Pavek Museum Hall of Fame broadcaster Marcia Fluer, who also had a career teaching U personnel how to handle the media, should be in local halls of fame for comedy, singing, PR and honesty.
There just aren’t many former TV types more colorful and forthright than Fluer, one of the first women to anchor the local news. I went to the home she’s shared with actor Phil Ross during Part 1 and Part 2 of their marriage.
Ross was busy making brownies while I interviewed Fluer before the arrival of dinner guests Paul and Jane Tschida. He’s a former head of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and she’s a former St. Louis Park City Council member and current president of St. Paul’s branch of the American Association of University Women.
Jane arrived wearing a hat. As you’ll see on my video, it wasn’t long before Marcia disappeared to the lower level of their charming home and reappeared wearing a hat. Singing and dancing ensued, and they hadn’t even started drinking.
We had a wide open visit. I asked Fluer how she managed to resume her marriage after it suffered a depression-related interruption. They were married 24 years, separated almost two and remarried for 24 more.
“One of the nice things was he said, ‘If you’re mad you can say so, and if you have questions, ask.’ That’s a jaw-dropping thing. [I said] ‘Really, you’re going to forgive me when I am calling you the worst name I can think?”
Q: What was your reaction to hearing that Paul Magers was retiring to deal with alcoholism?
A: I had no clue. If there is one person I would say was not an alcoholic it’s Paul, but also I would not have suspected his brother [Ron Magers] was an alcoholic. You can’t know what’s going on in people’s lives. He’s a lovely man and I’m glad he’s acknowledged the problem.
Q: When you retire from TV news, what do you do?
A: Well, I went to the U and was head of PR there for 10 years and to tell you the truth it was the best job I ever had. Absolutely better than TV. First of all, C.J., I had a staff. Poor Philip. He’s become my staff. Haven’t you noticed that he’s baking brownies? You look for things where you can use the knowledge you learned as a reporter and put it to good use. I know enough about the media to say, “No, you don’t say that to a reporter. Don’t stick a wasp up the nose of a Rottweiler.”
Q: So you had to educate U employees how to deal with the media?
A: Absolutely. They’d say Should I or shouldn’t I [return a phone call]? and I’d say, “Well, you don’t have to but they’ll be in your driveway.” And they’d go, Really? and I’d say, “Oh, yeah. This is that big a deal, they’ll be waiting in your driveway.” I had a lot of fun doing that.
Q: Which former anchorman are you surprised hasn’t gone into politics?
A: I suppose Don [Shelby] would be at the top of the list. He has the ability, the ego, the personality, the skills. I’m kind of glad he didn’t. Dave Nimmer would never get into politics, not in 100 years. He’s doing what he likes to do best, which is take care of his friends. He’s ushered one after another through the gates of heaven, and his ex-wife.
Q: Was it easy for you to become politically outspoken after you left TV?
A: It took me a long time. At the U you also don’t take the cover off because you’ve got the Legislature dealing with the budget. I didn’t become outspokenly political until about a year and a half ago.
Q: Oooh, what happened?
A: I don’t know, somebody by the name of … never mind. Yes. I’ve become very outspoken.
Q: What’s good about local television?
A: That it does pick up some local issues. It performs a service of a kind. [It needs] more meaningful political coverage.
Q: You don’t sing in public anymore?
A: No. I sing around the house. I sing in the shower. I sing at Phil. Your voice, like everything else, wears out the older you get. My voice has changed register. I can sing high now again but I can’t sing in normal register, so I just make fun of myself.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.