This time, it is for real. Channel 4 anchor-reporter Mylous Hairston will be returning to work on Sept. 14, which is about a month after he originally said he would be back after suffering a heart attack on June 30.
Hairston said his doctors thought the August return date was premature and that he needed more time to avoid stress.
"They said I need to realize I had a heart attack," said Hairston. "I had to slow down for once."
Hairston also will be returning to the negotiating table as the president of the Buffalo chapter of the union that represents the station's on-air talent, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). It has been in contract talks for almost a year with representatives of Channel 4's owner, LIN TV.
Ironically enough, one of the major sticking points is health care. Hairston said LIN wants AFTRA members to have one health insurance provider, United Health Care, that doesn't have a major presence in Western New York.
He added that Kaleida Health and the Buffalo Medical Group do not accept United, which would require many Channel 4 staffers to pay costly out-of-network co-pays or change doctors.
If United had been Hairston's carrier during his medical crisis, he said would have had to file bankruptcy because he wouldn't have been able to afford the medical bills.
Health care isn't the only issue. Hairston said LIN also wants its anchors and reporters to shoot their own video on stories -- essentially becoming backpack journalists.
-- Alan Pergament