As most of you know, a week ago Sunday I was in Indianapolis witnessing a fantastic Radiohead concert. When I got back home the next day, though, I had a ton of phone and email messages regarding an incident that occurred on local TV.
From what I’ve been told, there was a little snafu on KDLT that evening. Golf had run long (as usual), so their early evening news program was cut short. When it finally commenced, it was supposedly clear that the staff was not ready. The entire opening was messed up, and various tapes were seen being rewound or fast-forwarded, or something to that effect.
Finally, the camera went on the anchor, who clearly was not only not ready to start the show, but didn’t have any clue the camera (or her microphone) was on. She was shown fiddling with her microphone; some told me she was even in the process of winding her microphone cord through her shirt. When she was finally alerted that she was on the air, she muttered something that nobody I’ve talked to could even understand.
Well, she supposedly said “shit”, which is obviously not a word that was meant to be heard on the air. Yet, even without making a joke about KDLT’s ratings, nobody would have even known about the incident if KDLT hadn’t turned it into an issue.
Dozens more people became informed of the incident when the ten o’clock news broadcast began. The anchor in question, Melissa Stee, opened the telecast by reading a prepared statement where she apologized and announced that she had been suspended for two weeks. Pierre master-blogger Pat Powers noted that the “apology looked like something you’d see compelled from a hostage at gunpoint”.
Ok, fine. Stee made a mistake and was being punished. It’s still silly in my eyes, but I guess that’s for Stee and her employers to discuss.
But the story wasn’t finished. The following day, Stee was unceremoniously fired. Come on. This is live television, and mistakes happen, particularly when there was clearly some behind-the-scenes chaos.
This is especially disheartening when you take a look at the circumstances behind Stee’s employment. She was not an anchor at the station. She was a rookie reporter, whom I’ve been told was considered a rising star. As Powers adds in his report, “I’ve met Melissa, and found her to be intelligent and engaging, unlike some of the dolts they’ve run through their in-and-out reporter mill”
This was also her first or second night at the anchor desk, and the only reason she was at that position was due to the typical mid-summer weekend under-staffing that goes on not only in the television business but every industry. All they had to do was tell her that she was no longer welcome behind the desk, and let her do the job she was hired to do. Instead, they put a nasty little blotch on her employment record. Having seen the quality of the majority of their reporters, though, it’s the station that will clearly be hurt the most.
Bring back Melissa Stee! KELO, are you listening? You’ve got a few dead weights you could cut loose.


Anonymous said…
This completely supports my theory that attractive women on news programs will always garner affection from loyal viewers. And if Stee had large breasts and wore tight shirts, this ugliness about termination would've never happened. I still think a good cable access news program with hot women in bikinis would put the local cupcakes out of business. Our large breasted friends should have an opportunity to screw up the news stories every night, and keep news funny. With the juggies bringing us the weather. For my nearly $50 cable bill each month, I think I'm worth it.

Anonymous said…
Some associates of mine and I listened to Sioux Falls Council Member Kenny Anderson friday for about 2 hours. Kenny spoke extensively about city owned entertainment facilities, current budget problems, a front end loaded budget for fiscal '09 before the Mayor and four members depart, and the new arena controversy. It was basically like listening to 2 hours of Scott Hudson. He said Staggers and Brown are running in the next mayorial race. Maybe you should chat with Anderson and advise him to run. He went into detail about how Mayor Dave picked yes men for his Arena Task Farce Committee, and the special interests behind the plan.

Kurt - Indigenous Aug 22 Orpheum CD release concert and Solution on stage too.
Anonymous said…

Very interesting story. I didn't find it boring to read. In fact, I really had a lot of fun reading your post. Thanks.


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