Editor’s note: Tripp Frohlichstein, who previously was a St. Louis Journalism Review contributor, worked for Channel 4 from 1974 to 1986 . He is approaching his 28th year in business as owner of MediaMasters, a company that specializes in training people to give better presentations, give better interviews to reporters and develop messaging.
Today, one of the gems of St. Louis TV news is Kelly Jackson. The weekend anchor for KSDK works part time, enabling her to anchor from early morning to late at night.
If Channel 5 is making a mistake with her, it is not having her as a full-time anchor. Jackson combines her superb reading skills with a delightful personality. She knows how to be serious when appropriate and can engage in friendly banter with the sports and weather people as if we, the viewers, are in the room with her.
More than any other weekend anchor, she combines the relaxed nature of the weekend with the sometimes serious nature of the news.
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As to Larry Conners being fired from Channel 4, this is a hard one to judge. Conners wrote on the KMOV Facebook page an item that implied that, after he interviewed President Obama, the IRS came after him. He clarified, in a statement he claims he was forced to read, that the problems with the IRS actually began years before.
Shortly after, he was terminated.
The station didn’t say much publicly, as is typical in these situations.
One can only speculate as to why management booted the longtime KMOV anchor.
Many speculate it was a “salary dump.” Conners has countered publicly, saying he recently had signed a new two-year contract. Perhaps the station decided it was a mistake. Or perhaps management believed he crossed the line using the KMOV Facebook page as opposed to his personal page to air his “personal” gripe. It is possible they truly believed this perceived bias might prevent him from being seen as a fair reporter.
Conners has said publicly he was encouraged to say things on the KMOV page to get people talking and draw “hits” to their page. I think he honestly believed this was one of those situations and he had no idea the reaction would be so adverse to his future.
Conners, who I worked with at then KMOX-TV in the 1970s, was an excellent, tenacious and fair reporter. I never worked with him as an anchor.
Ultimately, we may never know the real reason he was canned. He had a distinguished career with Channel 4 over the last 26 years. Too bad it ended that way.