A lot of people have asked me about Dee Armstrong now that she is no longer with WTVM. The timing was interesting because I talked with her this morning, the day after the announcement that Dee’s replacement had been named. Barbara Gauthier, who grew up in Waverly Hall, Georgia will be coming to take over the co-anchoring duties that Dee had performed. Her impressive resume includes stints at BET, WXIA in Atlanta, and radio and TV stations in Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Hartford. She has a husband and 2 children. She is a Mercer University graduate.
I asked Dee if she had any advice for her replacement. She said, “I would tell her to make WTVM a part of her life, but not her life. One of the reasons that I am handling this situation so well is that my job was not totally who I was. I was called ‘Mama’ more than I was called Dee. I spent a lot of my time raising kids.. Also, I have music. I perform and I write songs. So when people ask me if I miss television, I say no.”
I can indentify with that. I also tell people “no” when they ask me if I miss television. Dee pointed out that, like her, I had other interest when I was working in T.V. “You were writing and sailing and doing other things.” She was right, and she is right about it being a good idea not to let your career become your whole life.
She did say, though, that she has been overwhelmed this last month because she now works on her schedule, not on someone else’s . She anchored on WTVM for more than 20 years. “Now,’ she said, “if I am sitting at the computer and I look out the window and see some flowers that need watering, I just stop what I am doing, get up, go outside and water the flowers.” I don’t water any flowers, but I do put water into my hydroponic garden that sits on a table in my sun room. I am about to “plant” lettuce.
Dee told me she is doing fine. She works in financial services now. She said she is doing a lot of teaching about financies for Primerica, which is associated with Citibank. She is happy doing that. She did, however, let me know how hard it had become for her at the station for the last months that she worked there. She said that she felt even people who wanted to be friendly would stay away from her at work for fear of management thinking they were siding with her.
Also, she is still pursuing her civil rights suit against the station. I am not going to get into that because litigation in underway. If it ever reaches trial, we’ll get the details then.
So that’s how it is going with Dee Armstrong, probably the best known person in the Columbus-Phenix City- Fort Benning area, a month after her job ended at WTVM.