Posts Tagged ‘Dee Armstrong’

Stream of Consciousness

April 3, 2012

I have to hurry to get this in before  Monday is over since I pledged that I would try to have a new post by every Monday. I’m not thinking about any  single subject right now so I guess I’ll go with stream of consciousness.

I’m glad Dee Armstrong is doing the 6 p.m. news on TY again.  She’still good at it.

When I watch the candidates for  president rant on TV I am reminded of the old saw that “the outs view with alarm, and the ins point with pride.” That’s always true.

I wish Congress would spend more time concentrating on things needed to help our country and the rest of world and less on partisan warfare.

I wish state legislators would work more for the common good and less for lobbyists.

I wish there were an adult – no, I don’t mean pornographic – movie in one the theaters in Columbus. Well, there are a couple at the second-run Peachtree 8, but I’ve already seen them.

I wish Hollywood would make more adult movies, things like Midnight in Paris, The King’s Speech, and Hugo. Yes, I know that the star of Hugo is a child, but it’s still an intelligent, visually stunning  movie.

Chef Lee’s II is closed on Mondays I learned again tonight.

Doc Martin is quite entertaining.  It appears to be going on forever.

I’m getting sleepy so I’ll say good night.

Dee Armstrong on the State of Local Television News

March 23, 2009

Speaking, at my invitation, to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus,  former Columbus TV news anchor Dee  Armstrong drew sharp contrast to the way news was reported in years past and the way it is reported now.

She doesn’t think experience counts for much any more,  decrying the way young reporters,  she believes,  have no respect for veterans who have decades of experience, veterans who could help them become  effective, mature  reporters.  

She said that when she was a young reporter she revered the veterans who had proven themselves in the business,  citing her formative years working for Ed Wilson and me.  Ed,  who was news director at WDAK at one time,  taught her how to be a radio reporter when she was still in Columbus High School.  She learned how to think in terms of telling stories with pictures when I hired her away from Ed – sorry Ed – to report for WRBL-TV.  I was news director at WRBL-TV at the time.

That background and her talent enabled her to become a very successful anchor at WTVM.  She and I co-anhored the news on WTVM from about 1987 to 2000 when I retired.  We had impressive ratings.  After I retired she continued at WTVM, co-anchoring with Wayne Bennett,  who will retire in May.  They also had good ratings. 

She pointed out that in years past news departments came up with enterprise reports,  digging into issues that affect people.  I can remember those days.  In Columbus, it appears that they are gone.

Dee’s leaving television news,  and Wayne’s leaving,  as well as mine,  represents, I beleive,  the end of an era.  The torch has been passed,  but it could be that it has been rejected.

Dee Armstrong’s Advice to Her Replacement

July 30, 2008

  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.


Dee Armstrong, former WTVM news anchor

Dee Armstrong, former WTVM news anchor


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.



Dee’s Goodbye Party at the Bennett’s

June 30, 2008

  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.