After more than three decades, Nashville’s Demetria Kalodimos will no longer be a part of the WSMV news broadcasts. Word of the beloved anchor’s ouster is yet another in a string of scintillating stories of ageism, abuse, firings, and lawsuits that have roiled longtime viewers of the NBC affiliate.
According a statement by Kalodimos to The Nashville Scene, she learned of her dismissal from a letter left on her desk by management.
“I have spent more than half of my life at WSMV, working long and unpredictable hours, winning awards and ratings, serving and understanding the community and building trust,” she said. “It is quite sad to end a nearly 34 year career the way this company chose to end it, with a letter left on a desk, no conversation, no face to face meeting, no thanks.”
A quick search of the WSMV website shows she has been removed, and a short statement has been posted:
Demetria Kalodimos’ contract with the station expired on December 31, and as a result she is no longer a daily part of the Channel 4 broadcast team. Channel 4 offered an extension of her contract for the purpose of discussions, and hoped to continue supporting her journalistic work. However, we received no timely responses from her.
Nevertheless, we expect to enjoy and applaud her future creations through her production company and other endeavors. Out of respect for our employees, we do not believe it is appropriate to comment further on personnel matters.
Channel 4 is excited that our long-time, trusted anchor, Tracy Kornet will be expanding her role at the station to include anchoring duties at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Tracy is truly an asset to the Nashville community and Channel 4, and we look forward to continuing to bring her into your homes at these time periods.
However, Kalodimos disputes the characterization of her departure made by her former bosses, telling The Scene:
To be clear … the ‘extension’ offered to me was for 2 weeks (Jan. 19) so that the station could create the illusion that I retired. The only offer made to me was an offer to leave, under WSMV’s ‘terms.’ Longtime and loyal viewers need no explanation of what’s been happening at WSMV, a once lauded ‘legacy’ television station.
Early last mast month, The Tennessee Star reported:
Three former veteran newscasters at WSMV-TV News Channel 4 have filed an age-discrimination lawsuit in federal district court in Nashville.
The former popular news personalities are Dennis Ferrier, Jennifer Johnson and Nancy Van Camp. The Meredith Corporation, the station owner, denies the allegations.
“This case sheds light on some ugly truths about what is happening at Channel 4,” said attorney Brian Winfrey of Morgan & Morgan in a news release issued by the law firm Tuesday. “My clients are accomplished professionals. They don’t deserve this treatment after decades of dedicating their careers to Channel 4.”
According to the lawsuit, station management in 2015 began a pattern of hostile behavior toward older broadcasters. Comments were made about getting rid of the “old timers” and hiring “faces that appeal to a younger demographic.” The suit alleges that a news director would say of Ferrier, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
A number of employees over 40 were removed and replaced by younger employees between 2015 and 2016, the suit says. In addition to ridicule, the workplace hostility included unfair job scrutiny and adverse job assignments, the suit alleges.
The Tennessean reports the stunning details of exactly how station management delivered the news of her dismissal:
A week or so after the lawsuit was filed, Kalodimos — on vacation — came in to work to cover a parole hearing. After the hearing, she got a text message from the news director to pick up something important, which turned out to be a letter saying her contract wouldn’t be renewed.
As for Kalodimos’ immediate plans, she tells The Scene:
I love my work, I respect my colleagues and I am very skilled at my profession. I have absolutely no intention to retire at this point in my life. There is no reason for me to cease earning a living in the field I have studied and trained for. I hope to remain a journalist people can depend upon in Middle Tennessee. Stay tuned.
Fans can keep up with Demitria Kalodimos by following her new Twitter account, at https://twitter.com/genuinehumandk.