A pair of longtime news anchors at a TV station in Bangor, Maine – one of whom was the station’s news director – quit their jobs on the air Tuesday night without warning.
Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced their resignations to their viewers, co-workers and management at the end of the 6 p.m. newscast at WVII.
Michaels, 46, and Consiglio, 28, told the Bangor Daily News that years of frustration from upper management over how to do their jobs led to their joint decision, including what Michaels described as an expectation toward unbalanced political news coverage.
“There was a constant disrespecting and belittling of staff and we both felt there was a lack of knowledge from ownership and upper management in running a newsroom to the extent that I was not allowed to structure and direct them professionally,” Michaels, who was also the station’s news director, told the paper.
The station’s president and general manager said he was not surprised by the resignations, but called it “unfortunate.” He also disagreed with Michaels’ characterizations of the situation.
WVII and another station Palmer manages, Fox affiliate WFVX, have made headlines before. In 2006, The New York Times reported that Palmer prohibited his staff from doing stories on global warming.
So why the dramatic on-air walk-off? Michaels said the two feared that if they turned in their resignations ahead of time, they would not be given a chance to say farewell to their viewers.
They did not air all the dirty laundry for viewers during their resignation. The two shared a hug after the announcement and Michaels was seen taking off her microphone as the newscast signed off.
Asked about reaction from viewers in the small market, Palmer said, "I have not heard from a single viewer.”
But he said he had received about 20 applications for their jobs after posting them Tuesday night on an industry website.
"I've had people from all over the country send resumes and audition reels," Palmer said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report