Australia was one of the first places in the world to ring in the new year in style.  We watched the ball drop with Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy and Ray made us a nice spread before the East Coast celebration.

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I’m going to try to keep the new year simple.  One of the biggest flaws I have in life is not living for today and always planning ahead.

In 2013, I have no cruises or vacations planned, except for Lady Gaga in Las Vegas in three weeks.  Since I planned this in 2012, it doesn’t count.

Gaga

CAREER THOUGHTS

Professionally, I have nothing to report.  But, then again, I didn’t expect to since I had planned on taking November and December off all along.   So, at this time, I’m not concerned about it.  I know something good will come my way in the next couple of months.

Since I was told on Halloween that my contract would not be renewed, my commitment to WQAD (as a product) diminished to zero.  While I wish my friends there, even the ones I haven’t heard from since I was let go, the very best in 2013, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want the station’s ratings to drop.

While I haven’t watched the station since my dismissal, several of my friends have brought to my attention that they’ve had a couple of women filling in on the weather.  I gather they’re both freelance weathercasters.  When I was let go, I was told it was for financial reasons and the loss of the local Fox newscast to KWQC, the Quad Cities’ most watched and dominant news station.

I took that explanation as the truth, but people are speculating that there is more to the story.  Who knows, they could be right and there might be more to the story.  For now, I’ll take management’s word on my dismissal with a grain of salt because I really don’t want to lose any sleep over it.  However, if they hire a fourth weathercaster then it would be pretty clear that their reason for letting me go was a lie.

So, friends, don’t let it bother you either unless there’s something new to report.

WHAT THEN?

As you know from this blog and my posts on Facebook, I love to write.  It’s not all serious and political with an agenda.  I do it as an avenue to express myself and try to ignite change in America and the world one person at a time.  You don’t always have to agree with me.  When you don’t, let me know — politely.  I’ll continue writing my blog in 2013.  Actually, the one-year anniversary is coming up next Monday!

Back in the mid-1990s, I began writing my autobiography.  However, as my television career took off, I stopped writing it a couple of years later.  I did a good job covering a portion of four decades.  So, why would I start writing a story of my life?  While I never bought into that whole “celebrity” thing while working as a news and weather person, I do think that everyone’s life is worthy of being remembered.  I started it for me and for my closest friends and family members.  It’s a testament of my life and what events, large or small, shaped me into the man I am today.  Some of them are common knowledge and some are private.

I need to start writing it again.  Since I stopped in 1997, so many amazing things have happened in my life that I have to talk about — Miss ABBA, Ray, and Gretel.

Also, in college, I wrote a one-hour “screenplay”, with me in mind in the lead role since I had acted on stage in several theatrical productions at Murray State University.  The biggest play I did was a three-night performance of “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick.  I played Jeffrey, a young military pilot shot down in the war and is traumatized and thinks he has a scar on his face, which he constantly hides from others.  Oh, he’s a patient at the Cloisters, a sanatorium.  (It was dramatic, but not as crazy as “American Horror Story:  Asylum”!)

The Curious Savage

While that  1980s “screenplay” will never see the light of day, since I moved back to Chicago in 2002, I’ve been wanting to write and submit a short story about Lake Michigan called “Ice”.  I think this is the year that needs to be approached again.

I don’t need a fortune cookie to look toward the future.  I’m excited about it.

HEALTHY EATING &  EXERCISE

As you recall, last spring and summer, Ray and I started taking healthy eating and exercise seriously and the results were amazing.  He lost about 30 pounds and I lost 25.  Other than losing the excess weight we had gained since meeting almost four years ago, he wanted to look better for his 30th high school reunion and I wanted to fit into the shirt I bought for my October Madonna birthday concert in Las Vegas.  Seriously? 🙂

Ray Young

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Well, since those two events, we’ve been very naughty.  We’ve indulged in countless buffets, we eat junk whenever we want, we haven’t been faithful to the treadmill, and we lie to myfitnesspal.com.  So, it should come as no surprise that when we got on the scale this morning, we’ve both gained back 20 pounds.  In all honestly, it was fun to lose it and it was fun eating and gaining most of it back.  It also gives us the motivation to get back on track.  After all, Gaga is just weeks away!

After our New Year’s feast today (Ray and Tammy are cooking while Gretel and I go see “Rise of The Guardians” with a large popcorn), we’ll be shedding the weight in the weeks to come.

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FOR YOU

My friends, I wish you the very best in 2013.  I know that several of us have faced harsh financial setbacks and have lost loved ones (including pets — I consider them people, too) in the past year.

I’m not being mean when I say this, but it’s part of life and I want to quote the song and message that got me through the dark days after my mother’s death in November 1990 and Miss ABBA’s passing last February, “For My Broken Heart” by Reba McEntire:

“Last night I prayed the Lord my soul to keep/Then I cried myself to sleep/So sure life wouldn’t go on without you/But oh this sun is blinding me/As it wakes me from the dark/I guess the world didn’t stop/For my broken heart.”

My friends and loved ones, let’s try to smile more in 2013, let’s reach out to each other more, and let’s focus on the good and not let the bad dominate our lives.

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in this new year and in the years to come.

Anthony

P.S.  It might be working.  I haven’t said a cuss word or kidded or told a fib in almost 10 hours.  Granted, I was asleep much of that time.  But, it’s a start….