BUFFALO -- Former WIXT reporter Mylous Hairston is generating plenty of headlines in Buffalo. After 20 years at CBS affiliate WIVB-TV, Hairston suddenly walked off the job last week, complaining of working conditions "in the media field." And this week, there's word he could be in the running for a spokesman job at Buffalo City Hall.
Hairston joined WIVB in 1990, after having worked at ABC affiliate WIXT in Syracuse and NBC affiliate WETM in Elmira.
According to the Buffalo News, Hairston left WIVB last Thursday without any warning. In addition to his duties for the station, Hairston is also president of the WIVB chapter of the American Federaion of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the union which represents employees of the LIN Media-owned station. Hairston says the last union contract expired in 2008 and talks had been going on -- without a deal -- ever since.
Hairston told the newspaper "people are struggling at times to maintain the quality" of the station's news product in the wake of shrinking staff numbers. A colleague told the paper she wasn't surprised at Hairston's decision to walk out, explaining "it's not the same business as when he and I started 25 years ago, being asked to do more with less and compromising the quality of our product."
Hairston told the newspaper he was forced to work as a one-man-band the day before he quit. The video "never made air," he said, explaining that it's a skill set he hasn't had to use since 1989 at WETM.
In another report from the Buffalo News on Tuesday, Mayor Byron W. Brown confirmed that his administration is considering hiring Hairston as a spokesman for City Hall. The newspaper said Brown "stressed" that a decision hasn't been made, nor is there any timeline for an announcement. When the paper asked Hairston for his side of the story, he said the conversation focused mostly on Hairston's departure from WIVB.
Hairston's reportedly "exploring numerous options" but hasn't said what those options are. But you can rule out WIVB competitors WGRZ and WKBW -- in the earlier report, Hairston told the Buffalo News he's done with television.
A tip of the hat to Joe Picciotto -- we learned of Hairston's departure from WIVB when Joe mentioned it in a post on the Syracuse Press Club group on LinkedIn.