WXYZ's Gilchrist to retire at year's end
Mon, October 01, 2007 by Mark Kroeger
CINCINNATI - Grace Gilchrist, who has guided WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, to its perennial status as Detroit's leading television news organization, has announced that she plans to retire by the end of the year.
Gilchrist's retirement will cap a long and successful career in television station management and advertising sales. She has served as vice president and general manager of WXYZ for 13 years, earning the distinction as the station's longest serving chief executive.
WXYZ is owned and operated by The E. W. Scripps Company. Gilchrist notified Scripps in June of her intention to retire by year's end.
"Grace Gilchrist has been a powerful force at WXYZ," said Bill Peterson, senior vice president of the Scripps Television Station Group. "She is a strong leader who has made an indelible mark on the Detroit community and who has galvanized WXYZ's status as the market's news leader. We're proud of her many accomplishments, sorry to see her go and wish her the very best in retirement."
Gilchrist, 60, joined WXYZ in 1986 as general sales manager. Inducted recently into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Gilchrist has been credited with building the award-wining news team at WXYZ, which is Detroit's ABC affiliate.
During her tenure the station, with its expanded health, consumer and investigative coverage, has won 12 local Emmy awards for editorials and community service. The station also has been awarded the Alfred I. DuPont Award from Columbia University, the George Foster Peabody Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, honors from the Investigative Reporters & Editors organization and the National Association of Broadcasters Service to America Award in 2005.
"Working at WXYZ-TV for the last 20 years is a dream come true for a kid who grew up watching this station," said Gilchrist. "I have had remarkable experiences and I leave Channel 7 with bittersweet feelings. This decision is one that I did not come to easily, leaving the wonderful people here at the station and within Scripps who have become so much a part of my life will be difficult. But I feel the time is right and I am now looking forward to enjoying the next chapter of my life with my husband and our family. This station is enjoying great success and with strong leadership in place I have confidence they will continue our 60-year legacy of excellence. It's been a great ride."
During her first year as general manager, Gilchrist accepted the National Headliner Award for Public Service on the station's behalf for organizing a community effort to help the Society of St. Vincent de Paul recover from a massive fire that destroyed its central warehouse just before Christmas 1995.
More recently, Gilchrist has helped guide technological innovations at WXYZ, including overseeing the station's conversion to high definition broadcast and development of its market-leading Web site, WXYZ.com.
Gilchrist's community service includes her role as media chair of the United Way campaign, and board membership on the National Council of Community and Justice, Detroit 300 and the Riverfront Conservancy.
She also is a past president of the Adcraft Club of Detroit and was the first woman president of the national Television Bureau of Advertising.
Gilchrist began her career as a media buyer at two Detroit advertising agencies. She also worked as a local sales manager and general sales manager at WSB-TV in Atlanta, before returning to Detroit, which is her hometown.
Gilchrist will assist Scripps in the company's search for her successor.
The E. W. Scripps Company (www.scripps.com) is a diverse and growing media enterprise with interests in national cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, interactive media, and licensing and syndication.
The company's portfolio of media properties includes: Scripps Networks, with such brands as HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country; daily and community newspapers in 17 markets and the Washington-based Scripps Media Center, home to the Scripps Howard News Service; 10 broadcast TV stations, including six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent; Scripps Interactive Media, including leading online search and comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch; and United Media, a leading worldwide licensing and syndication company that is the home of PEANUTS, DILBERT and approximately 150 other features and comics.