Popular KVLY anchor Michelle Turnberg on dismissal: 'I'm sure they had good reasons'
Michelle Turnberg's mood was a mix of shock, sadness and optimism after learning her days as part of Fargo's Valley News Live team were over.
"It was kind of sudden," Turnberg said Thursday. "Everything just kind of happened after the morning show today, and so then I was done, and, yeah, that was it."
"I didn't really have a chance to say goodbye to the viewers, which I feel bad about," Turnberg said, calling that fact "kind of hard."
A three-sentence statement posted Thursday on the website for Fargo television stations KVLY 11 and KXJB 4 informed viewers that the Valley Today and Noon news anchor was no longer with Valley News Live.
The website said, "We thank Michelle for her efforts and wish her well. The search for a new anchor is under way."
The statement does not give a reason for Turnberg's departure.
Asked why the decision was made, Turnberg said, "You know, I can't speak for them. It's broadcasting; it's a tough business. And times are tough, the economy. You know, I'm sure they had good reasons."
Turnberg said it was the station, and not her, that initiated her departure.
Turnberg's first job at KVLY-TV was answering phones for $5 an hour about 15 years ago.
As for her future, Turnberg said she has "several options I'm considering both locally and in the Midwest."
KVLY-KXJB General Manager Chris Sehring said company policy prevented him from commenting on employee matters, but he expressed appreciation for Turnberg's efforts and wished her well.
Dallas-based Hoak Media Corp. owns KVLY and operates KXJB, which is owned by Parker Broadcasting, also of Dallas. The stations share the Valley News Live news production operation.
News of Turnberg's departure follows veteran newsman Charley Johnson's May resignation as general manager of KVLY-KXJB-TV. Johnson cited personal reasons for leaving.
"I have a lot of reasons why it's a good time for me (to resign)," Johnson said in a Forum article in May, adding that it was a decision he had thought about for "quite some time."
In a phone interview Thursday, Johnson said there was no connection between his departure and that of Turnberg.
"I certainly wish (Turnberg) well," Johnson said. "She's a nice woman, and, whatever happened, I wish her well in her next endeavor."
Sehring assumed the role of general manager for KVLY-KXJB on May 13, a week after Johnson resigned. Before that, Sehring was general manager of KSFY-TV, the ABC affiliate in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Last year, Forum readers voted Michelle Turnberg the area's best TV anchor.
Turnberg, a native of Dawson, Minn., has earned numerous honors. She was named Outstanding Young Broadcaster by the North Dakota State Broadcasters Association in 2000 and earned the NDBA Best TV Anchor award from 2003 to 2005. She was a 2009 Emmy nominee and earned the 2006, 2007 and 2008 North Dakota Broadcaster's Teddy Award for Best TV Anchor in North Dakota.
Turnberg was also named Best Female Anchor-small market by the Internet company Newstalent.com.
"I think something good will happen," Turnberg said Thursday. "And, you know, (when) God closes a door, he opens a window."