Fired News Director Worried WADL Management Would Make Him ‘Disappear’

By Andrew Gauthier 

Hired as news director at WADL, Matt Stevens took extra precautions when meeting with station management on the day he was terminated because he feared he “might never be seen again.”

In a recent post on his personal blog, Stevens provides a detailed account of his dealings with WADL, the station’s temporary president Kevin O’Brien, the station’s owner Kevin Adell, and the station’s GM Matt Uhl.

In a series of events recently publicized by station press releases, WADL fired O’Brien and then fired Stevens.

Stevens says he was so concerned about his safety on the day of his termination that he had his wife secretly videotape his meeting with station management, “just in case they decided to recreate the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.”

The blog post gives a blow-by-blow account of how Stevens went from being WADL’s news director of the future to fearing for his safety. Here are some highlights…

On his past relationship with Kevin O’Brien:

I had worked for three months at WLNE-TV6 in Providence–as a favor to then station GM Steve Doerr (with whom I had worked in Philly and Cleveland) –when O’Brien owned WLNE. In fact, however, I had never met Kevin O’Brien or spoken with him. I had never even seen him.

On hearing of O’Brien’s firing:

I called the GM to ask if O’Brien’s firing would have any effect on my job. He assured me that he had no idea… I asked the GM point blank if I was still employed. All he could tell me was that he didn’t know anything except that he still had his job.

On hearing of his firing:

I got into the company car and drove to Detroit. My wife followed in her vehicle. During the three-hour trip, I spoke with the GM several times. He remained vague at the outset about what was to occur when I arrived. Finally, he did admit that “this isn’t going to work” –as far as my employment as News Director was concerned. So, I finally had confirmed that I had been fired– something I’m sure the GM and others had known for days. Why was I the last to know?

On being fired on his “first day of work” (as WADL’s press release stated):

Actually, that day was not a “day of work” at all. It was an off day. My first “day of work” had occurred many days earlier. If not, then WADL is in the habit of issuing company cars and security badges complete with photos and department head titles to people who are not employed there.

[Full post here] [h/t NewsBlues]