Robin Huebner returns to the air at WDAY-TV; will also write for The Forum
After nine months off the air, longtime area TV news anchor Robin Huebner will return to the local news market Monday on former competitor WDAY-TV and in a new print venture with The Forum.
Huebner resigned from Valley News Live last October after 26 years with KXJB/KVLY.
Her move to the 5 p.m. co-anchor position at WDAY puts her in direct competition with Valley News Live anchor Stephanie Goetz, a 27-year-old former WDAY weekend anchor who replaced Huebner at 10 p.m. on Valley News Live and also anchors at 5 p.m.
Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon said Huebner will spend the majority of her day at the newspaper, working on a feature that is tentatively titled, "Robin Huebner Reports."
"Robin will draw upon her more than 25 years in journalism and her experience as a mother, wife and active community member to ask good questions and get to the bottom of relevant issues," Von Pinnon said in an email to staff.
Huebner wrote much of the TV news she reported and has written for magazines in the past.
"It'll be different, but I hope I can do a good job with it, I really do," Huebner said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to trying something different because it's not going to be real traditional newspaper-style reporting."
A run date for Huebner's first story has not yet been established, but she will begin co-anchoring WDAY's 5 p.m. newscast Monday.
"We are excited to have Robin join our team. The Forum and WDAY have worked together over the years, but Robin is one of the first people to truly split her time between the two newsrooms," said Forum Publisher Bill Marcil Jr.
Fifty-year-old Huebner - a Dickinson, N.D., native and Hall of Fame gymnast - began her television career in Grand Forks. In 1990, she began anchoring KVLY's 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. She was named the area's best Local TV Anchor in 2008 and 2011.
On Oct. 17, she resigned from Valley News Live, two months after being moved out of the prime 10 p.m. slot in favor of Goetz. Her lawyer said at the time that she was forced out because of age and gender bias, claims the station manager denied.
She later filed a federal lawsuit against Hoak Media - the Texas-based parent company of KVLY/KXJB - claiming gender and age discrimination. The lawsuit is still pending.
Huebner said she was planning to leave the media industry entirely, never imagining she would end up working for former competitors.
"I just want to go in there and do a good job," she said.
Valley News Live News Director Griff Potter said it is unlikely the 5 p.m. competition will deeply affect viewership.
"We always liked Robin and we wish her the best," Potter said. "People watch the news to get the news, not to see a personality."
Jeff Nelson, WDAY news director, said the addition of Huebner is exciting.
"Anytime you can add someone with Robin's experience and reputation around town, it can only enhance our product and make it better," he said.
Nelson said Huebner may fill in for other anchors at times, but the station's current lineup will not change, including 10 p.m. anchors Dana Mogck and Kerstin Kealy.
After WDAY's Tuesday announcement of Huebner's return, viewers took to social media in a wave of support for the move.
Daron Selvig, a former Valley News Live anchor and longtime co-worker, said a return to the anchor chair puts Huebner "right where she should be."
"She is really born to do this kind of work. She has a real heart for that and a real inclination to go the extra mile," Selvig said. "I think this is a real win for viewers."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530