Not many people in Kansas City television news circles were particularly surprised by word of the pending departure of KSHB TV news anchor Mark Clegg.
Trust me on this.
For starters, does anybody really think a successful news anchor with the stature of say a Larry Moore or Phil Witt would walk away from a six-figure paycheck in the prime of their careers? For a marketing position for which they have little to no qualifications, experience or training, no less? That’s what Clegg is doing, folks.
Voluntarily? Maybe. But probably not entirely.
After a dozen years at Channel 41 Clegg’s moving to Houston where his ex wife and kid reside for a marketing manager job with real estate behemoth Hines.
However, this is not the simple deal the Kansas City Star‘s Kevin Collison made last month, leaving a five figure post at the newspaper for the marketing manager job at Burns & McDonnell, a locally-based engineering and design firm with 38 locations. Noe, Hines is a Houston-based real estate firm with offices in 63 U.S. cities and 13 foreign countries that controls “assets valued at approximately $11 billion…(and is) one of the largest real estate organizations in the world.”
A glimpse at Hines 100-plus page employee roster reveals it has several marketing managers in Houston and around the globe. So it’s likely Clegg will receive the ample on-the-job training both he and Collison will need, given their all but complete lack of the usually standard qualifications for a marketing manager post.
In Collison’s case it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. For Clegg, it’s more a cross your fingers and hope for the best proposition.
To some industry observers it’s more surprising Clegg lasted as long as he did without getting the ax from one of the many news directors he’s worked under.
But ever since former KMBC TV news director Brian Bracco joined Channel 41 as general manager in late 2012, there’s been a building expectation that Clegg would have to go if Bracco wanted to make the station No. 1 here.
So while nobody at KSHB is talking, it’s a safe bet that Clegg knew his days were numbered, perhaps because his contract was approaching its end with no indication of being renewed.
A nice enough guy, the unfortunate problem with Clegg was he was just too wooden.
Local TV news watchers like to think of news anchors more as family members – warm, wise, clever, funny family members – not distant ones who seem a bit awkward at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Certain aspects of Clegg’s personal life – unknown to the general public – may have contributed to him seeming a little distant. However that hasn’t hindered numerous other anchors and reporters who have excelled here and/or gone on to bigger and better positions in other markets.
As opposed to jobs learning how to market real estate.
The real task at hand for KSHB awaits.
Because simple as it may seem, picking out a television news anchor for the ages is anything but simple…or easy. Otherwise every station would have one. I remember having such a discussion years ago with former KCTV news director Don North.
It’s relatively easy to sit in front of a television after the fact and pick out the duds. Quite another to sort through dozens or hundreds of videos looking to find the next Gary Lezak.