Jill Becker, a fixture in the Atlanta TV market for three decades, announced today that she’s going to retire in August when her contract is up.
“It was a surprise to the staff,” said news director Ellen Crooke. “She’s the heart of our morning news team. She will be very hard to replace.”
By giving seven months notice, Becker is giving 11 Alive plenty of time to find a replacement.
“After more than two decades, I am leaving a news team and a news show that I truly love,” Becker said in a press release. “I am however, looking forward to volunteering and to catching up on 30 years of sleep!”
In an interview later in the day, she said she had been thinking about retirement the past year but only recently told management. She wants to work more with Cure Childhood Cancer, a charity group. (She has a son who had T-Cell Lymphoma at age three. He is now 23 and cancer free.)
“I’m so incredibly grateful that I’ve had this long a run,” she said. “I don’t think people in television expect this type of run in one city.”
She’s worked side by side with several male anchors over the years, including Keith Whitney, Clarence Reynolds, Chuck Moore, Ken Watts, Dennis Douda and even Wes Sarginson for a brief time. Her current co-host is, for the first time, a woman: Karyn Greer.
According to her bio on the WXIA-TV website, she hails from St. Louis and graduated with a bachelor’s degree on mass communications at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She began her TV career in Jacksonville, Fla. then moved to Little Rock, Ark. before coming to Atlanta in 1981 to work for Channel 2 Action News. She joined 11 Alive in 1988.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog