There’s a change coming to the C-suite at Chicago’s NBC Tower.
David Doebler announced today he plans to retire as president and general manager of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 at the end of June. Both stations are units of Comcast NBCUniversal.
Doebler, 59, told employees in an email he’s voluntarily stepping down to spend time with his wife, Susan.
“I’m lucky to say that I’ve had a blast for nearly four decades doing what I love,” he wrote. “But there are many things me and my wife Susan have on our bucket list so I will be retiring after the close of the May book. It’s the right time for us and we could not be more excited.”
Doebler, who succeeded Larry Wert as president and general manager of NBC 5 in 2013, was named to the additional position of president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago in 2016.
On his watch, NBC 5 increased its news audience shares and beat or tied ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 multiple times in key adult demographics at 10 p.m. Doebler also oversaw the retirement of sports anchor Mike Adamle and the return of news anchor Stefan Holt, among other personnel moves.
A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, he previously spent eight years as president and general manager of WVIT, the NBC-owned station in Hartford, Connecticut. Earlier in his career Doebler held management positions at NBC stations in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Birmingham, Alabama.
Here is the text of Doebler’s email to employees:
It was over 36 years ago when I walked into WCAU in Philadelphia, right out of college and excited to start my career in broadcasting. With in-company roles to follow in Raleigh, Birmingham, Hartford and Chicago, I could not be more proud of the teams and people I have worked with along the way.
They say time flies when you’re having fun. I’m lucky to say that I’ve had a blast for nearly four decades doing what I love. But there are many things me and my wife Susan have on our bucket list so I will be retiring after the close of the May book. It’s the right time for us and we could not be more excited.
The last eight years in Chicago have been fantastic. You have continued to amaze me with your work with the Investigative, Responds and Responde units and the Community Action Board and Making a Difference efforts. Last year was hard on everyone but your resilience, commitment to continuing your coverage and your respect for your co-coworkers to keep each other safe will always be a fond memory for me.
I am very proud to have been a part of our great company and a very special division. Thanks to the support we’ve received from Valari [Staab] and her team and coupled with your hard work, our communities can count on two strong news teams to be their first informers for years to come. You can bet that I will be cheering you on and wishing you all the successes that you deserve.
I will remain in my role through June to help in my transition, so I will not say goodbye just yet. I look forward to the next few months with you and to hopefully ‘thank you’ in person for all of your hard work.
Thank you all and God bless.
Monday’s comment of the day: Tim Stevens: We’ll see what happens with Channel 7’s news ratings if there’s some backlash over the handling of Giangreco here. But news viewers’ habits change very slowly. Go ask all the capable former news and station managers and talent who tried to move the ratings needle against them and couldn’t, and they’ll tell you. They have an extremely strong brand in this market whether or not it’s to anyone’s particular taste.