Today, we update you on people and places from the recent past and decades ago. Here, former local television news anchors Jerry Slabe and Marta Carreira-Slabe.
As the telegenic WCIA-TV husband-wife anchor team, Jerry Slabe and Marta Carreira-Slabe were among the most popular broadcasters in central Illinois.
Then NEXSTAR Broadcasting bought the family-owned station in 1999. The corporation revised the couple's generous contracts — they included perks like country club dues and clothing allowances and for Slabe, Illini football and basketball tickets, an SUV, TV, VCR, camcorder, computer and cellphone.
NEXSTAR also upped the couple's work hours. The newscasters refused to accept them; NEXSTAR placed them on administrative leave and in early 2000 stopped paying them. The couple filed suit. After a protracted legal battle, a state appellate court in '05 reversed the lower court's decision for NEXSTAR and sent the case back to Champaign County for a determination of damages for the former anchors. In '08 a judge awarded them $365,000.
After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law, the Cuban-born Carreira-Slabe — a Bronze Tablet UI alum — landed a position as chief counsel for the insurance brokerage firm Aon Latin America in Chicago. A fluent speaker of Spanish, she travels often to Latin America on business.
The latest we have on Slabe: He's a stay-at-home father for their three children, and he volunteers at their schools. A few years ago, he auditioned to be a Chicago Cubs announcer. His audition tape is on YouTube at bit.ly/1dPQ8C3.
What they're saying ...
This from Dave Shaul, news director at WCIA from 1980 to '99: "It was a tough time for all of us there because when the new company came in they wanted to make changes. They wanted to reduce some of the staffing and some of the salaries. For me it was very tough because it was like losing family. Obviously, both Jerry and Marta were very talented and had a great following."