Three familiar TV news faces have faded from view in the past several days in something of a mini-exodus. And two of them left because of contract disputes.
KOLD news anchor Scott Kilbury’s next stop is upstate New York, KVOA sports director Ryan Recker has taken a job in Pittsburgh and KVOA reporter Lorraine Rivera is leaving the industry to spend time with her family.
But there is more to the stories of Kilbury and Rivera — both who say they would have stuck around had they managed to work out their contracts.
Anchor Kilbury, 46, had been with KOLD since 2001. He had been been working without a contract since August, when he declined to sign an extension while negotiating for higher pay. He said KOLD pulled its offer and told him he could stay until he found a new job.
Kilbury said he was willing to accept the original offer two days after he declined it, but KOLD management would not budge. He didn’t start seriously looking for a job until February.
When Kilbury announced he had accepted the job at a 4 p.m. KOLD broadcast June 18, was not allowed to appear on his scheduled 9 p.m. KMSB broadcast. Kilbury said his KOLD Facebook page was deleted and he was asked to leave.
KOLD Vice President and General Manager Debbie Bush did not respond to requests for comment.
Kilbury starts at his new job at WHEC in Rochester, NY, July 15.
Kilbury said his wife, Teresa and their three children, ages 8, 10 and 15,will miss Tucson but are eager and excited about the move.
“It’s a sigh of relief,” he said. “I’m really happy to be going to a place like that. It will be nice to be appreciated.”
Rivera, too, struggled to work out a contract with her employer. The former anchor was offered what she calls a “substantial pay cut,” which she declined. She had been with the station since 2005, and her last day on the air was Tuesday.
Rivera, 31, said she’s looking forward to spending more time with her husband and their 11-month-old daughter.
“I think my time in television is done,” Rivera said, adding that she is dispirited with the industry while leaving open the possibility of a return.
“We made Lorraine an offer which she chose to decline,” said KVOA President and General Manager Bill Shaw, via email. “She did a great job and is very talented. We wish her well in her future endeavors.”
Shaw said Rivera was offered the top of the pay scale for her position.
Recker’s move is a homecoming. He grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Pittsburgh’s Robert Morris University. The 34-year-old will start at WTAE in Pittsburgh sometime in July.
“I’ve always had my eye on where the next good opportunity would be,” Recker said. “It wasn’t the case where I was going to go just because it was a bigger market. This is Pittsburgh, where I grew up and where my family lives. Those are the sports team I’ve continued to follow.”
KVOA will miss Recker, who had been with the station since 2007 and was last on the air Wednesday, said Shaw, the station’s boss.
“Ryan has an opportunity to go back home which he had said was a goal of his,” he said. “Regarding his career at KVOA, he was a consummate professional and a true team player. He is very well liked and respected he will be missed by all.”
Both Recker and Rivera will be replaced “within a couple of weeks,” Shaw said.
Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or firstname.lastname@example.org