WATERLOO - Chris Carter is trying hard to find the silver lining in the snow cloud currently hanging over his head.
At the end of this year Carter, a 16-year KWWL veteran, will anchor his final Channel 7 newscast. He was told Thanksgiving week that his contract would not be renewed.
So far, the only good he can find in this announcement is that he will finally be able to return to a somewhat normal sleep schedule.
"I dream of that. I've been waking up for years and years with my alarm going off at 2:35," Carter said. "Every day is like the first day. I'm not a morning person. I just play one on TV. I'm a night owl. I prefer to go to bed when I am waking up."
Kim Leer, the station manger, was not available for comment Thursday. Carter has seen job postings that indicate the station is attempting to fill the morning anchor slot.
Carter worked 10 years as an anchor in Reno, Nev., and Santa Rosa, Calif., before coming to Waterloo. He started his career right where he will end it, anchoring the morning news. But back then, Carter said, the morning news lasted just an hour and the noon news was only 30 minutes. He transferred to the noon and 5 p.m. news, which he co-anchored with Liz Mathis, and then went back to the morning show when the format expanded to two hours beginning at 5 a.m. and a full hour at noon.
"I'll miss the opportunity of coming into so many viewers' homes each morning and at noon," Carter said. "It's been an honor and true pleasure helping to keep eastern Iowans informed and even amused for so long. I'll miss it."
Tara Thomas, Carter's morning co-anchor for five years, said he was an entertaining co-worker and supportive friend.
"Chris has a way with words and wit few possess," she said. "He will be missed by many who shared loads of coffee with him for years."
Ron Steele, the KWWL evening news co-anchor, agreed.
"He is very funny, very astute in picking up people's mannerisms and knowing how to respond to that during on-air interviews," Steele said. "... He has done great things for this station."
Carter said covering the floods and tornadoes of 2008 will forever stand out as one of the most important stories he worked on. But, it was his 1995 visits to 22 counties in 22 days as part of the "Neighborhood News" series that will serve as a constant reminder of just how important his work was.
"It was like the traveling road show, but it gave me the opportunity to visit places that many people who have lived in Northeast Iowa their entire lives had never seen before," he said.
But, instead of trying to find another television news job, Carter said he would remain in the Cedar Valley and search for work in other media areas.
"Leaving the area is not an option for me," he said. Carter has two daughters and he also moved his ailing father from California to the Cedar Valley to be near his grandchildren. "This is our home."