WCAX’s Parsons to retire this summer

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(Host) One of Vermont’s best known news broadcasters plans to retire at the end of the summer.

WCAX’s Marselis Parsons will step down as news director at Channel Three in June. And he’ll sign off as anchor of the evening news a few months later.

VPR’s Ross Sneyd has more.

(Sneyd) For a quarter of a century, Parsons has been the face and voice of Vermont’s dominant television news operation.

But when he recorded an update for the WCAX Web site, he was reporting on news he himself had made.

(Newscast) "And today Channel 3 News announced that Anson Tebbetts will take over as news director when I retire this summer. Darren Perron will replace me on the anchor desk this fall. Those are some of the top stories on WCAXtra."

(Sneyd) Parsons has played many roles at Channel Three over the 42 years … reporter, producer, anchor, news director. He has chronicled everything from the death of a governor to the bicentennial of the state.

But he says he’s ready to move on, spend time on his boat, travel.

(Parsons) "This has been planned for a while. I’m going to be 65 this fall and it was time to start thinking about doing other things. Not that I haven’t enjoyed this. It’s been 25 years just as news director, 42 years at the station."

(Sneyd) Journalism is in Parsons’ blood, though, and he doesn’t think he’ll be completely giving it up. He looks at the microphone in front of him and says he’ll be looking for stories to tell.

(Parsons) "I may go out and do what you’re doing. Going out, talking to people. The technology has improved so much that we’ve almost come full circle. When I first came here in ’67 we went out with cameras on our shoulders and talked to people and did stories. You can do that now with small, less expensive, electronic digital cameras. And I’ll probably be reporting from the Upper Valley.”

(Sneyd) Parsons has a family home in the region.

When he signs off for the last time on the evening news, he’ll be replaced as anchor by Darren Perron, a Channel Three reporter for the past 15 years.

Next month, Parsons will be replaced as news director by Anson Tebbetts, a former Channel Three reporter who left a couple of years ago to become deputy state agriculture secretary.

Tebbetts says he’s looking forward to returning to WCAX. And Tebbetts says he’s not concerned about making the transition back to covering the news from an administration that he just served.

(Tebbetts) "Agriculture is pretty nonpartisan place. It’s not a place where you’re really in the dogfights politically or anything like that, so I think it’s going to be a pretty smooth transition. And I don’t think people have any worries about that."

(Sneyd) Tebbetts says he doesn’t expect any big changes when he takes over the news operation at WCAX. And he says he plans to report some stories himself once he settles in.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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