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Time To Build A News Department 

Mathis firing creates second chance

First, a morning anchor goes on the lam after a messy domestic dispute and is let go, and now, the station "franchise" is fired after a second visit to rehab. It's time for WCCB-TV to ramp up their news and relinquish the grasp on "goofy, -- which is not the same as "hip," something important to the younger demographic the Fox network attracts.

By now, you've heard that Mark Mathis, the Fox Charlotte weatherman, was fired by a phone call at the Texas rehabilitation clinic he's in for substance abuse. It's the second time he's been in rehab in 18 months. His manic behavior on-air was apparently happening after hours, fueled by alcohol and who knows what else, and for its trouble, WCCB's 10pm newscast is already down in the November ratings from last year.

When you start a newscast from scratch, you don't have the familiar faces like a Bill Walker to work with. It's a long building process, but Fox Charlotte decided to go for the quick hit. With less manpower and budget than its Charlotte news counterparts, they chose wacky hi-jinks as their hallmark, via Mathis. The news came second.

Quick, name their current news anchor lineup. See, I thought so.

For Mathis' part, part of putting his life together will be to get a new job; lamenting to the daily newspaper about not getting severance pay, when he was most likely the highest paid guy in the newsroom, isn't a good way to endear yourself to future employers.

EXTRA STUFFING FOR ME, PLEASE WNCW-FM fans will have their Americana radio station back on the air in a couple of weeks, but at a new place on the dial. WNCW will boost its signal with new equipment, but will now be found on 100.3 FM.

And the show went on, albeit sadly, for Carolina Panthers TV associate producer Mike Craft at the team's game in San Francisco November 14. The morning of the game, he learned of the death of his grandmother, but did his job, shooting from the sidelines. . .And while we're talking about the Panthers, how about giving fans an early Christmas present and signing Bill Rosinski to a new contract?

Stay tuned, and have a good Thanksgiving.

Shannon Reichley is the producer of Lending a Hand: Building More than Houses, premiering November 27 on the DIY cable network. Email at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com

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