Published on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 05:55
WLS-TV has parted ways with their weekend news anchor and general assignment reporter Kevin Roy. Officially, Roy's contract was not renewed and that is the reason stated for his release. However, there was still time remaining on his current contract, but he has been told to no longer report to work there.
It came down to a matter of trust, or a lack thereof.
As the co-anchor of the Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts, management needed to trust that their on-air staff would should up ready & able to work. Unfortunately, Kevin Roy broke that trust, not once, but at least three times in the last few months.
The last straw came this past Sunday morning. Sunday Morning News co-anchor Stacey Baca had some pre-arranged time off this weekend, so Roy was scheduled to do the newscasts solo. He did not show up for work at all on Sunday, leaving the station to scramble to get staffers to be the anchors at the last minute. They first found free-lance reporter Michelle Gallardo to do the first half hour newscast and then found reporter Ben Bradley willing to cover the rest of shift (and on Ben Bradley's birthday, no less).
On Tuesday morning, WLS President/General Manager Emily Barr and WLS Vice President/News Director Jennifer Graves made the hard decision to release Kevin Roy from his duties. The decision, while seemingly justified, must not have been an easy one.
Roy was one of WLS-TV's brighter stars, who had been with the station since October 1998, when he joined as a reporter. Since joining WLS, Roy has won himself and the station five Emmy Awards, including one in his very first year at the station. One of those Emmys was for "Best News Series" in 2001, where he won for "A Son of Suicide," a series of reports that explored his family's experience of his mother's bouts with manic depression and eventual suicide. "A Son of Suicide" won several other honors as well: a Silver Dome Award for Best Series by the Illinois Broadcasters Association, a national media award from the Mental Health Association of the Mentally Ill in Illinois, a recognition from the National Mental Health Association, the Gold Bell Media Award from the Mental Health Association of Illinois, a recognition from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and a recognition from the Catholic Charities.
in 2008, the Illinois chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness named Roy one of its "Heroes in the Fight" against mental illness for a year-long series on suicide that he produced, which was nominated for a Peter Lisagor award by the Chicago Headline Club in 2009.
Kevin Roy was also very knowledgeable and interested in the real estate market and architecture. A special segment and blog on the famed Chicagoland architect Frank Lloyd Wright won him top honors from the Associated Press of Illinois in 2001.
Kevin Roy is a native of Oak Park, IL, the same town as where Frank Lloyd Wright himself lived and worked as an adult.
Roy is a frequent volunteer for various mental health programs, suicide outreach charities, and foundations finding homes for children born with HIV/AIDS.
More than anything else, he is best known for being the talented news anchor on Chicago's top rated news station. Despite the early morning weekend hours he tended to work, he developed a large following.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kevin Roy released a statement, acknowledging that he had some issues he was dealing with. In the statement he said, "I'm profoundly sorry that WLS has decided not to renew my contract when it expires, though I understand the reason. By failing to show up at my appointed time, I abused the station's reliance on me. To those who might speculate on the reason, be assured that my problem is one of physical exhaustion only. I only wish I had taken the opportunity to take some time off, rather than try to muscle through. WLS has been my refuge for 12 years. I'll deeply miss my association with the station and my colleagues. I'm committed to remaining here. Like Chicago itself, I need to have Big Shoulders. I hope to come through this having learned a valuable lesson in maturity."
After an outpouring of well wishes were posted on his Facebook page, Roy posted on there, "Thanks for your support and all the kind remarks. The love is felt. Now, any good job leads out there? Open to the possibilities, hopefully something that takes advantage of what I have to offer... I have loved what I've done in the past, and only hope to be so lucky to do something as exciting in the future."
Prior to joining WLS-TV, Roy worked as a weekend anchor and reporter in Portland, OR, a Washington correspondent for the Belo Television Group, a weekend anchor and reporter in Louisville, KY, and an anchor/reporter in Cedar Rapids, IA.
This coming Friday night, Kevin Roy is still expected to be the keynote speaker at "Fashioning the Future for Mental Health," a fashion show being put on by the Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area. It will take place in the Fox River Ballroom at the Grand Victoria Casino (250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin) from 6:30pm-Midnight.