Larry Blunt, one of WLOS-TV Channel 13’s main anchors since 2005, was abruptly laid off on Wednesday, according to numerous sources. He was called into his manager’s office following a video shoot and unceremoniously told that his position had been eliminated, according to reports.
Blunt has been a sober, down-home television news reader and reporter since arriving in Asheville from KCNC-TV in Denver, where he worked as a reporter and anchor. He anchors the prime time local news at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. alongside stalwart Darcel Grimes. He’s also known for his “Person of the Week” pieces, those honest, feel-g00d profiles about local do-gooders.
Prior to coming to Asheville, Blunt worked for a television new station in Greenville, S.C. He’s won numerous awards, including Emmy’s, for his work.
In a Wednesday Facebook post, Blunt wrote, “Today I was told my position has been eliminated at WLOS and that Sinclair Broadcasting is doing so at all of it’s stations. I was assured I had done nothing wrong.” He promised his fans that, “I won’t lose you.”
Blunt’s wife, Jan, a public relations specialist who worked as spokeswoman of Buncombe County Schools for five years, wrote in a Facebook post that her husband was summoned after videoing his latest “Person of the Week” feature. The reduction in force was vaguely explained, she said, while asking for “thoughts and prayers” from viewers.
Grimes, who has been absent from the anchor desk of late, has apparently been battling a health issue. The beloved anchorwoman is heading into her 36th year on the air with WLOS.
Blunt’s anchor leaves a significant hole in a key spot as WLOS heads into its annual “sweeps” period of ratings measurements. More as I get it.
WLOS, an ABC-affiliated station owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, is one of the largest TV stations in the country. The station is ranked in the top 40 of the nation’s largest television markets (with the market described as Greenville and Spartanburg, S.C., and Asheville), with more than 845,000 households with televisions that can get the station.
Here’s Larry’s full FB post:
When I last posted a message to you it was goodbye to 2016. Now, less than a week in 2017 it’s just, goodbye, at least for now. Today I was told my position has been eliminated at WLOS and that Sinclair Broadcasting is doing so at all of it’s stations. I was assured I had done nothing wrong. Jan and I have some thinking, planning and praying to do. I have people at Ch. 13 that I love and that will never change. I won’t lose you. And for so many of you in the community that I’ve had the privilege to meet, get to know, share your story and to be touched by your life, you have made my life better. — Larry
Here’s Jan’s full FB post:
So there’s this. After returning from a video shoot for his “Person of the Week” series today, Larry was called into the General Manager’s office and told that Sinclair Broadcasting has “eliminated his position.” He was told the company’s stations are also eliminating positions, though he wasn’t told how many, or which positions. An email went out to all station staff this afternoon wishing Larry the best, so between that and the lack of his presence on-air, the news will travel fast. We’re okay, still in shock, and will have a lot of decisions to make pretty quickly. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.
Here’s more about Larry Blunt, from his online bio:
His career has led to memorable encounters with a man the FBI named the “Reputed Mafia Boss” in Kansas City, a business fronting for the Church of Scientology and prominent national stories such as the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine H.S. massacre, F-5 tornado destruction killing dozens of people in Oklahoma in 1999 and the Susan Smith murder trial in SC. But lately there’s another dimension of Larry’s work that has impacted viewers with heartfelt stories. Every Friday his “Person of the Week” features those who inspire and make a difference in their communities.
His work has been honored with dozens of state, regional and national awards including EMMY’s, National Headliner, Society of Professional Journalists, Radio Television News Directors Association and Associated Press.
He’s also been inducted into the “Silver Circle”, one of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences [NATAS] Southeast Chapter’s most prestigious awards, honoring a lifetime of achievement and dedication to the television industry.
Outside of journalism, Larry has volunteered for “Meals on Wheels” delivering to shut-ins, the “Muscular Dystrophy Assoc.” and Co-hosts the annual “Friends of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park” Telethon and “Asheville Christmas Parade”.
He is frequently called on to speak and emcee community events.
In his personal life, Larry and his wife Jan have four (grown) children. He’s also a U.S. Navy Veteran, graduate of Purdue University at Fort Wayne and is a federally and tribally recognized member of the Cherokee Nation. He’s happy to now be living near the Eastern Band of Cherokee and in Asheville, but as a fourth generation Oklahoman he will always be proud to be an “Okie From Muskogee” (for those who remember the song!)