It’s tough business, losing a job.

Longtime local weatherman Terry Swails could have been bitter, given there was neither a warning nor an explanation for his being let go from WQAD-TV at the recent conclusion of his five-year contract.

But Swails was gracious.

Surrounded by about 100 of his supporters at a rally Wednesday outside the Moline studio of the ABC affiliate that snatched him up after he was let go from competitor KWQC, Swails offered thanks.

“I’m not going away,” he promised. “I just don’t know what I’m going to do.”

He then fetched boxes of the books he authored from his Storm Chaser SUV and began signing away.

“It’s my thank you for your support over the years,” he told his fans.

One such fan, John Miller of Muscatine, organized the rally. He said he met Swails at a book-signing several years ago and was taken by his approachability.

“He was packing up, and I was late, but he invited my son to sit and talk, and we became friends,” Miller said. “This event is not intended as a message to channel 8. It’s just to let him know we’ll follow him wherever he goes, including online (tswails.com).”

Swails’ wife, Carolyn Wettstone, said she hoped the rally would lift her husband’s spirits.

“Really, this is just supposed to let Terry end his 30 years on TV on a high note,” she said. “I hate to see it any other way.”

But at least one fan was not feeling as charitable toward his former employer.

“I’m upset,” said Annette Rainsford, who drove from LeClaire to show Swails her support. “This is the second time this has happened to him. We thought he was doing a great job at 8. Corporations don’t care about people at all.”

At least one corporation, WGN-TV, Chicago, sent a young messenger to the rally to deliver a gift for Swails.

Tucking the gifts into the back of his SUV, he remarked under his breath, “I’ll cry over this later.”

Then, picking up a book and a Sharpie, he turned to the man at the front of a line and said, “Thanks for your support. It’s Scott, isn’t it?”

Contact Barb Ickes at 563-383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com.

(21) comments

nursehippityhop

I don't know either Terry or Carolyn personally. I have always liked both of them on the air. I stopped watching KWQC when they let him go, and now I will stop watching WQAD. I won't give any channel ratings for those kind of practices. This is just my opinion, but since I am part of the market, my opinion counts as much as the next persons. GOOD LUCK TERRY! Cedar Rapids is a GREAT area! I spent 10 years in Kalona.

creeper
creeper

I wondered where Terry had gone. Like GEM, I think he was the best.

Strange that the station gave no reason for not renewing the contract of a popular personality.

I won't be watching WQAD news any longer. We have options.

surewhynot
surewhynot

Unfortunately, a five year contract is a five year contract. There was never a guarantee that it was going to be renewed, he knew this when he signed it. Sadly, the days of employers putting value on long term employees is long gone. I do hope he lands back on his feet as well as the other thousands of people that lost their job a couple weeks ago, too. Remember, todays home run does not count for today, in the work force.

BennieFergusen

Throw him a bone.
It's pathetic of him to make such a public outcry. He needs to move on now. The party is over.

Hawkeyegirl

I agree, too...without the sensationalism and drama so prevalent today.

ttdad

I like him.

LLG

Having worked for many years and television and radio, I can assure you that this is not an uncommon experience. Whether or not he is a good guy, I can't say. It doesn't matter. What I know for sure is that contracts expire, tastes change and people are released all the time. The reason could be anything from a desire to save money by getting rid of an expensive contract to simply looking for a different voice. The Quad City market is a starting ground for lots and lots of recent college grads. This is the place most of those folks begin a career and not end one - it doesn't pay very well and very few stick around more than a short while.

Billyboy56
Billyboy56

WGN SENDS DOWN A "YOUNG PERSONAL MESSENGER:?
LOL
I'M SURE CAROLINE AND TERRY PAID A LOCAL ACTOR TO DELIVER THE PACKAGE.
IT IS SO STAGED.
I'M SURE THIS WHOLE RALLY WAS TO GET RID OF THOSE BOOKS IN TERRY'S GARAGE.
IN SIX MONTHS, THEY WILL BE WORTHLESS.
THE ONLY FAMOUS SWAILS IS
THE "VIRGIN CONNIE SWAILS"" IN THE DRAGNET MOVIE

t34

Your responses seem awfully personal, Billyboy. Some personal problem with Terry and Carolyn? Oh, and typing in caps? Tacky, really tacky. It's like an elderly person shouting when they think nobody else can hear them.

Personally I'll miss Terry and his forecasts. Good luck in whatever he chooses to do.

SAJA55

Can't say I was a real fan, but the way he was let go is horrible........... Shame on WQAD

Billyboy56
Billyboy56

HE DIDN'T GET FIRED
HIS CONTRACT EXPIRED

HE KNEW IT WAS A FIVE YEAR CONTRACT
DID THE STORM SMEAR THE INK ON HIS COPY OF THE CONTRACT?

Steve1

Unless I'm terribly mistaken, the"... simple as pie..." description of American corporations is not totally dissimilar from the philosophy of Karl Marx. Interesting.

Klaatu
Klaatu

"Corporations don't care about people at all." Wow. Not true, they care about the most important people, the investors who provide the capital to start up. The investors and the customers are the be all-end all of a business. Then comes the employees, but their value is always shifting. You cannot place a single employee above the needs of the entire business. When your salary becomes too onerous, when a younger, more vibrant person can do your job cheaper and just as well, a change will happen. That is the nature of all business and it cannot be changed, otherwise the entire business will collapse and all the other employees and investors depending on the business for survival will suffer. It is as simple as pie, really. The function of a business is to provide a needed product or service AT A PROFIT. Without that, there can be no business, no jobs, no benefits.

Czechmate

The point that is being overlooked is that TS is nearly 60 yrs. old and was terminated from his contract by a corporation that is looking to the youth to boost their marker share. WGN can pay Cassie Kieter much less to do the weather and she is better looking!

Choose_Davenport

He should file an age discrimination suit if that's the case...

t34

Matter of opinion, Czechmate. I always found Terry to be just fine-looking.

Insight

Stupefied by the amount of print space this termination is taking up. News must be slow in the Quad cities. Folks get fired daily, he is one of thousands of people. It's interesting that he elected to go public tho, isn't it.

drpaddy

Now we can all move on and focus our time and energy on the other important issues facing our society...such as Kim & Kanye's new life together and Lindsey Lohan's next film.

Cheryl Lawrence

On point!

GEM

Wish I could have been there. His weather forecasts are always the most accurate.

t34

I agree, GEM.

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