Dagmar Midcap, the popular weather reader on CBS affiliate WGCL-TV, turned in her notice with the TV station this morning.
Her bosses weren’t there so she’s not sure when her last day will be. Reached Friday afternoon, Steve Schwaid, WGCL-TV news director, said she is still under contract and had no other comment.
Midcap, who arrived at WGCL in 2007, said the death of her boyfriend, who took his own life in July 2009, precipitated this departure. (For respect for the family, she requested we not release his name.)
She has been meeting with a grief counselor and therapists to grapple with her loss. She has nightmares and has been unable to sleep soundly. She said she takes medication and sleep aids.
“I can’t keep doing that,” she said. “It’s starting to affect me on the air. I can’t think on the air.”
She said she also may have some stress-related vocal cord damage she’s worried might be permanent.
“Doctors told me my body is breaking down,” she said in an emotional interview at the Silver Skillet in Midtown Friday just minutes after she had handed in her resignation. “I can’t stay here. It’s too difficult for me to move forward.”
She said WGCL has been a wonderful opportunity, but she said she can’t cope with being in the city where she fell in love, where everything reminds her of her late boyfriend.
In March 31, 2008, just a year after arriving at the station, she signed a four-year contract through 2012. (She said the station wanted her to stay five.) The station and viewers embraced her. After moving her to evenings, management plastered her face on billboards.
“My job has been to make people happy,” she said. The notes she’s gotten, from the 100-year-old man to the 20-year-old woman, say “I gave them joy at the end of the day, a smile. That was my job.” After his death, “it was difficult to find that joy.”
She said she has been negotiating the past few months to get out of her contract early but had been unable to come up with a date both sides could mutually agree on.
Midcap met her boyfriend in 2007 soon after she arrived. He was a neighbor. They fell in love almost immediately. Their first date was Martinis & Imax at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. They visited Stone Mountain Park, a favorite spot for him.
“We were inseparable,” she said. “He was everything to me. He was my best friend.”
But she sensed his fragility and tried to open up his world. They traveled to Charleston, S.C., Asheville, N.C., Seaside, Fla, and the North Georgia mountains. She bought a home just outside Decatur in hopes he would join her.
The last time she saw him, she said, he had arrived at her home, flowers and an apple pie from Whole Foods in hand. He apologized to her for his negativity and promised they’d always be together. “I thought he was making a breakthrough,” she said. “I didn’t understand what he was really saying.”
Midcap found out about his death July 2009, during the 4 p.m. newscast in her news director’s office. She collapsed in shock. She stayed off air for 11 days.
Coming back, she said, was incredibly difficult. But she put on a happy face and viewers hardly noticed until six months later. “I had one bad night. I wasn’t as perky. I was on the verge of tears on the air,” she said.
Colleagues, though, noticed her withdrawn behavior off air. She’d sometimes cry at her desk, she said.
Two weeks ago, she visited R. Thomas, a restaurant she and her boyfriend enjoyed. It was an attempt to try to get past the pain, she said. Instead, she got sick.
She isn’t sure what her plans are next. She said she has no job in hand and isn’t sure where she is going, though the West Coast is likely. She had worked in Los Angeles and her hometown of Vancouver before coming to Atlanta.
“I have no manager,” she said. “I’ve got nothing.”
Later, in a moment of humor, she added, “I may be picking grapefruits out there. But I’ll do what I need to do that’s right for me. I have to take my health into account.”
One thing she knows she’ll do is work with animals. “They have no malice,” she said, her face lighting up momentarily. “They need our help. They do what they do.”
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