WTVT-Ch. 13 cuts midday talk show Your Turn by 20 minutes, names Russell Rhodes as new host
The good news: Tampa Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 will keep producing it's midday talk segment "Your Turn" after the Dec. 30 departure of signature host Kathy Fountain, naming morning anchor Russell Rhodes as the new host.
The not-so-good news: The station will cut 20 minutes from the segment -- more than half its length -- to create a 15-minute bit at the end of an expanded noontime broadcast hosted by Denise White. The new format debuts Dec. 31.
Despite the reduction, WTVT officials insist the move is not a precursor to canceling the segment, saying morning anchor Rhodes needed a lighter workload in taking over the show.
"Your Turn is an important part of our connection to the community," said WTVT news director Mike McClain, who added that rhodes approached him about taking over the segment after Fountain leaves. "We'll still have the flexibility to do longer discussions if the topics require it."
Fountain, 59, announced last month she would be leaving WTVT at the end of December to work full-time as a mental health counselor.
"Your Turn" was created in 1997 as a 35-minute, modern-day successor to an hourlong, Oprah-style talk show Fountain hosted through the '80s and half the '90s on WTVT.
Full disclosure: I have appeared many times on Your Turn -- my next appearance is scheduled tomorrow -- and have always valued the segment's discussion of substantive issues.