CBS46 anchor Stephany Fisher's replacement: Sharon Reed

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally field Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stephany Fisher's replacement as an evening anchor at CBS46(WGCL) has been named: Sharon Reed, who was last working in St. Louis at another CBS affiliate KMOV owned by Meredith Corp. She will start in mid June.

Rumors of Reed's impending arrival go back to March, starting with FTV-live reporting that news director Larry Perret had a meal with her.  (That's impressive sourcing FTV!)

Soon after, I received confirmation Fisher will be leaving next month when her contract is up.  Fisher had been at the station for 12 years, by far its longest running anchor. But under Perret, the station has hired a raft of new people in recent months with many folks leaving as well.

He has hired a new meteorologist Jim Kosek to replace Markina Brown . Gloria Neal will soon be joining the morning anchor desk to replace Michelle Burdo . Veteran sports anchor Fred Kalil recently took over sports programming, effectively replacing Larry Smith . And several reporters (including Renee Starzyk, Bernard Watson and Mike Paluska) have left and have been or are about to be replaced.

Reed, according to her Linkedin page, has been in St. Louis since 2012. She has also worked at WSVN (Miami, 1997-1999), WCAU (Philadelphia, 1999-2002) and WOIO (Cleveland, 2002-2012).

“Sharon is an incredible addition to our team.  Her journalistic skills and passion for the community are second to none,” said Perret in the press release. He noted in a follow-up email that she helped bring the 5 and 6 p.m newscasts at KMOV to No. 1. He also said her coverage of the Ferguson riots impressed him deeply.

“It’s an opportunity to continue working with a great company (Meredith) and to come to a station doing a number of new and exciting things.  On top of that I get an opportunity to get involved in the great city of Atlanta” said Reed in the same press release.

Reed made headlines all over the world in 2004, including  the New York Times of all places when she posed nude with 2,700 others as part of an art installation in a move approved by her bosses at her employer WOIO, a Cleveland TV station.

In the late great David Carr's story, he described her story as shown to Cleveland viewers at the time:

Ms. Reed, who has a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, lauded her own bravery as she removed her bra in front of the cameras, suggesting that there was significance in her willingness to strip naked for the sake of art: she was taking part in an installation by Spencer Tunick, an artist who photographs choreographed scenes of public nudity. She then took off the rest of her clothes, and the camera filmed her as she walked away from it and joined a group of participants in the photo shoot, also naked.

Critics said this was a blatant ratings grabber. Reed was not apologetic to the Cleveland Plain Dealer:  "I'm in it to win. When did that become a crime?"

She also defended her work on David Letterman's late night CBS show, calling it a "very legitimate new story." (She called Carr of the Times "a boob" to Letterman.)

In 2005, Cleveland magazine did a fascinating piece on her called "The Mystique of Sharon Reed."

Like the station she works for, Reed's style is more adventurous than most. She favors sexy suits and necklines low enough to be cut off by the ticker running across the bottom of the screen. Reed doesn't just relay the news of the day, she wears it.

At the same time, the writer Jacqueline Marino was mystified by who Reed was.  She is protective of her private life. The reporter managed a short front-end meeting with her, but Reed declined to give her an extensive interview.

So over two months, Marino did her best to get a sense of Reed by talking to a lot of other people at a level of depth I'm jealous of because I never have time to do that.

Eventually, Marino did talk to her by phone but it sounded like Reed spent a lot of time excoriating Marino for not being totally clear about her intentions, that she was doing reporting behind her back, that she had been burned before by other media.

I finally learn something -- a few things -- about Reed from Reed: She won't be a victim. She won't let anyone put words in her mouth. And she doesn't want "the point to get across that I don't want to talk."

Wondering how ratings are among the TV stations? I recently did a piece here breaking it down hour by hour.

For years, CBS46 (WGCL-TV) has generally been the fourth-place station in local news ratings behind leader Channel 2 Action News (WSB-TV), followed by Fox 5 (WAGA-TV) and 11 Alive (WXIA-TV).

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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