Dee’s Goodbye Party at the Bennett’s

  It was an afternoon and evening for sharing memories in the backyard of Wayne and Betty Bennett’s Harris County home. They, with the help of WTVM anchor-reporter Semone Doughton, held a farewell party for departing anchor Dee Armstrong.  About 55 co-workers, former co-workers and family and friends came to the barbeque. 

  

 

Wayne Bennett and Dee Armstrong

 Wayne Bennett and Dee Armstrong

 

  Her contract with the station expires at the end of the year. She has filed a civil rights suit against the station. Her last broadcast was on the 6 p.m. Monday news.  That was not the main subject of conversation. It was an evening of fun and laughter, and as I said, for remembering.

 

   I first met Dee in 1977 when I hired her as a reporter and weekend anchor for WRBL-TV. I was news director as well as the evening news anchor. She was just out of high school. She knew the basics of reporting, having had a good teacher, my old friend Ed Wilson. He had hired her as a reporter for WDAK radio when she was still in high school.  What she didn’t know was reporting with pictures. We were using 16mm film at the time.  She learned how to do that rapidly.

 

  She worked at WRBL for a few years, and then got a job with at a Green Bay, Wisconsin station.  Her executive producer there was Steve Faust, the first news director I worked with at WTVM. (I worked with a lot of news directors at WTVM.  Every time the station would change ownership, it would change news directors, and sometimes in between.  The station changed ownership four different times during the 15 years I worked there.) She got a leave of absence to come home to Columbus when her father was dying, and, instead of going back to Green Bay, ended up in Atlanta, where she got married and went to Georgia State University. Tragically, she lost her first husband to a high-rise building construction accident.

 

  However, she ended up working for Steve Faust again when he hired her as a reporter right after I switched stations in 1986.  She was only there a short time before my co-anchor Rebecca Todd left. That’s when the station decided to make her my co-anchor. Wayne Daughtery, manager at the time, asked me what I thought about the idea. I told him I thought it was a good idea and would work.

 

  It did. Our ratings, which were already quite high – we were the undisputed ratings leader – got even higher over time.  At one point we got a fifty share, which is almost unheard of, especially considering that so many choices had become available on cable TV. No station in Columbus – or probably anywhere else – comes near that now.

 

 

Dick McMichael and Dee Armstrong

 Dick McMichael and Dee Armstrong

 

  When I retired from anchoring in 2000, we were still on top by a good margin. After that, I continued for a year in a public affairs capacity. In what was called  a corporate-wide layoff – Raycom owns almost 50 stations – I was laid off after that year, but asked to come back shortly afterwards to do some special news projects and documentaries, which I did.

 

 Now, after 22 years on top at WTVM, her broadcasting career closes. She told me she will become more immersed in her financial services career and has some other projects in mind. She started learning the financial services business when, as she told me, “I saw the handwriting on the wall.”

 

  Welcome to life after TV, Dee. It’s not bad – a lot slower, but not bad. .

 

 

Paul, Bob,Dick,Dee,Dave

 

Left to right:  Paul Therrien, WTVM pohotographer; Bob Jeswald, WRBL (former WTVM) weathercaster; Dick McMichael, retired WTVM (former WRBL) news anchor; Dee Armstrong, departing WTVM anchor; Dave Platta, WTVM sports director and anchor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

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19 Responses to “Dee’s Goodbye Party at the Bennett’s”

  1. Barbara Smith Says:

    Good Luck and God bless.

  2. sherri Says:

    We love Dee and regret that WTVM has to fire her for her bravery to stand up for something she believes in. Sherri Phenix city

  3. Paul Says:

    Broadcasting is fun but I’ve always thought the best part was the people. Not consultants and corporate weasels, but the people who we work with every day and with whom we often become family. Although the circumstances weren’t the happiest, I’m glad you and your dear friends had a good time.

    22 years at one station is quite an accomplishment in this business. While I know one guy who anchored 41 years at one station–and that is the record, I believe, and know of a few others in the 30-plus range, they are the exception rather than the rule.

    I don’t know the particulars of your friend Dee’s lawsuit but it sounds like she has grounds. If she can swing it, perhaps she should go to one of the other stations in town and get even with the people who mistreated her by doing good work and living well and bringing loyal viewers with her.

  4. G Berry Says:

    I get tired of everything coming down to racism.

  5. Sad Says:

    It’s really difficult to wrap my mind around not seeing Dee delivering the news. However, I can’t believe her final show was not a front page story on the Ledger. It got absolutely no press on the Ledger. Dick, you are a legend in broadcast news. Is there any way you could throw your weight around and force them to give an explanation on their blatant disregard to an end of an era?

  6. dicksworld Says:

    Sorry, Sad, but I don’t have any more influence with the paper than you. That’s not to say that I don’t have friends there. I do, and I like and respect them. I think Dusty Nix is a very fine editorial writer, for instance, as well as being a great guy. Michael Owen is in the same category as Dusty. And there are others, but as far as having any sway when it comes to news decisions, I really don’t think what I think would matter.

    I will admit, though, that you are right in wondering why her departure didn’t get a lot of play. She has been on top of the ratings heap for more than 20 years and has huge name recognition.

  7. F. Williams Says:

    Dee will be missed.Her and Wayne were a great team and she made it a pleasure to tune in,because they worked well together.Bring her back.

  8. firefigter Says:

    I grew up watching Dick and Dee. The only person I miss more than Dee is Dick, but “even this will end” good luck and godspeed to both of you.

  9. Fancy Says:

    Wow!!. My mom just asked me to look up Dee on WTVM because we knew that she was leaving but my mom hadn’t seen her in about two weeks. A google search led me here. I ‘grew up’ on Dee and Dick anchoring the news. I wish Dee the best!!

  10. Cale Says:

    I just had to comment on Wayne Bennett’s awesome headband in the picture.

    I like the new blog, Dick. Miss the content of newsmanbook, but still enjoy this one.

  11. Anne Says:

    I really didn’t enjoy watching Dee read the news. Often, it appeared that she did little, if any, proofreading of the copy. Her delivery was riddled with mispronouciations of widely known names of corporations, places, etc.

    Her wardrobe seemed to leave alot to be desired. I often checked the color balance on my TV to verify what colors I was seeing were true to my eyes.

  12. Chris Says:

    Wow. I feel like I’m in a time warp looking at a picture of Paul, Bob, Dee, Dick and Platta standing next to each other. I feel like I’m in my early 20s working the studio floor as a camara operator and later a photog. I’ve not worked with finer people and Dee is the crown jewel. Still as lovely as ever! WTVM’s and Columbus televisions unrecoverable loss. Dick you’re pretty ok too! God Bless

  13. Connie Says:

    I really miss Dee. I haven’t watched WTVM since she left. I’m sure the Lord will bless what ever she does. Continue to let His light shine through.

  14. joe Says:

    Unbelievable to think that the best local personality Columbus has ever had! Is not anchoring the news. Dee you made me laugh and you made me cry over the years commentating the best news casts ever, but what I will miss the most is you coming into my living room and being apart of the family. I will always miss that. God Bless you. By the way i do not know what the person was talking about with your wardrobe I thought it was great! You have been number one for many years I also would like to see you comeback at another local station that would appreciate professionalism and honesty.

  15. Max Says:

    I remember when Dee started her news career in Columbus. I was surprised to see a young black woman in the role of newscaster. Black and woman being key words here. I was impressed then and still am. I shall miss Dee sorely and wish her all the best. YOU GO GIRL!!

  16. TJ Says:

    Anne, would you have said these things to her face. I don’t think so.

  17. Janice Says:

    Dee is a person I never will forget and happy to find out that she is dealing
    with this injust to her career. It’s so sad that even now to stand up for your right that you just boothed out and in step a new replacement please, please never Dee stop when you believe in your rights. I no longer will watch the station I grew up with. Good Luck and may God bless you Dee.

  18. Rick Bartlett Says:

    I worked with Dee as a Studio Photographer and must say she is/was a class act. I enjoyed our downtime sitting back and watching, “Make The Band,” whcih had us crackng up.

    Well, while I don’t know the issues related to your leaving, I hope everything goes well in life.

    Rick Bartlett – Program Director/Morning Show Host
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  19. Norm Woodel Says:

    Dick…

    I stumbled on to your website… it’s great to see you still active and smiling.
    I’m still living in Chicago and having a great life.

    Gratitude & Peace ;~)
    nuff said,
    Norm Woodel – Chicago

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