We just cracked a beer and toasted Fred Powers, the WGCL reporter who died after a long struggle with a rare form of cancer. Powers had just begun to gain some traction in the market with a signature schtick that nobody in Atlanta had tried before or has attempted since. This is from Rodney Ho’s December 2004 AJC story:
WGCL-TV reporter Fred Powers has been set on fire, bitten by dogs and hit by a Taser —- all in the name of news. No wonder he’s being dubbed the “human pinata” by TV wags.
“He is, without a doubt, the king of stunt reporters, ” said Mike James, editor of http://www.newsblues.com, a broadcast news Web site. “What he does is cool, but it’s not news.”
Or is it?
“They’re not just stunt stories, ” Powers countered. “We’re telling stories that have impact.”
Shortly after that article, Powers learned he had cancer. He last appeared on WGCL in March. He was on disability leave, but volunteered to help with coverage of the downtown tornado. WGCL broadcast excerpts in an obit Monday.
Though he’d gained some notoriety for his ratings-period live stunts, Powers was mostly a day-to-day general assignment reporter at WGCL. He covered news with a certain amount of intensity, and was a spirited and congenial competitor. And he had guts.
From WGCL’s web site: His memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church at 781 Peachtree Street.
The AJC has more on Powers’ life and his untimely passing. We offer our condolences to his family and colleagues.