For about a month now, KLFY TV10 anchor Chuck Huebner has been missing from the news desk, and the station’s only statement to viewers has consistently been that he has the night off. Sources close to the station, however, believe there is more to the story.
News Director Dwight Dugas, who tells the INDsider Huebner has taken “family leave,” says the veteran anchor will return to the airwaves Monday. “You don’t have to explain to folks why he’s out,” Dugas says, defending the station’s decision to keep its viewers in the dark.
Darla Montgomery, Huebner’s co-anchor at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., is on vacation this week and also returns Monday. Blue Rolfes has been filling in during their absence.
Huebner confirmed to the INDsider this morning that he did take family leave time, as well as a long-planned vacation to Belize.
What is known is that in the days before his departure, Huebner was sitting at the news desk when he accepted a cell phone call from the attorney of Lafayette bar owner Eric Cloutier, who faces a slew of charges including tax evasion, fraud and money laundering. Huebner informed the attorney he was on the air and asked the attorney if he wanted to make a comment, but the newscast abruptly ended, cutting to the open of Entertainment Tonight (see video below). Sources say station management was not happy about the incident, but Dugas maintains it had nothing to do with Huebner's leave.
“I’m not going to sit here and deal with rumors,” Dugas says.
For his part, Huebner says the incident “falls under the category of station management” and declined comment.
Local broadcast sources also say the veteran newsman has been extremely frustrated with the instability of the station’s staffing situation, including the number of inexperienced employees and ongoing management changes, all of which directly impact the news product. And, true to Huebner form, it's highly likely he has been confrontational with employees and management over his dissatisfaction.
Again, on speculation he is upset about the station's personnel situation, Huebner cited the category of “management issues,” declining to comment.
As a result of parent company Young Broadcasting’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Gray TV recently took over management of the local CBS affiliate. It’s unclear what, if any, changes might result from Gray’s takeover.