A familiar face is leaving the Wichita TV airwaves.
KWCH-TV reporter Pilar Pedraza said that she and her employer were not able to come to terms on a new contract. Pedraza, who moved to Wichita in 2001 and had been with KWCH since 2012, said she turned in her equipment and said her goodbyes on Thursday.
The Michigan native said she doesn’t have any hard feelings toward KWCH and hopes to return to the broadcast news business at some point. Pedraza said part of the reason for the split is because she has found it difficult to carry around her television gear because of health concerns.
“I have some physical issues, including early-onset osteoarthritis,” Pedraza said over the phone on Thursday. “It got to the point where I couldn’t continue in the job I was doing. I’ve gone head-over-heels carrying gear three times in six months because I had a joint lock up. It just happened a couple of months ago.”
Pedraza said her heart is still in broadcast journalism and that she has no plans to leave the Wichita area. Because of a no-compete clause, however, she won’t be allowed, she said, to work for a competing television station for one year. Her TV beat included politics and education as well as breaking news.
“Pilar is a dedicated journalist and a hard worker. We wish her all the best in what comes next,” KWCH news director Brian Gregory said.
Pedraza made the announcement Thursday on her Twitter feed. Pedraza is a graduate of Iowa State University, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish, and worked her first full-time TV job in Iowa.
Pedraza, 42, has spent most of her professional life in broadcast journalism, though she did spend several years as a high school teacher in Andale.
“They would have to hire another photographer to keep me on as a reporter,” Pedraza said of KWCH. “I understand that. I don’t hold grudges. I would be interested in coming back if their situation changes in the future.”
Viewers will still get a chance to see Pedraza when she starts a new show called “Kansas Week” later this month on KPTS, though she said it’s a nonpaying gig. The show will air Fridays at 7:30 p.m. beginning June 23.