Special to Community Newspapers by Gary Nelson
WFOR main anchor Rudabeh Shahbazi’s parting from the CBS station in South Florida was not sweet sorrow. It was not even bitter sweet.
Shahbazi, who had three months remaining on her contract with CBS, was told she was not allowed to return to the station in Doral after informing CBS management that she had landed a “national reporting/anchor” position with a not yet disclosed network.
Shahbazi, WFOR’s main evening and 11 p.m. anchor for five years, informed her friends and co-workers of her departure via text, after WFOR took down her page on its website and deleted her CBS email account.
“I had planned to stay through my contract end date,” Shahbazi wrote in her message to co-workers. Shahbazi said the three months would allow the station time to recruit her replacement and permit a smooth transition to a new face on the main anchor desk, as well as permitting her to bid a grateful farewell to her viewers and colleagues.
WFOR General Manager and Vice-President, Adam Levy, would not hear of it, Shahbazi said.
“Adam inexplicably blindsided me on my vacation day and informed me BY EMAIL that I was not welcome back and that they were ending my contract that day,” Shahbazi said.
Shahbazi confirmed to Community Newspapers that her departure from WFOR was an unpleasant one, not of her choosing.
“Right now I am concentrating on moving forward in the new position, which I am very excited about,” Shahbazi said. “I am so blessed to have worked at WFOR with such talented, kind, hardworking, amazing people.”
Shahbazi also thanked the community and her viewers for her experiences and acceptance in Miami. She was active in multiple community projects, and known for her recurring series, Mentoring Matters, in which she chronicled those who have given of themselves to motivate and encourage young people in South Florida.
“Please know that this is not how I wanted my departure to occur,” Shahbazi said.
WFOR’s General Manager, Adam Levy, and News Director, Liz Roldan, did not return multiple voicemail, text and email requests for comment.
Editor’s Note: Gary Nelson is a broadcast journalist of 49 years, who resigned from WFOR after reporting for the station since 1992.