WDIV’s Lauren Podell resigns amid controversy

The Detroit News

WDIV-TV reporter Lauren Podell has resigned from the station, officials there announced Wednesday, a day after a news conference in which Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle and the Rev. W.J. Rideout called for an apology from the station, saying Podell allegedly using a racial slur while off-air this year.

Reached Wednesday night, Marla Drutz, vice president and general manager of WDIV, said: “This is a personnel manner and as such, other than confirming her resignation, we have no comment.”

In an email to employees earlier Wednesday, Drutz said Podell’s resignation was effective immediately.

Podell did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday.

She has courted controversy before. During a November 2013 morning news broadcast, she dropped an F-bomb live on-air when struggling with a piece of equipment while reporting from a Lapeer fire.

Riddle and others plan to demonstrate Thursday at WDIV offices in downtown Detroit to denounce what he calls “systematic racism that flourishes in mainstream media” in Metro Detroit.

In the email to Ch. 4 staff Wednesday, Drutz wrote that Podell asked her to share a message: “During my time at WDIV I have created many friendships that I will continue to cherish.”

She joined the station as a traffic reporter in December 2007 while an Oakland University student, according to Detroit News archives.

According to a Ch. 4 biography that appears to have been removed from the website, she filled in as weekend anchor desk and was the only reporter invited to cover the funeral for slain West Bloomfield Police Officer Patrick O’Rourke.

In May, she filled in for her father, Doug “Doc of Rock” Podell, on classic rock station WCSX-FM while the DJ was on vacation.