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Former Jacksonville Anchor Says New Arrivals Could Face ‘Backlash’

ActionJaxA former Jacksonville news anchor says Cox Media Group’s decision to replace five news anchors at WTEV-WAWS with new talent from outside the market may confuse and even anger viewers.

Marcia Ladendorff was an anchor for seven years at WTLV-WJXX, and says the move not to renew Mark Spain, Paige Kelton, Tera Barz, Mike Barz and Lynnsey Gardner as anchors (Kelton will remain at the station in a new role, as special projects manager) flies in the face” of the relationship-building that happens when anchors have deep roots in a community:

“The people who are sitting at home are like, ‘Wait a minute, I like Paige Kelton. …’ That’s got to be unpleasant, in fact it’s depressing as hell,” Ladendorff said.
As far as new hires for Action News anchors, there could be backlash from the First Coast audience and the first public hire in Bachman could prove severely challenging, Ladendorff said.

“If people in the station and in the community are not appreciative of what Cox is doing, he’s [Bachman] going to be the hired gun in their view,” Ladendorff said. “I would not want his job because I have to assume, because of the longevity of the people who are disappearing in the view of the community, he’s going to be the guy coming in.

David Deeley, an assistant professor of communications at the University of North Florida and former sports talent, said the scale of the personnel shakeup in Jacksonville could be traumatic both for the newsroom and for the audience.

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