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Published: Friday, 5/20/2011

Channel 24 fires reporter Schlesinger

Michael Schlesinger had been with WNWO-TV for more than 6 years. Michael Schlesinger had been with WNWO-TV for more than 6 years.

WNWO-TV, Channel 24, morning meteorologist and environmental reporter Michael Schlesinger has been let go by the station. Schlesinger, 43, said he was informed of the decision late last week after the station's morning broadcast.

"Basically, it was one of those managerial, directional shift type of things," he said. "We got a new general manger in January and a new news director from within, and they advised there would be changes. [In] April we were notified some [employees] would not still be here within a month's time span."

Schlesinger is being replaced by Jon James, the chief meteorologist at WTVQ-TV, an ABC affiliate in Lexington, Ky. James begins his weekday morning broadcasts from 5 to 7 Friday.

Schlesinger, who said he has been working without a station contract for two years, making him an at-will employee, wasn't surprised at his dismissal.

"Everybody else was surprised and stunned and saddened, but I was not," he said. "I guess it was intuition. You're in this business long enough -- almost 20 years -- and you kind of know.

"I was told that I did nothing wrong. It was just a choice of style. I'm assuming what they were looking for was something different than what I had to offer."

A native of Atlanta, Schlesinger had been with the NBC affiliate for 6 1/2 years. After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in meteorology and a minor in speech communication, he began his broadcast career in Parkersburg, W.Va. He's also worked full time in Evansville, Ind., and Lansing and freelanced in Cincinnati and Dayton.

Schlesinger said he would like to thank station viewers for tuning in mornings to watch him. And while he's unsure of his future plans -- and even if he will remain in television -- he's ready to move on.

"I wish [WNWO] well and I'm moving forward [but] it's personal. It is. It's hard to say it's not. It's an investment that's no longer there. You've invested in your career and it's not turned out exactly how you wanted it. It's difficult," he said. "But in my business there's no rhyme or reason. People have been let go for lesser things."

Contact Kirk Baird at: kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

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