Fed up with what they said were management’s fingers in the news, two anchors at a television station in Maine announced to viewers of a live show that they were quitting.
Cindy Michaels, 46, and Tony Consiglio, 28, said their surprise on-air farewells at Bangor’s ABC News affiliate WVII during Tuesday’s 6 p.m. broadcast.
The pair, who had been working together at the station for the past six years, said they were resigning after a multi-year feud with station higher-ups over management’s participation in news production.
“We figured if we had tendered our resignations off the air, we would not have been allowed to say goodbye to the community on the air and that was really important for us to do that,” Michaels told the Bangor Daily News.
As the station’s news director, Michaels had worked in Bangor’s radio and TV market at the station for the past 15 years.
“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,” he said.
That sentiment was shared by Consiglio.
“I just wanted to know that I was doing the best job I could and was being honest and ethical as a journalist, and I thought there were times when I wasn’t able to do that . . . This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. This is my career and I love doing it,” said Consiglio, who was also the show’s executive producer.
According to reports, the pair had in the past complained about a lack of balance in the manner in which certain stories were reported, particularly those involving politics. It isn’t clear if the news anchors were upset by a particular political slant at the station.
The announcement came as a shock to most of the station’s staff. One person not surprised was WVII Vice President and General Manager Mike Palmer.
“That was unfortunate, but not unexpected . . . We’ll hire experienced people to fill these positions sooner rather than later,” said Palmer, who denied any intrusion from upper management in news production.
“Upper management is not involved in the daily production of the news. Period.”
Michaels told viewers she plans to pursue a career writing freelance. Consglio plans to continue in journalism “in another capacity.”
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