Ryan Serber, whose life was forever changed after the discovery of a lime-size brain tumor in 2003, is walking away from his 15-year career in television news.
The decision came eight months after the former news anchor returned to work, in a behind-the-scenes role, at WUPW-TV, Channel 36 -- and, more significantly, four months after he was back on the air as a reporter.
He said he wanted to return to the anchor desk, but station management gave him little hope that he would. Also a factor was the pay disparity: He said that as a reporter he made less than half of what he did as an anchor.
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"My career at WUPW cannot go any further," he said. "Therefore, I had to find a new career path."
Serber is to start his new job -- account executive for WNWO-TV, Channel 24 -- next week. He will sell advertising for the NBC affiliate.
"I'm very competitive, and in sales that's half the battle," he said.
WNWO general manager Rick Lipps said he knows of three other times a TV station hired a sales rep with newsroom experience. (He made two of the hires.) All three were successful, he said, and two ended up in sales management.
"News people sell every day -- they sell themselves, they sell the news," Lipps said. "He's just selling a different product."
Lipps said Serber is "the type of individual you want to find a place for" in your organization.
Is Serber out of the TV news game for good? "Absolutely," he said. "I'm not Michael Jordan [who twice made a comeback after announcing his retirement as an NBA player]."
Serber, 36, said he has recovered "100 percent" from brain cancer. He was diagnosed after suffering a seizure in his home on Feb. 24, 2003. He spent the rest of the year undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
He and Laura Emerson had co-anchored the Fox affiliate's 10 p.m. newscast since April, 2000. At the time of his seizure, the Serber/Emerson anchor tandem was the longest-running among the four local late-night newscasts.
WUPW news director Jose Suarez declined comment. Serber's final day at the station is Friday.
WEEKEND CHANGES: WTVG-TV, Channel 13, is adding a two-hour newscast on Saturday mornings beginning this week. It will air from 6 to 8, and will be followed by a one-hour edition of ABC's Good Morning America, which is expanding to weekends. On Sundays, WTVG's morning newscast will be split into two one-hour segments, 7 to 8 and 9 to 10, with GMA airing from 8 to 9.
DOWN ONE: The Toledo market has dropped one spot, to No. 70, in Nielsen Media Research's rankings for the 2004-05 television season.
MOVING ON: Ryan Fowler, a former photographer/news reporter for WUPW, has been hired as the weekend sports anchor at WLIO-TV in Lima.
LEFT TURN: Air America, the "liberal" talk-radio network, is now carried by WLBY-AM (1290), a Clear Channel-owned station in Ann Arbor.