WPTY dismisses Gaston
By Ron Higgins, Commercial Appeal
August 2, 2007
Greg Gaston, a sports anchor at WPTY-TV (Channel 24) since the station started a news department 12 years ago, has been fired.
Gaston, 45, who did his final telecasts on WPTY and WLMT (Channel 30) on Tuesday, confirmed that the station decided not to renew his contract.
"They told me last week it was a business decision, and I have no reason to believe otherwise," Gaston said. "We had a good parting of the ways."
Jim Turpin, the station's news director, did not return phone calls.
The stations were among those purchased in April by Providence Equity Partners of Providence, R.I., which agreed to buy all the TV stations owned by Clear Channel Communications and operate them under Newport Television LLC, a newly formed holding company.
Gaston also said WPTY gave him the option of continuing to host University of Memphis basketball coach John Calipari's weekly highlight show, as well the limited number of UofM basketball games televised by the stations. If Gaston finds a job with another station, however, that clause will be removed.
Gaston said his other job, as a co-host with Eli Savoie of a daily talk show on WHBQ-AM (560) 11 a.m.-1 p.m., will continue, as well as freelance work that Gaston does.
"I'm very proud of the work we did," said Gaston of his time at WPTY. "Our goal was to make the sports department the best part of the telecast, and I think we did."
Gaston's bio has already been removed from the station's Web site, which also lists 12 job openings, including 11 full-time spots. The only sports reporter remaining on the Web site is Rob Petrone, who did a video tribute to Gaston that's on the Web site (abc24.com).
"I guess I'm now a free agent," Gaston said. "I'd like to stay in Memphis at least for one more year until my daughter graduates from high school."
-- Ron Higgins: 529-2525