Anchor Marty Matthews out at WTSP-Ch. 10
That’s where the 48-year-old anchor discovered a letter informing her the CBS affiliate was exercising a window in her contract and terminating her job. An official at the St. Petersburg station said they had to send the letter, after repeated attempts to meet with Matthews in person failed.
The anchor called the statement “a lie” saying she was blindsided by the news and had no idea managers were considering ending her job.
“They sure could find somebody to drive over to my house and leave a manila envelope here...why didn't they find time to ask me while I was in the office?” said Matthews, struggling to contain her anger. “I even chose to take a five-day furlough in the 1st quarter to help them save money and a be a good ‘company gal.’ And this is the thanks I got.”
News of Matthews' departure surfaced days after WTSP announced the hires of two new anchors on its sagging morning show. She is one of the longest-tenured anchors at the station, behind top evening anchor Reginald Roundtree and co-anchor Dave Wirth, now the sole anchor of WTSP's 4 p.m. newscast.
"We have made every effort to meet with Marty, and she has been unavailable and out of the office," said WTSP general manager Ken Tonning. "We were up against a window in her contract; that's what precipitated the matter. It was a decision driven by a very tough economy and not individual performance."
Also known for developing and anchoring WTSP's Wednesday's Child feature, profiling kids in need of adoption, Matthews becomes yet another veteran in a slow trickle of experienced talent leaving the station, including longtime weekend anchor Jennifer Howe and meteorologists Anna Allen and Randy Rauch last year.
She has co-anchored WTSP's 4 p.m. news since it began in 2002 as a feature-oriented newscast pushed ahead 60 minutes to make room for the Dr. Phil show at 5 p.m. -- perched with then-co-anchor Mario Diaz on high-sitting chairs behind lecterns which looked like they were cribbed from an old Star Trek set.
WTSP staffers received e-mails announcing Matthews' departure Wednesday morning.
Tonning would not comment on rumors that the station was considering moving the 4 p.m. newscast into Dr. Phil's timeslot, though he did say WTSP will assign a new anchor to handle the Wednesday's Child feature by the week's end.