September 29, 2013

Popular TV journalist turns job loss into opportunity

After being let go by WMTW, Shannon Moss hears from viewers that she is missed and decides to produce her own show.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Shannon Moss received hundreds of supportive comments after she was dismissed from her morning anchor job at WMTW in June.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Shannon Moss interviews Police Chief Michael Sauschuck at Holy Donut in Portland for her self-produced local TV show.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

NEW LOCAL SHOW

WHAT: "Split Screen with Shannon Moss" is a new half-hour interview show hosted and produced by longtime Portland TV reporter and anchor Shannon Moss. Moss is also selling advertising and paying stations to air it.

WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday on WPME (Channel 35); 11:30 a.m. Oct. 6 on WPXT (Channel 51); 10:30 p.m. Oct. 6 on WPME; and online at Shannonmoss.com

WHAT ELSE: The show will air three times a week, and there will be new episodes twice a month.

After spending most of her sons' lives going to bed early and working from about 3 a.m. to noon, she doesn't take being with them lightly.

"I feel blessed to wake up each morning and be able to make my boys breakfast, pack their lunches and get them on the bus," Moss said. "I spent time with them before, but I was always exhausted."

In that way, Moss' forced departure from WMTW -- which station officials won't comment on -- has turned out to be a good thing for her.

"I think the schedule was wearing her down," said Moss' husband, Andy Hagerty, a Portland police officer who works nights. "She's a new person now."

Moss likes to do things outdoors with her kids. One favorite activity is crab catching. They go to the beach in Falmouth, fill a net with hot dogs as bait, and lower the net in the water until it's covered with crabs. Then they arrange crab races on the sand before returning the crabs to their homes.

"That's hours of entertainment right there," said Moss.

REMEMBER PEOPLE'S NAMES

Moss grew up in Warwick, R.I., with a father who was a district manager for Merck pharmaceuticals and who impressed upon her the importance of looking at people when they talked, and being able to "remember people's names."

At the age of 9 or 10 she created her own newspaper, Neighborhood News, featuring stories, birthday announcements and a comic strip drawn by Moss.

In school she read morning announcements over the intercom and was a hurdler on the track team.

At a career day in 8th grade she heard a talk by Doug White, a Rhode Island newscaster, and knew what she wanted to do.

"I really liked the idea of being able to get out and talk to people," she said. "His job just seemed really different than other jobs."

After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in journalism, she got a job working off camera at the same Providence station as White. Then she worked on camera at a station in Wausau, Wis., before landing a reporter job at WCSH in 1999.

At WCSH, Moss' willingness to talk to anyone and try anything led to the job of reporter -- or guinea pig -- in a news segment called "Get Out Alive." The spots were designed to give people tips on escaping dangerous situations, while watching Moss crawl through a burning building or trying to extricate herself from a car quickly sinking into water.

"She can be off the wall, but she's a very good journalist and true to herself, and that comes across on camera," said Bill Green, a 40-year Maine TV news veteran and a colleague of Moss' at WCSH.

Moss said she enjoyed the "Get Out Alive" segments, even though they drew criticism from some as being unnecessarily dramatic.

One tense moment happened during the car sinking segment, when Moss had trouble using a center punch tool meant to break the window glass, and emergency workers had to pull her from the car.

"I was in a survival suit, with an air mask, so I was fine," she said. "But I just had so many (safety) things I was holding on to I couldn't get my hand on the center punch."

It was through her job at WCSH that she met her husband. One day around 4 a.m. she was called to do a report on an explosion at a dry cleaner's shop in Falmouth. Hagerty, then working for the Falmouth police, was at the scene. A few days later, Hagerty sent Moss flowers and asked her out.

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Additional Photos

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Moss walks from the school bus with her sons, Quinn and Rowen Hagerty. Having more time with them has been a benefit of leaving her TV station job.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Moss says her naturally curly hair caused a stir when she debuted on television in Portland. After she straightened it in 2007, she says, “the hate mail about my hair stopped.”

2003 file photo

 


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