WFLA's Rod Carter lands anchor job in Birmingham, Ala.

By Eric Deggans, Times TV/Media Critic
Published July 13, 2007

In seven years at WFLA-Ch. 8, Rod Carter has done everything from chasing breaking news stories in Tampa's streets to filling in as an anchor on the morning news. Now the 38-year-old Tallahassee native gets to focus on a single job, leaving WFLA to serve as morning and midday anchor for WTVM in Birmingham, Ala.

Carter leaves Tampa's NBC affiliate today, starting work July 23 in Birmingham, where he worked for years before coming to WFLA. And even though his bosses hated to see him go, they realized he might wait many years for a similar opportunity at the Tampa station, which features many tenured anchors.

"It's not a long line (to an anchor job) here, you're just standing in line for a long time," Carter quipped about hoping for a similar opportunity at WFLA, where anchors such as Bob Hite, Gayle Sierens and Bill Ratliff have worked longer than 25 years. "It's hard when you think about leaving a place you really like . . . Though I gladly threw my (hurricane) gear in the trash."

At least he's staying in the corporate family: Both WFLA and WTVM are owned by Richmond, Va.-based media company Media General.

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Tampa Fox affiliate WTVT-Ch. 13 this week named Mike McClain as its new vice president and news director, bringing him the Fox-owned affiliate in Birmingham, WBRC. McClain, a 27-year WBRC employee who worked his way up to news director from a photographer's job, begins work at WTVT Monday.

"He's a man of experience, a man of achievement (who) demonstrated great leadership in Birmingham," said WTVT general manager Bob Linger, who hired McClain to replace Phil Metlin, now at Fox-owned WTXF in Philadelphia. "(McClain) is the right guy to lead our news organization forward."