Would Dawn Stensland Return to Fox 29?
A day does not go by that I don’t hear the following phrases over and over again.
“Tell Dawn I miss her on TV.”
Or my favorite, “I love your wife.”
My wife is former Fox 29 and CBS3 anchor Dawn Stensland. Since I have been thrust into the role of Dawn’s press secretary (a job I am immensely qualified for), let me publish this statement that should answer all of your questions.[SIGNUP]
Dawn is happy.
I remember 10 years ago, when Dawn was anchoring at KYW and hosting CBS Saturday Morning, Gail Shister, famed television columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, asked Dawn about her goals: Would she rather be an anchor here in Philadelphia or a host of a national morning news program? Dawn answered without hesitation, “I want to be a Philadelphia housewife.”
She meant that.
Dawn would always envy the young moms with their baby strollers sitting at the Chestnut Hill Starbucks, just back from aerobics class, hair in a ponytail. Forget Katie Couric. Dawn envied the Starbucks moms.
Now with six-year-old Michael and three-year-old David to take care of, Dawn rarely gets to sit at Starbucks, but she is still living her dream.
Of course, the dream only happened after what would have been a nightmare for mere mortals.
First there was my well-documented fall from grace, and behind the scenes holding our family together, holding me together and shielding our two young children was Dawn. It helped that I was honest with her from day one. It helped more that she knew and lived through the reasons for my great mistake. It helped that she knew me better than anyone in the world.
She is the greatest advocate anyone could ever have.
Viewers saw Dawn’s strength every night as she anchored the news while my story played around her in a tabloid frenzy. Fox 29 would always button up their coverage of my story with a legalized statement of how they support Dawn, an acknowledgment of the sympathy and support the viewers were feeling for her.
Through it all, Dawn never flinched, never stumbled and, in fact, excelled.
A few months later Fox 29 let Dawn go. They didn’t even allow her to say goodbye. One night she was there. The next she was gone. I think they thought no one would notice. They were wrong.
If Dawn’s popularity and support grew during the coverage of my story, it was solidified with a passionate outrage at Fox’s handling of her dismissal.
It was at the beginning of the recession when unemployment and populist anger was on the rise. My wife, who had already been a loyal and smiling pretty face through her own adversity, became a symbol of the inner strength that thousands in our area had to tap into to weather their own storms.
I know this from the letters, Facebook posts, tweets and emails that Dawn still gets every day, especially from women who used Dawn’s example as they held their own family together through adversity. Those messages touch Dawn more than anyone can imagine.
But truthfully, Dawn was just being Dawn. As a newspaper reporter said to me one day, “I know there is no such thing as a perfect human being, but Dawn is pretty close. She is in a category all her own.”
And now there are rumblings that Fox is ready to make changes again, giving birth to a Facebook page titled “Tell Fox to Bring Back Dawn Stensland.”
I showed Dawn and she smiled and said, “That’s nice.”
Dawn loves the people at Fox and it would be a brilliant move on the part of Fox 29, but that is probably the reason they wouldn’t do it. No one from Fox has approached Dawn; to do so would be to admit a mistake and that is something TV executives just don’t do.
But I know Fox 29 has missed Dawn more than she has missed them.
She still reads at night, but to a much smaller audience. I wish you could see her reading a book to Michael and David before bed time. It is where she is meant to be, and she knows it.
So, to answer the daily questions: Dawn is doing great. I know you miss her on TV, but realize she is very happy where she is.
And I love her too.