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Alan Pergament: WKBW news anchor Ashley Rowe exiting in June | Television

Four months after dropping the 11 pm newscast from her schedule to have more family time, WKBW-TV (Channel 7) news anchor Ashley Rowe announced she is leaving the station next month to spend more time with her infant daughter.

Rowe, who has been the co-anchor of the 5 and 6 pm weekday newscasts after dropping the 11 pm newscast, will have her last newscast on June 10.

Born in Los Angeles, Rowe was an anchor-reporter for CTV in Toronto before replacing Joanna Pasceri as the station’s top female anchor in 2016.

The hope was she would help get the EW Scripps station out of third place in the local news competition and make it more competitive with rivals WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) and WIVB-TV (Channel 4). It never happened, though it was hardly her fault. She and Jeff Russo make a strong anchor team. This is a TV news market that is very resistant to change. WKBW also has fewer veteran reporters on staff than its rivals.

Rowe’s life changed when she and her husband, Buffalo attorney Daniel Greene, welcomed a daughter, Phoebe, in mid-September. She returned from maternity leave in January, when she requested to be dropped from the 11 pm newscast.

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In an email to the staff, Rowe appeared open to eventually working somewhere after a period of evaluation.

She said her departure “was an immensely difficult decision, but one made easier by all the support I’ve received from WKBW leadership.”

“Last September, I learned that becoming a mom is, truly, the toughest and most rewarding job you can possibly take on. Now, I have an opportunity to step back and evaluate how I want to evolve professionally and personally, and spend a lot more time with Phoebe while I do that.”

“Ashley has decided to put family first,” WKBW General Manager Marc Jaromin said. “And while we will miss her leadership in the newsroom, and her journalistic drive, we support her decision 100%. Work-life balance matters.”

Rowe’s achievements included co-anchoring the 6 pm newscast that was awarded a 2019 New York State Emmy.

She also earned a New York State Broadcasters Award for her profile of Valentino Dixon, who was imprisoned for 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit.

Aaron Mason, the station’s senior director of news, also praised Rowe.

“This newsroom is better because of her dedication to this team, and our community has benefited from her in-depth and investigative reporting,” Mason wrote.

Hannah Buehler was moved into the 11 pm anchor slot after Rowe and Russo decided to have a better work-life balance. She also anchors the 5:30 and 7 pm newscasts and has filled in for Rowe at 6 pm when she has been on vacation.

But those are too many newscasts for one person to handle, so the station is expected to add a new anchor.

Jaromin also confirmed the upcoming exits of “AM Buffalo” co-host Melanie Camp and meteorologist Michelle McLeod, which were reported here Tuesday.

Camp, who has been here for two years, exits for an on-air job in Houston, which is a Top 10 market.

Jaromin said McLeod, who has been here three years, has taken a job in a larger market but declined to name it. Her last day for her is May 31.

“These are great opportunities for Mel and Michelle, which came because of the great work they did at our station,” Jaromin said. “We’re so proud of them and happy for their successes. They will always be part of our family.”

McLeod’s departure leaves the station down two members in the weather department. Andy Parker, who left the station in mid-February, hasn’t been replaced.

Mason wrote on the WKBW website that the station will add multiple staffers in the coming weeks and will expand its news team over the summer.

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