For many years, the slogan of KWQC was "the station that cares for you."
And no one, former co-workers say, personified that like Doug Retherford.
"A continuous strength of Doug's was that he cared about each individual person and did whatever he needed to do to make sure they succeeded and that they were supported," said Cathie Whiteside, former KWQC station manager.
Retherford, who spent 15 years as news director of the top-rated TV station in the Quad-Cities, died Sunday in Davenport. He was 65.
Arrangements are pending at Runge Mortuary, Davenport.
A Kansas City, Kan., native, Retherford worked at stations in Joplin, Mo., Topeka, Kan., and Fort Smith, Ark., before arriving at KWQC in 1989. He was the station's news director for 15 years, then became its public affairs director for nearly a year.
He was later hired as news director for the Independent News Network, a formerly Davenport-based operation that produced local newscasts for as many as 13 stations nationwide.
Weeknight anchor Gary Metivier, one of many journalists hired by Retherford, said he brought a stability to the station.
"He was a strong leader who cared about the people he worked with and also cared about good, strong journalism," Metivier said. "His belief was, 'I surround myself with motivated, high-achieving people and then I let them do their job.' He was always there to help guide us along as well."
Metivier said Retherford also cared about the staff as individuals, making good on a promise to meet the incoming news anchor whenever he and his family rolled into town — even though Metivier called at 1 a.m. from the Flying J Truck Stop in northwest Davenport.
"On a personal level, he was very supportive and caring of us as individuals," said anchor Paula Sands, a 33-year veteran of the station. "He'd say, 'Give me eight good hours here at the station, then go home and have a life.'"
Metivier and Sands say the last time many of the staff members saw Retherford was in late September, at a going-away picnic for another longtime station employee.
Retherford also was a coordinator of the Mayors' Media Round Table on Diversity and Racial Equality, formed in the mid-1990s to ensure fairness in broadcast and print media coverage.
Whiteside said Retherford cared about both his employees and the station's viewers.
"For Doug and a lot of us in that era, it was all about the people," she said. "He made sure people knew he cared about them, and he wanted to give them the tools they needed to succeed but also make sure that they felt supported to do whatever they needed to do."