WMAQ says no current plans to replace Johnson

(Johnson and Releford)

WMAQ-5 says it will not be replacing recently deceased anchor Dick Johnson in the immediate future. Johnson, who was 66, died a week ago while on medical disability leave battling pulmonary fibrosis.

According to Robert Feder, Johnson’s co-anchor Michelle Releford, who has been anchoring weekends solo since Johnson took leave in March, will continue to do so. “No immediate plans to add a second anchor at this time,” Station Manager and VP of news Frank Whittaker, told Federer Sunday.

Releford, a Chicago native, graduated Whitney Young High School and the University of Connecticut. She joined WMAQ as a reporter and a fill-in news anchor in 2011. She became Johnson’s weekend co-anchor in 2017.

She made a heartbreaking post on Facebook, “My heart is broken. It’s hard to find words. Dick Johnson always had the words. He used his words so eloquently. He loved words, he loved journalism. He loved you. Our viewers. After 40 years in this business he never lost any of that love. In this day of “fake news” Dick Johnson was the real deal. A truth teller, he felt a responsibility to you and he honored that responsibility each and every day…”

ALSO READ: Dick Johnson, Chicago TV news anchor passes at 66

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SOURCE: Robert Feder