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Jill Becker, leaving 11Alive after 23 years, expresses gratitude, hopes she can keep it together on her final day Sept. 2

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Jill Becker's retirement

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On television news, leaving on your own terms seldom happens. The thirst for the spotlight is too intoxicating.

But 11Alive’s Jill Becker is choosing to retire and is not being shoved out the door. (She announced the move in January.) Her final day is Friday, Sept. 2. She has been a pillar at the station, a morning host at the NBC affiliate for 23 years. She has shared the desk with at least seven different co-hosts.

Ted Hall, who had been working evenings, takes over for her starting next week, working alongside Karyn Greer.

I spoke with Becker Wednesday.

Why she’s leaving: “I think I’m just exhausted. I’ve been on mornings here for 23 years. And I was on mornings before that on Channel 2 for a couple of years. It’s a long time.”

The emotional impact: “It didn’t really hit me until this week when the goodbyes started. It really brought it home. They’ve been running soundbites with some of my coworkers and former coworkers… I hope on Friday morning I can keep it together. I really do. I don’t want to go out sobbing. I want to keep it together, then fall apart after that.”

Why she chose mornings in the first place: “I had just had my first son. And I just felt it would work better with our schedule. So I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else in the world. Mornings were what I wanted to do all these years. I just think I hit some kind of wall.” [On nights before work, she went to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up at 2:30 a.m.]

Her philosophy in mornings: “If you think about turning on your TV in the morning, it better be with someone that’s pleasant enough. I read and edit all the copy. I have to be familiar with the stories so they make sense. That’s important to me. I think I’ve honestly tried to be very real. Sometimes people like it. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you have to take a risk. You want to be more real than you want. People have stuck with me on television for 30 years and they seem to think of me as a friend. And I’m very grateful for that.”

Her game plan post-WXIA: “I don’t have a game plan. I will take a couple of weeks and just sleep. Then I want to volunteer. I want to work with Cure Childhood Cancer. [Her son had T-Cell Lymphoma as a child but is now cancer free]. I want to do stuff with my church. I want to declutter.”

Working at a station that was never top dog: “I’ve always looked at it that there’s enough viewers for all of us to go around. I’ve always gotten the impression quite a few people watch. I’ve never been wildly competitive in that respect.”

On the daily talks with “The Today Show”: “It began in the early 1990s with Bryant Gumbel. At first, it was a little stilted. All they’d ever do is give a rundown and toss it back. Then I asked Bryant one day what he was making for Thanksgiving. That opened the doors. When Katie [Couric] came on, it got downright chatty. We got to know Matt [Lauer.] We got to know Meredith [Vieira]. We’d see them at shoots when they came to Atlanta. It really became more than an on-air relationship. We knew them off air. ”

On her replacement Ted Hall: “It’s going to be a seamless transition. He’s perfect for mornings. He’s got a wonderful personality. He’s very upbeat. I think he can adjust to the sleep schedule.”

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

65 comments Add your comment

AJ

September 1st, 2011
11:09 am

Is Ted Hall off of the nighttime news now? Why do they keep making changes?!?! I don’t watch 11Alive with any regularity, but I thought Ted and Brenda were coanchors at 11PM?

Male Jill Becker Admirer

September 1st, 2011
11:09 am

Jill Becker:

Still the hottest and most classy LADY on Atlanta television.

(Monica, take notes.)

The Rock

September 1st, 2011
12:07 pm

The Rock says “it’s time to put Suchita Vadlamani back on Atlanta TV!”

carla roqs

September 1st, 2011
12:14 pm

rodney, check your title and gratitude before the vultures catch it.

hks

September 1st, 2011
12:26 pm

Jill,
You will be missed. You were a sincere anchor with class…Always so plesant.

smithy

September 1st, 2011
12:54 pm

I don’t watch 11 alive hardly any more but do from time to time. I hate to hear that Ted Hall will not be on at night and still suprised that Brenda Wood is still there. Yes, Jill probably retiring rather than being let go. I hope Ted Hall will be able to enjoy his family more at night now. When I watched it was when he was on. Best to Ted in his new position. Now, I know I will not watch 11 Alive any more.

Jon

September 1st, 2011
12:55 pm

Rodney, you hit the nail on the head. The reason most of the anchors in Atlanta won’t retire is because they’re addicted to the limelight. Ms. Monica Pearson was supposed to retire in 2007 and she’s still fumbling through stories, mispronouncing words, and having trouble reading cue cards. Hopefully she’ll one day realize that her time has come and gone, and it’s time to replace her with someone who doesn’t look like Justin Farmer’s grandmother.

Jon

September 1st, 2011
1:06 pm

Hate to be the vulture, but 9th paragraph down, should be “have” instead of havea.

Frankfidy

September 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

Jill Becker personifies grace, style, class, intelligence and beauty. Congratulations on your retirement, mornings won’t be quite the same!

Sluggo

September 1st, 2011
1:12 pm

Always enjoyed watching you in the mornings. Enjoy your retirement. You’ve earned it. Tell them to bring back Randy’s sports update in the mornings.

William

September 1st, 2011
1:21 pm

There was a time, a time before cable, when the local anchorwoman reigned supreme, when people believed everything they heard on TV.

This was an age when only talented men and women were allowed to read the news.

And in ATLANTA, GA, one anchorwoman was more man than the rest.

Her name was Jill Becker!

She was like a goddess walking amongst mere mortals.
She had a voice that could make a wolverine purr, and suits so fine they made Sinatra
look like a hobo.

In other words, Jill Becker was the stuff.

jv

September 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

As many have commented, once they fired Paul Ossman, I am thru with 11 Alive. Jill,like Paul, is extremely talented and class act, I join in with all the others in wishing her well. I hope Brenda Wood, who also is a class act, can move somewhere else as well.

Katie

September 1st, 2011
1:24 pm

Prime Star?? you are an idiot and also inexcusably rude

IT'S TIME

September 1st, 2011
1:31 pm

Bring back SUCHITA to Atlanta Morning News!!!

IT'S TIME

September 1st, 2011
1:31 pm

It’s high time we get Suchita back on the morning news!! JUMP 11 Alive!

Murphy

September 1st, 2011
1:32 pm

Will miss seeing Jill in the morning. She is very much a professional – who also is able to bring warmth and sincerity to her work.

Jim Warren

September 1st, 2011
1:34 pm

I will miss you, Jill. You were as important to starting my day as coffee. No one wears jewel tones like you! And that turquoise jacket? Yeah, baby!

Jimmy from Marietta

September 1st, 2011
1:34 pm

Will miss her flirting with Matt Lauer. I like Ted Hall. He is definitely missed at night. Miss Paul Ossmon too. What is 11alive doing at night? I’m not feeling those changes so far.

Paul Ossman

September 1st, 2011
1:47 pm

Hey can I have her job? I will work for 1/2 of what you paid her.

4SoLong

September 1st, 2011
1:52 pm

Congrats and best wishes to a very classy lady.

Neil from S'burg

September 1st, 2011
1:55 pm

In a previous job, dealt with Jill several times, on camera and off. Always prepared, personable, and fair. For the past 15 or so years, our TV was almost always on 11alive, mainly because of Jill. Perfect morning personality. We’ll miss her…

mary J

September 1st, 2011
1:58 pm

Best of luck Jill. You have always been enjoyable, and knowledgeable. I’ve enjoyed all the years I’ve watched you and the different anchors. Enjoy retirement.

Ugh

September 1st, 2011
2:11 pm

Very sorry to see Jill go. Cannot stand Ted Hall or Jeff Hullinger – they’re like Ronald Reagan as news anchors. Gag me.

Tired of BS

September 1st, 2011
2:19 pm

Feel just like I did when Guy Sharpe retired.

Linda Q

September 1st, 2011
2:35 pm

First Meredith, now Jill. Just won’t be the same. Hope to see more of you in BR.

cw

September 1st, 2011
2:47 pm

Have watched Jill from the beginning. Used to go home at lunch and watch her on Noonday (Elise Wolfman was the day anchor). For a time Jill co-hosted Noonday with Steve, later of “Vickie & Steve”. I’ll miss her terribly, as I turn on the tv at 5:30 am on weekdays. I remember when she took a long leave of absence when her son had his health issues.

Good luck to you young lady, and hope you have a wonderful retirement.

Today show fan

September 1st, 2011
2:49 pm

Enjoy your retirement, you’ve earned it! I’ve really enjoyed your interaction with the Today show hosts. It has been a pleasure to watch you each morning all these years. Cheers!

Sammy

September 1st, 2011
2:52 pm

Jill who?????????

Coffee County GA Fan

September 1st, 2011
2:54 pm

Class act all the way around and we will miss her.

Brian J

September 1st, 2011
3:00 pm

Good luck Jill!!! You will be sincerely missed but hopefully you will thoroughly enjoy retirement. You deserve it!

wonderfulnews

September 1st, 2011
3:07 pm

Sorry to see Jill go, but things has to change. Monica is a very CLASSY WOMAN! She doesnt’t have to take notes. U take notes.

Kristen

September 1st, 2011
3:08 pm

Jill will be missed. In this modern world of bleached and botoxed beauties, it’s nice to watch a classy lady who feels more like talking to a good neighbor about the morning scoop. Happy retirement Jill!

godoggo

September 1st, 2011
3:16 pm

MEGA Ditto’s to comments below…….and she is just as wonderful, kind, and gracious when i see her at Publix ! I started watching Jill when i first moved to Atlanta 25 years ago…….she’s family.

“You” hold many qualities most people strive to achieve and be Jill…….im sure you’ll be the same after 11alive : )

—————————
William

September 1st, 2011
1:21 pm

There was a time, a time before cable, when the local anchorwoman reigned supreme, when people believed everything they heard on TV.

This was an age when only talented men and women were allowed to read the news.

And in ATLANTA, GA, one anchorwoman was more man than the rest.

Her name was Jill Becker!

She was like a goddess walking amongst mere mortals.
She had a voice that could make a wolverine purr, and suits so fine they made Sinatra
look like a hobo.

In other words, Jill Becker was the stuff.
——————

Can i get an Amen ?

Angela

September 1st, 2011
3:21 pm

I will miss Jill in the morning as well. I think that she and Karen worked very well together. I know that she will enjoy her retirement. She has earned it. She can do what she wants to do when she wants to do it. GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU!!

Ellen N

September 1st, 2011
3:23 pm

Jill will definitely be missed. I’ve been in Atlanta since 1987 and believe she started at 11 Alive shortly after that. She’s always been a big part of my morning routine. So sorry to see her go but I’m sure she’s ready to sleep in after all these years. The best of luck to you Jill and throw that alarm clock out the window!!!

Jaine

September 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

Jill will be missed…I remember when she was on 2 – and I understand she has done a great job for 11. Glad she chose to go instead of waiting to get treated poorly like Paul Ossman. I’ll be surprised if 11 has any viewers to count after tomorrow. They’ve really messed themselves up. I also can’t believe someone took this opportunity – a time to wish Jill Becker well – to bash Monica Kaufman. Good grief people. Channel 2 is first class all the way – say what you will – Monica Kaufman and Channel 2 get it right – every day! Good luck and enjoy your retirement – and your sleep! Jill Becker.

Alicia

September 1st, 2011
3:28 pm

. Jill always brought sunshine to us in our mornings.

Jai

September 1st, 2011
3:32 pm

Happy Retirement Jill.

Jolene

September 1st, 2011
3:56 pm

I like Jeff Hullinger and Ted Hall.
And I LIKE the changes at 11Alive

CiCi

September 1st, 2011
4:00 pm

I’ll miss her. Happy retirement Jill.

What happened to Jim Becile, the traffic guy?

Corgador

September 1st, 2011
4:09 pm

@CiCi,

The news witch at 11 decided to let him go. They’ve apparently got some fool on there that can’t figure out the difference between Spaghetti Junction and the Connector. And heaven help the moron with his sense of direction, because from what I’ve heard he has none. I stopped watching 11 when they let Paul go.

Justin Case

September 1st, 2011
4:18 pm

Jill say it’s not so!!! You are a class act, I’ve had a crush on you for all 23 years. Your smile made the worst mornings a little easier to take. Enjoy your new adventures!

Apostrophe Jones

September 1st, 2011
4:22 pm

Sorry to see Jill go , but happy for her .

Always pleasant . Always excellent .

Clearly a good person .

1badman

September 1st, 2011
4:22 pm

Good luck Jill;enjoy your retirement, and you can sleep a little later now

Apostrophe Jones

September 1st, 2011
4:27 pm

I go back to the days of Guy Sharpe , Jim Axel , Leroy Powell , Tom Brokaw when he was in Atlanta , Johnny Beckman , Coach Friday ,etc. All legends , just like Jill .

CiCi

September 1st, 2011
5:06 pm

Thanks Corgador… I noticed the new traffic guy couldn’t pronounce Holcomb Bridge correctly. Tell me they didn’t get someone new to the area to do traffic?? lol!

JillLover

September 1st, 2011
5:25 pm

Goodbye Jill, you are one hot classy lady.

Ol'Broad

September 1st, 2011
6:39 pm

Best of luck to Jill Becker!! But with Ted Hall going to mornings & after getting rid of Paul for the weather I am giving up on 11 Alive and going to Channel 2.

Bryan

September 1st, 2011
8:02 pm

When Suchita left Channel 5 I returned to 11Alive and found the person I used to wake with in the mornings. I’ve been watching and thinking about how strange it will be without Jill, to me it’s almost like watching your mom do the news.

Inman Park Boy

September 2nd, 2011
11:52 am

Ave atque vale!