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An about-face for Fogarty as she returns to WCCB

By Mark Washburn
TV/Radio Writer
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Morgan Fogarty, the high-profile Charlotte news anchor who left WCCB (Channel 18) in July for a career with the upstart Al Jazeera America network, will be back in her old seat this month.

Fogarty, who has a 1-year-old son, said Monday that “the idea of going to New York, the news capital of the world, seemed like the right thing to do, but in the final analysis my husband, Jeremy, and I came to the conclusion quickly that there was a lot to be said for a good life in Charlotte, a great place to raise a family.”

In a statement, she added, “The opportunity to re-unite with my colleagues at WCCB was simply more important to us than being a network anchor in New York.”

Jim White, WCCB’s station manager, said Fogarty will return to Charlotte on Tuesday and will be back on the station’s 10 p.m. news broadcast with Christine Noel and Kirk Hawkins soon. It will be the first time the station has used three anchors for the newscast since it was launched in 2000.

“You never know in your career what the next step is going to look like,” White said. “In this case, Morgan went up and saw what it was and decided local is where she wanted to be. She called me and said, ‘I think I want to come home.’ ”

WCCB and Fogarty started talking about a return in August after Al Jazeera agreed to let her out of her contract.

Principal anchor job

Fogarty, 32, had been in New York and had gone through rehearsals for the new network. In July, Al Jazeera America announced that she would be one of the principal anchors on the network, which launched in August. But Fogarty never appeared on air, nor on Al Jazeera America’s web service.

Staffers at the Charlotte CW affiliate were told about her return on Monday afternoon.

“Morgan was a terrific contributor to the success of WCCB news, and the station in general over the course of her previous eight years as both an anchor and as a reporter and we look forward to her return to our team and resuming her role as a key news department leader,” news director Angela Robbins said in a statement.

Al Jazeera America is a spinoff of the Doha, Qatar-based news service controlled by the Emir of Qatar. Al Jazeera Media Network operates Arabic and English-language international news channels and websites. “Al Jazeera” translates from Arabic as “the island,” referring to the Arabian Peninsula.

Cable and satellite availability in the United States is spotty because many providers have declined to pick up the network except in areas with high Arab populations like Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. Time Warner Cable, the region’s dominant carrier, declined to pick up the news station, but other major providers, including Dish, DirecTV, Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, have reached deals to carry it.

Looked forward to job

In an interview after leaving Charlotte, Fogarty praised Al Jazeera for its hard-news approach, a contrast to the celebrity-friendly coverage that WCCB often offers on both its newscasts and on its nightly magazine, “WCCB News Edge,” which she used to co-anchor.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of a brand new network and to deliver in-depth, fact-based news to an American audience that’s being inundated by stories about Justin Bieber,” Fogarty said at the time.

“Al Jazeera within the world of journalism and journalists is well-respected and held in high regard. When the opportunity came up, it was something I didn’t second-guess or question,” she said.

Fogarty came to Charlotte in 2005 from WHAG, the NBC affiliate in Hagerstown, Md. She started on WCCB’s morning show, then moved up in 2007 to co-host “Edge” with Christopher Frederick, better known as radio’s Brotha Fred. In 2011, she moved up to permanent duty on the 10 p.m. anchor news desk.

Washburn: 704-358-5007.
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