The rigors of the journalistâ€™s schedule is claiming another victim, as Fox10 anchor and reporter April Douglas has announced she is leaving the business in December.
Douglas, a five-year WALA veteran who anchors and reports for the 4 p.m. broadcast, says the time has come to hang up the microphone and trade it for a schedule that better fits her life as a mother of two young boys. Douglas says she has taken a position as the public relations coordinator at Alta Pointe Health Systems here in town.
"I will be in charge of their web site and public relations duties while I help spread awareness about mental health issues,â€ť she said.
Douglas is a Mobile native who has spent the past 12 years as a television reporter. Before WALA she had two stints at stations in Florida. But coming back to Mobile was always part of the plan, Douglas says.
"Iâ€™ve done everything I wanted to do and fulfilled my childhood dream of getting to anchor in my hometown. But my boys are 5 and 7 and I need more opportunity to go to their events,â€ť she said. "Life has changed. This is just the next step in my career.â€ť
Douglas has covered some of the areaâ€™s biggest stories over the past five years, including the Herman Thomas trial and the trial of convicted murderer Lam Luong. Like most people leaving the adrenalin-fueled world of journalism, she says sheâ€™ll miss the excitement of being in the mix, but feels her new role presents plenty of excitement.
"Fox10 has been great to me. This was a tough decision. Once youâ€™ve done news you worry if anything else will hold your interest, but I think this will,â€ť she said.
Douglas did not announce her last day on the air, only saying it would be in December.
Lehocky to Senior Bowl
Fox10 is also losing longtime sports anchor and reporter Rob Lehocky, who has taken a position with the Senior Bowl as its director of public relations.
Lehocky said he was excited by the opportunity to work with the Senior Bowl and its president Phil Savage as they attempt to move the event forward.
"It was just a great opportunity. The Senior Bowl is a great event and itâ€™s just going to grow,â€ť Lehocky said.
A professed football junkie, Lehocky said this gives him the opportunity to be near both college and professional football. In addition, he will still be able to pursue a sideline gig as a photographer for NFL Films, something heâ€™s done for several years.
Lehocky replaces former Senior Bowl Public Relations Director Kevin McDermond who took a position with former title sponsor Under Armor. He said coming in less than two months before the game is going to leave him playing catch-up for a bit.
"Itâ€™s going to be a wild two months for sure,â€ť Lehocky said.
Lehocky anchors the weekday evening sports broadcasts, as well as producing regular reporting. He has been with Fox10 for roughly nine years, he said, and in television journalism for 15.
"Iâ€™ll definitely miss it, but at least Iâ€™ll get to see a lot of the people I used to work with in my new position,â€ť he said.
He said covering the SEC Championship Game would be his last assignment for WALA.
Williford leaving WPMI
Trish Williford also tells us she is leaving Local15 as of Nov. 30, although she hasnâ€™t made public what sheâ€™ll be doing next.
Williford started her career in Birmingham as a producer, then moved to reporting. She has worked in Montgomery and Shreveport, La., as well before coming to WPMI. Weâ€™ll try to find out where Trish lands.
Black Friday rules
Seems the folks at the Alabama Media Group, formerly the Press-Register, figured out a way to make sure they didnâ€™t miss out on the Black Friday madness that accompanies Thanksgiving.
Many readers were wondering what the P-R would do now that itâ€™s gone to a three-day-a-week format, publishing Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Typically that Thursday paper was chock full of "doorbusterâ€ť announcements and all other manner of Black Friday advertising, but without a Thursday paper what would happen?
The answer was the P-Râ€™s first "special issueâ€ť since it went thrice weekly in October. A special Black Friday issue rolled off the presses Nov. 21 and went on sale starting at 9 p.m. according to a story carried on al.com. The initial places where those with Black Friday fever could pick up the paper for $2 were in the P-R parking lot on Water Street and at Bel Air Towers on I-65 Service Road South.
The article claims the P-R planned to sell 100,000 of the special issues.