Posts Tagged ‘russell rhodes’
Over the past few weeks, Florida News Center has received several e-mails inquiring about WTVT’s noon talk segment, Your Turn. We have since learned that WTVT has quietly canceled the talk segment, which has bookended the end of the station’s weekday, hour long, noon newscasts since its inception in 1997.
Your Turn has slowly been cut over recent years. The segment was reduced from thirty five to fifteen minutes, after former host and WTVT anchor Kathy Fountain (left) retired from the station in Dec 2009. Morning anchor Russell Rhodes (right) has served as the Your Turn host since Jan 2010.
Sources tell Florida News Center that Rhodes’ schedule has recently shifted to earlier editions of Good Day Tampa Bay (which now runs from 4:30am-9am). Rhodes’ schedule change, in addition to a lack of production staff at the station (thanks to budget/staff cuts) has led to the downfall of Your Turn. The segment has officially been discontinued and the Your Turn section on the station’s website has been removed. The Your Turn brand will still, however be used for viewer feedback segments during newscasts.
(image/story from TampaBay.com) – From the moment she greeted guests today, looking all Christmas-y in a shimmering red pantsuit, Fox 13 anchor and talk show host Kathy Fountain had trouble keeping the waterworks at bay. At 10:30 a.m. this morning, Fountain taped the very last segment of “Your Turn,” the 35-minute talk show she’s hosted within the noon news for 12 years. It was a retrospective tribute, taped in advance with Russell Rhodes, the morning anchor who will take over a much-shortened 15-minute “Your Turn” on Dec. 31, necessitated by Fountain’s decision to leave the local TV news game after 24 years. Surrounded by about a dozen longtime guests, family members and friends, Fountain talked with Rhodes about the high and low points in her longtime gig, from watching eccentric 70-something performer Eartha Kitt do a handstand on her anchor desk to getting a pie in the face while taping her self-named talk show years ago….Cont…. Click here for another article from Eric Deggins
(from TampaBay.com) - The good news: Tampa Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 will keep producing it’s midday talk segment “Your Turn” after the Dec. 30 departure of signature host Kathy Fountain (right#1), naming morning anchor Russell Rhodes (right #2) as the new host. The not-so-good news: The station will cut 20 minutes from the segment — more than half its length — to create a 15-minute bit at the end of an expanded noontime broadcast hosted by Denise White. The new format debuts Dec. 31. Despite the reduction, WTVT officials insist the move is not a precursor to canceling the segment, saying morning anchor Rhodes needed a lighter workload in taking over the show….Cont….
(from SPTimes.com) – Morning television anchor Russell Rhodes will serve 50 hours of community service and six months of probation after a judge approved his plea agreement Wednesday for obstructing an officer without violence in January. Rhodes, 50, pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor as part of an agreement with the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office. Adjudication was withheld, meaning he will not have a conviction on his record.Defense attorney Jeff Brown told the court Wednesday there was concern over a morality clause in Rhodes’ contract with WTVT-Ch. 13, prompting the court to withhold adjudication. Rhodes can have his probation terminated once the 50 hours have been served.Rhodes declined to comment.The state initially planned to pursue a charge of driving under the influence, but County Judge Cheryl Thomas tossed blood evidence last week. She found that the results, which showed Rhodes’ blood-alcohol level was more than twice Florida’s allowable limit, had been improperly obtained.An off-duty deputy stopped Rhodes in a Channelside parking garage Jan. 16 because he suspected Rhodes was driving while impaired. Rhodes twice tried to walk away after being told to stay put. He then attempted to run out of the garage.The officer knocked Rhodes to the ground and arrested him. A jail mug shot shows injuries to his face.Brown said the arresting officer gave two different accounts of the incident, raising questions about the accuracy of his testimony. Brown said he suspected he had tailored his account to support the state’s case.When asked if celebrity justice influenced the court, Brown acknowledged there had been a lot of talk, but said none of it was true.Rhodes resumed his on-air duties in mid February. He has not selected where he will perform the community service, but Brown said Rhodes might work at an animal shelter.
(from SPTimes.com) - The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office will drop a driving under the influence charge against WTVT-Ch. 13 morning anchor Russell Rhodes, five months after he was stopped in a Channelside parking garage, his attorney said today. Rhodes, 50, was supposed to be tried today on charges tied to his Jan. 16 arrest. But the trial was continued until Wednesday because his attorney was awaiting transcripts from a previous hearing. Now, instead of going to trial, Rhodes will plead no contest on Wednesday to a misdemeanor obstruction charge, defense attorney Jeff Brown said. As part of the plea deal, Rhodes will serve 50 hours of community service. Adjudication will be withheld, meaning he will not have a conviction on his record. “The 50 hours of community service are appropriate based on the way he handled himself that night,” Brown said. “I think Russell has already acknowledged he didn’t handle it in the most professional manner.” Rhodes, who lives in Tampa, was arrested after an off-duty deputy stopped him in the public parking garage at Channelside on suspicion that he was driving under the influence. The deputy said the morning news anchor tried to walk away twice after being ordered to stay put and surrender his car keys. When the news anchor tried to run out of the garage, authorities said, the deputy took him to the ground and arrested him on a charge of obstructing or opposing an officer without violence. Rhodes’ jail mug shot showed severe injuries to his face. Authorities said he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.179 and 0.178, more than twice the limit at which Florida considers a driver to be impaired. However, a judge last week threw out blood evidence, saying it was improperly obtained. Earlier today, Brown said he was frustrated that prosecutors were not offering a reasonable plea given that they had no other evidence of Rhodes’ blood-alcohol level. The attorney called it “reverse celebrity justice.” Brown had kinder words after prosecutors agreed to drop the DUI charge. “Dropping the DUI is clearly the right thing to do,” he said. “I hope people don’t think he’s being treated differently than anybody else.”
(from SPTimes.com) – A Hillsborough judge has thrown out the blood evidence in the driving-under-the-influence case against WTVT-Ch. 13 morning anchor Russell Rhodes. That evidence showed that Rhodes had a blood-alcohol level of 0.179 and 0.178 ? more than twice the limit at which Florida considers a driver to be impaired ? after he was arrested at Channelside in January. The state will now have a difficult time proving Rhodes, 50, was impaired. Rhodes was not given a breath test. “This is the only evidence they have of the DUI,” said Jeff Brown, Rhodes’ attorney. “There’s no case here.” Rhodes, who lives in Tampa, was arrested Jan. 16 after an off-duty deputy stopped him in the public parking garage at Channelside on suspicion that he was driving under the influence. The deputy said the morning news anchor tried to walk away twice after being ordered to stay put and surrender his car keys. When Rhodes tried to run out of the garage, authorities said, the deputy took him to the ground and arrested him on a charge of obstructing or opposing an officer without violence. His face bruised and bloodied from the incident, Rhodes was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment. That’s where he signed a consent form to have his blood drawn as part of a DUI investigation. But Brown argued in court Tuesday that Hillsborough sheriff’s Deputy Shawn Morrey neglected to tell Rhodes that he was not required to sign the form. Rhodes gave consent under duress, Brown said. At the hearing, Morrey said he had informed Rhodes of his options. However, that testimony was at odds with statements the deputy made under oath in March, Brown said. County Judge Cheryl Thomas granted Rhodes’ motion to suppress the blood sample because his consent was not voluntary. The judge previously denied Rhodes’ request to toss out his arrest on the obstruction charge. The case is set to go to trial on Monday.