Why Is Maria Stephanos Leaving WFXT?

By Mark Joyella 

It did not go unnoticed by Boston media that longtime WFXT anchor Maria Stephanos announced she was leaving the Fox affiliate just a day before her final newscast, which is set for tonight. “It will definitely be a loss. She’s the heart and soul of that station,” an industry observer told the Boston Herald. “That news operation was built around her.”

Why leave now? Stephanos has said little other than expressions of gratitude for her colleagues and viewers. But her husband, Dale, led some to suspect conflict with station owner Cox Media Group may have played a role when he wrote on Facebook: “It’s so rare to find people with real integrity these days. Harder still to find people like that in the media. I’m so proud and happy for my wife today. This took a lot of guts.”

Dale Stephanos, however, has since explained his remark about “people with real integrity,” saying the comment was not a dig at Cox. “In fact I was referring to Maria’s 18 years of solid journalism, humanity, and genuine affection for those she worked with and for.”


Stephanos’ departure will be the biggest in a series of changes impacting WFXT since Cox took over last year. As The Herald notes, many veterans have left and new faces have arrived:

Since taking the helm, Cox has hired a bevy of new reporters and invested in new equipment. But unlike the previous management, which had a practice of hiring 
local talent, many of the recent hires have come from out of state or other Cox-owned stations, sources said.

The new owners want shorter stories and more of them. They also want to boost the number of stories in communities with the highest number of meters that track TV ratings, sources said.