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Julie O'Neill explains her departure from WCPO-TV

Julie O'Neill posted this photo Tuesday on Facebook.
Courtesy Julie O'Neill
Julie O'Neill posted this photo Tuesday on Facebook.

Longtime morning co-anchor also thanks fans for their 'kind words of encouragement.'

Saying she is "overwhelmed and eternally blessed to receive such caring and love," former WCPO-TV news anchor Julie O'Neill thanked her fans for their support on Facebookafter her dismissal from the station last month after 27 years.

In her first comment since I broke the story last week,O'Neill explained that "the 'options' I was given upon being taken off the morning show involved only the remainder of my contract, expiring this year."

News Director Barry Fulmer told staff last week that "we made the decision to take her off the morning show as an anchor and spoke with her about a couple of different options moving forward." Jeff Brogan, WCPO-TV vice president and general manager, declined to say what options had been discussed with her, saying that "I can’t talk about specific personnel matters."

O'Neill's friends say she was told her contract would not be renewed when it expired at the end of the year and was given two options — either to work as a reporter through December, or to leave the station but continue to be paid through December.

"I would like to thank all of you who’ve reached out to me privately and publicly with such kind words of encouragement. I am overwhelmed and eternally blessed to receive such caring and love … and I am full of gratitude that my 27 years of work in this community is respected and has meant something to so many," she wrote on Facebook.

"My late father, 'Pastor Jack,' always reminded me that humility is the beginning of all wisdom. I’m doing my best to take that to heart … and 'keep the old ego out of it' as he would say … so I can make wise decisions for my family moving forward.

"PS. I’m excited to finally launch my speaking career, empowering people to become bold and crash through their comfort zones. (No time like the present, right?)"

WCPO-TV hired O'Neill in July 1995 from WSVN-TV in Miami, Fla. She was morning anchor in 2002 when replaced by Kathrine Nero, who moved from weekend sports anchor to mornings. O'Neill returned to anchor mornings when Nero was fired in 2018.She has also reported for WCPO-TV's investigative I-Team.

An accomplished singer, O'Neill studied vocal performance at Centenary College in her home state of Louisiana and music theater at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music before earning a broadcast journalism degree with a minor in music from Louisiana State University in 1992.

O'Neill anchored her last newscast Thursday, Sept. 8.

Brogan said last week that WCPO-TV has "started the recruiting process and we will look at internal and external candidates, like every other position we post."

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.