It has become a PR nightmare for the Cox Duop in J-Ville.
FTVLive was the FIRST to report that WTEV/WAWS in Jacksonville was scrubbing their main anchor team and starting over from scratch.
Station anchors Paige Kelton, Mark Spain, Lynnsey Gardner, and Tera and Mike Barz have been told their contracts weren’t being renewed.
Now the President of the Jacksonville City Council is weighing in on the Cox station's move to dump their main talent.
City Council President Bill Gulliford (pictured) wrote a letter to Cox Media Group President Bill Hoffman.
In a letter to Hoffman on council letterhead, Gulliford said the move by Action News is “getting a lot of push back in the community.”
“I have heard it constantly since the story broke,” Gulliford wrote. “People are challenging the wisdom of such a move and questioning whether Cox Media really gets the local aspect of their operation here.”
Asked about the letter, Gulliford said he heard a little more background about the situation from one of the anchors after an interview. After hearing about the situation, he said he didn’t “think someone up the line understands what Jacksonville is about.”
“I think they exercised bad judgment,” he said.
Gulliford said he had no relationships or personally knows the anchors, but felt compelled to let his opinion be known because “they are part of our community” and know Jacksonville.
In the letter, he said he hoped the situation is salvageable and receives consideration.
Another community letter also wrote a letter to station management.
Jim Kowalski, executive director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, also sent a letter to the station manager at Action News questioning the decision to not renew Kelton’s contract.
He said Kelton had “spent enough time in the trenches with community leaders” to gain their trust. “She is active with several nonprofits, cares deeply and has proven her commitment to local issues,” he said. “Being genuinely nice helps. As a result, where other media outlets will get sound bites, Paige will get the rest of the story.”
Kowalski said he wasn’t sure if it was too late for management to rescind the decision or if Kelton would consider staying with Action News. “But I think you are making a mistake in not recognizing how valuable relationship and reputations are, particularly in Jacksonville, and how much time and effort Paige has put into establishing hers,” his letter concluded.