Thursday, May 3, 2007

WPEC news director quits job to join Peace Corps

By MELISSA E. HOLSMAN
melissa.holsman@scripps.comPosted at 1:26 p.m. May 3, 2007
Steve Hunsicker, executive news director for WPEC and WFLX Fox 29, surprised just about everyone in local TV news by announcing that he's resigning his job to become a Peace Corps volunteer — in the South Pacific. "I'm going to be a business advisor there and I am just thrilled," said Hunsicker, 47, who joined WPEC in 2003, but has been with the station's parent company, Freedom Broadcasting, Inc., since 1992.

His last day at WPEC is May 11. The move, he said, fulfills a lifelong dream he's kept on hold while racking up 23 years as a successful TV news executive.

"I finally just said it's time," said Hunsicker, who began the Peace Corps application process in September. He said he opted not to tell the staff at the CBS affiliate until he knew for sure he'd been accepted. "I didn't even tell my parents for about a month," he noted.

And it'll be another month before he learns which of the six South Pacific countries served by the Peace Corps he'll be assigned to. "I'll be working to help either individuals or perhaps a small business, come up with good business practices and educate them about ways to grow their business," he said.

Initially, he'll undergo three months of in-country training to learn the language and become familiar with the country's customs. "Then you learn where you'll be living," he said.
He endured three months of medical screenings and background checks before learning he'd been accepted as a volunteer.
"I had to actually sign a statement that I wasn't applying to work in the CIA, which I thought was kind of bizarre," he recalled.

He said he plans to keep his West Palm Beach home, will pack his dog off to his parents and has enlisted his sister's help to watch over things while he's gone.
"I'm a little nervous," he said. "I'm giving up a career and income to go do this but I feel that I'm not getting any younger and it seemed like the right time to do it and when I got the official word, I was just absolutely thrilled."

Meanwhile, he said WPEC management will launch a search for his replacement.

Story courtesy of and copyrighted by Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers

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