So did you jump or were you pushed?
“That’s a good question,” replies Stacey Simms, who has made a career out of asking them.
“It was my decision. It wasn’t an easy one to make, but it’s the right decision for me.”
For a decade, Simms has been part of the team at “Charlotte’s Morning News” on WBT-AM (1110). Her alarm has been set for 3 a.m. all those years.
It worked well when her children were young. But her daughter is now 11 and her son is 7.
“As they’re getting older, it’s not working out. I can’t ask my middle-schooler to go to bed at 7:30 at night. Believe me, I’ve tried,” she says. Her husband, Slade Goldstein, is a partner in Rotelli restaurant at Carmel Road and N.C. 51.
Simms, 41, came to Charlotte in 1997 as an anchor and health reporter at WBTV (Channel 3) from upstate New York. She’d worked in radio in college at Syracuse University and went to work in TV afterward, mostly morning jobs.
She began doing medical reports for WBT while at Channel 3 and would fill in on the morning news with Al Gardner. She had fun, and when invited to do it full-time in 2002, she jumped at it.
She’s had some health problems that kept her out much of the summer, but she says she’s recovered now. Her latest contract expired in September and she’s been working on a month-to-month basis since.
Simms has seen a lot of changes at WBT in her decade there. Owned for decades by Jefferson Pilot and Lincoln Financial, it was sold in 2007 for $100 million at a top-of-the-market price to Greater Media, a Massachusetts-based broadcaster, along with sister station WLNK-FM (107.9).
Since then, most of the longtime department heads have departed, and Simms wound up as the station’s only full-time, on-air female.
“There’s a more corporate feel to the station, but that’s the way of the whole industry,” says Simms. “That’s what you have to do to survive.”
Simms says she’ll miss WBT and the morning news show, where she’s partnered with Bo Thompson and Jim Szoke. “I think it’s the best job in Charlotte – a heritage station and a really smart, well-educated audience.”
She’ll be signing off Dec. 14, then shutting off the alarm. She doesn’t know what her next act will be, but she wants to see what appeals.
“I’m going to find the right opportunity. This isn’t about rushing off to the next gig.”
News 14 Carolina celebrates its 10th anniversary this week. Among the staffers who have been there since its launch are chief meteorologist Jeff Crum, sports director Mike Solarte, meteorologist Tara Lane and news director Jim Newman. Departing News 14 after five years is evening anchor Heather Waliga. She is taking an anchor job at WTVD in Raleigh.
“Romare Bearden’s Centennial Celebration,” a second documentary on the Charlotte-born artist from Steve Crump, airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on WTVI (Channel 42). ABC’s “Good Morning America” weekend hosts Dan Harris, Bianna Golodryga, Ron Claiborne and Ginger Zee were at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week to tape driving segments that begin airing Saturday.