TVNewser LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllTwitter AllFacebook InsideFacebook InsideSocialGames InsideMobileApps

Longtime Anchor Bob Hite Returns to WFLA, Trading on Career to Pitch Health Care

Longtime anchor Bob Hite has returned to WFLA.  Sort of.

Hite, who was a fixture at the WFLA anchor desk for three decades before retiring in 2007, is now hosting a half-hour infomercial airing on the NBC-affiliate.

In the “special broadcast” from local health care provider Optimum Health Care, Hite promotes the company’s Medicare Advantage plan by trading on his long career as a journalist.

“As a news anchor and photojournalist, I’ve spent over 40 years researching and reporting stories I felt were important to improve people’s lives,” Hite says in the infomercial, before declaring his commitment to helping people understand the medicare system.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times spoke with Hite about the ethical questions that the program raises, having a journalist leverage his career to pitch a product.

“I think it’s clear to anyone what I’m doing,” Hite, 63, told Deggans, “anyone who knows me from my days as a newsman knows I’ve been retired for years.”

“The only products we take on are products I believe in,” he added. “And I have to have total script control.”

Mediabistro Course

Social Media Strategy Boot Camp

Social Media Strategy Boot CampStarting November 10, build a complete social media strategy for your brand! Through a series of weeklong webcasts, marketing and social media experts will teach you how to integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy, understand key metrics and analytics, and master the emerging trends in social. Register now!