As a public figure, one must be aware that anything and everything will eventually make it’s way into the public spotlight. Quite often, these are the career-damaging items that could torpedo any chance of resuming a normal life and a steady job. When you know there’s a problem, address it. Get it out in the media, or at the very least in a forum and manner you know will be picked up by the local and national media eventually Know that what you write to co-workers will more than likely leak to the public. Address it. Get out in front of it. The damage will be far less than trying to hide the facts.
WGN’s Suppelsa to enter alcohol rehab
Anchor expected to return to air in June
WGN-Ch. 9 evening news anchor Mark Suppelsa was off the air Friday night after he announced he will enter a monthlong alcohol recovery program.
In a letter to colleagues and posted on the WGN website, Suppelsa displayed unusual candor in explaining his need to address a hidden alcohol abuse problem.
“Simply put, I have been abusing alcohol at the end of my work day as my family slept,” Suppelsa said. “It was my secret, and I became very accomplished at hiding it. I do my best to function at a high level and I know that it is my responsibility to correct anything that potentially interferes with my family or my work.”
Suppelsa will check into Minnesota’s Hazelden addiction treatment center and plans to return to the air in June. WGN is owned by Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co.
While the announcement caught many colleagues by surprise, station management expressed support for his move to seek help.
“We are supportive of Mark’s efforts to deal with this issue and look forward to his return,” Marty Wilke, WGN vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “We, and he, appreciate the support from our viewers.”
Suppelsa joined WGN in 2008, and he co-anchors two evening newscasts each weekday. During his absence, rotating anchors will fill in alongside Lourdes Duarte at 5 p.m. and Micah Materre at 9 p.m., according to a station spokeswoman. Tom Negovan will co-anchor the 9 p.m. broadcast Friday, which also will include an explanation of Suppelsa’s leave to get treatment.
Prior to joining WGN, Suppelsa, who also has contributed to reporting at the Tribune, spent five years at WFLD-Ch. 32, where he anchored Fox News Chicago at Nine. Before that he spent 10 years at WMAQ-Ch. 5 as an anchor and reporter. Suppelsa has a degree in broadcast journalism from Marquette University.
— Robert Channick, Tribune reporter