Why was meteorologist Stephanie Roberts fired by Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS-Ch. 28?
Why was meteorologist Stephanie Roberts fired by WFTS-Ch. 28?
The one thing officials at Tampa’s ABC affiliate and a representative for Roberts will say is that she no longer works at the station, effective last Friday.
But they will not say why she was fired, declining to reveal whether an arrest for driving under the influence in October had anything to do with it.
Her picture and biography are gone from the station’s website, and weekend forecaster Wayne Shattuck has stepped in to cover weekday mornings for her.
The firing comes at an odd time; in the middle of May’s important “sweeps” ratings period, the action removes Roberts from the station’s growing morning show. She also is featured on billboards with the show’s morning team and had delivered forecasts on the weekend version of Good Morning America several times.
“Other than confirming that Ms. Roberts is no longer an employee of WFTS-TV, we have no further comment at this time,” wrote Rick Carr, a broadcast employment attorney representing Roberts, in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.
WFTS general manager Rich Pegram referred to it as a “personnel matter.” He expected Shattuck to fill in for Roberts until they find a replacement, which could take months.
The general manager shrugged off any concerns about May sweeps, saying “the show is bigger than one person.” He also resisted notions that contract negotiations or money issues resulted in the firing.
On Oct. 2, 2011, she was arrested for driving under the influence; the charge was reduced to reckless driving and she pled no contest without any publicity.
Roberts, 39, joined WFTS’ morning show in October 2008, after working a few years as a freelance meteorologist at area CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 and WFTS.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.