NEWS- Channel change: Duffy lands at the other station

Managers at Gray Television's Charlottesville Newsplex are practically giddy with their latest hire, NBC29's popular former morning news anchor, Beth Duffy.

And while non-compete clauses typically prevent on-air newscasters from going to another station in the same market, Duffy's move into sales neatly sidesteps that no-no.

"We're all very thrilled," says Charlottesville Newsplex general manager Roger Burchett. "She's obviously a high-profile person very respected in this town. She was wanting to start a new career, and this is a field she knows about."

Duffy, who told the Hook she was weary of nine years of a 2am wake-up calls and 6pm bedtimes, signed off NBC29 March 2. She was off the air all of three days when she ran into Gray's general sales manager, Jim McCabe, at the Last Ball at UHall March 5.

"This all happened over the last week," says Duffy. She'd been looking at a sales job in pharmaceuticals when she crossed paths with McCabe. "Now I won't have to travel, and I get to stay in the area. I'm so excited about it. It gives me the hours I was looking for."

Duffy stresses that she won't be on the air. "It's strictly sales" in an industry she understands, she says. In earlier careers, she did sales with Wachovia Bank and she's worked in retail.

And Duffy is crossing her fingers that her former coworkers at NBC29 won't be too miffed at her joining the competition. "I'm hoping it's going to be a good feeling," says the seven-year NBC veteran. "While I was there, I gave it everything. I still have lifelong friends there."

The Hook was unable to get anyone at NBC29 to comment about Duffy's new gig, but she's totally jazzed about working for a start-up. "They're new, they're excited about starting from the ground up," she says.

The love fest goes both ways. "She hadn't been in here two or three hours, and you could feel the positive aura," beams Burchett. "I'm just tickled to death she's here."

For Duffy, the new career brings the best of fringe benefits: a new bedtime. "To be able to stay up past 6 o'clock," she sighs.

Beth Duffy is no longer reporting the news– she's marketing it for the new CBS, ABC, and Fox stations.