Former Pa. anchor publishes book documenting her ex-husband’s legal woes involving teens
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
Former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre anchor Marisa Burke has finally published a book about how her life was thrown into turmoil following her now ex-husband’s actions involving alcohol and inappropriate contact with minors.
Burke started at WNEP in 1984 and rose to become a top anchor, producer and reporter at the station before accepting a buyout offer in 2016.
Her now ex-husband, Mark Kandel, is serving as 14 and a half year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to online enticement of a minor. Much of this was allegedly done via his mobile phone, which inspired the title of Burke’s book, “Just Checking Scores.”
She spoke about the book and her experience with WBRE, the NBC affiliate in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market owned by Nexstar — a station that was once her competitor.
A search of the WNEP website does not surface any stories about the new book, though it’s not clear if it was covered on air at all.
Her husband had his first run in with the law in 2008 when Kandel, a former educator, was accused of providing alcohol to a minor at a house party held when Burke was out of town.
Burke stood by Kandel at the time, believing the accusations were drummed up because of her being a well known public figure. Kandel ended up losing his job and serving 90 days of house arrest for the allegations.
In 2012, the bigger accusations came out — Kandel had been accused of sending thousands of sexually suggestive messages to underage boys.
In the book, Burke discusses a wide range of topics, including how she handled the situation, including admitting she may have had a “blind eye” to what was going on for the sake of her marriage and children.
She also delves into how WNEP handled the situation. She thought the station would fire her multiple times, but she ultimate kept her job, albeit with some modifications made to her duties while Kandel’s case was in the news, until she accepted the buyout years later.
WNEP has been a longtime powerhouse station for ABC, at one time holding the honor of being the highest rated local newscast in the country. It frequently outperformed WBRE and WYOU’s newscasts’ combined viewership, the latter of which is owned by Mission Broadcasting but run by Nexstar through a shared services agreement.
At WNEP, Burke served a variety of roles, including primary anchor for Newswatch 16 at 6 and 11 p.m. as well as producing and anchoring the noon newscast.
Burke had risen to become one of the most recognized faces on local TV in the market, along with former chief meteorologist Tom Clark, who accepted a buyout around the same time as Burke.
It was believed the two were some of the highest paid TV personalities in the market — and Burke acknowledges she was paid “six figures.” She also has said she was paid a full year’s salary plus benefits for leaving the station.
After leaving, she started Marisa Burke Communications and announced plans for the book, but its publication was delayed until now.