WCCO-TV staffers were just floored to see anchor John Reger's name on the list of people laid off Thursday.
Reger did not return my call to his home today, however, he called his "WCCO Sunday Morning" co-anchor, Esme Murphy. "He called last night apologizing that he couldn't talk to me because he was taking his parents to the Benilde [boys state tournament basketball] game. He was concerned about me. I'm devastated because I loved doing the Sunday show with him. He is the classiest guy you would ever hope to meet. And he's super cute."
Reger's name was the most high-profile on the list of staffers let go, including a Sunday morning producer and a graphics staffer. A WCCO insider said the word is that more layoffs are coming.
Donald Winslow, editor of the News Photographer magazine based in Austin, Texas, said WCCO's "corporate flaks" have been avoiding his calls about these layoffs, which are happening throughout CBS. "It seems, so far, the people getting laid off are very experienced long-term employees, not the new-hires." Winslow said a source explained to him that they are not firing the person, they are firing their salary.
Reger, whose contract was up in a few months, started looking like the odd man out last year when Dennis Douda was moved from weekdays to weekend anchoring duties. Not known for playing office politics, Reger never complained or said word and continued to do whatever was asked of him.
Word around the newsroom is that Reger has previously gotten calls from other stations in town, as well as out-of-town stations wanting to hire him. His first preference would appear to be remaining the Twin Cities where he has lots of family, most notably his mom and dad, to whom Reger is devoted. A musician, composer and jingle writer, Reger, who speaks a couple of languages, also had been an actor. Noted for being Mr. Frugal, Reger probably has lots of money saved up and lots of options.
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