In the past, I’ve rated Cleveland’s morning news shows, weather forecasters, and the stations’ web sites. But it’s time to get down to business and talk about the best news anchors in town. It’s a short list, divided mostly between two stations, WKYC Channel 3, and WJW Fox 8. Viewers may think that news anchors are only as good as the copy they are given and their ability to read a teleprompter, but it is more that that. There has to be a certain “something” that an anchor has in order to keep viewers tuned in. After all, the news content is the virtually the same for every channel.
Cleveland’s Best News Anchor - P.M.
Romona Robinson, WKYC Channel 3
I started writing this blog yesterday – in my head – as I was tuned in to the 6:00 PM news, watching Romona Robinson. I found myself wondering what must be going through her head, sitting up there doing the news all by herself, since Tim White left the station. In fact, it stuck in my mind so much I had a dream last night that Romona was complaining to me that she was worried she wasn’t doing very well. I’m here to tell her, and all my other readers, that Romona is doing a great job sitting in the big chair all by herself. Frankly, while I enjoyed Tim White, I always felt that Romona was the star of this newscast.
Romona delivers the news in a very deliberate, no-nonsense way. She maintains a professional demeanor, and even when a humorous moment breaks out, she still maintains her poise. But for the most part, Romona is all business while she is delivering the news, and her steady style can be calming even when the news isn’t all that good. She also isn’t one prone to overly editorialize about the news she’s delivering, a habit of which many other anchors suffer. When I turn on the evening newscasts, I want the news and I want it quick and to the point, and Romona fits that bill perfectly. While I do not know Romona, she seems to be a class act. And that’s the kind of personality a station should want in the anchor chair.
PM Runners Up
Bill Martin and Stacy Bell, WJW Fox 8
Bill Martin and Stacy Bell may actually have the best chemistry of any anchor team in town. They deliver the news in a crisp, yet light manner. Their best trait as team is their witty dialog between stories, with Stacy often looking at Bill with half condescension and the other half disdain, while Bill looks back at Stacy like she’s got a few screws loose. It’s almost like a married couple. But they know when it’s right to be serious and when it’s OK to take a jab at each other. Why didn’t I make them #1? It’s because viewers can’t always rely on one or both of them to be doing the news when they tune in to watch. It’s so bad that Bill Martin is often ribbed on-air by his co-anchors and letters from fans about his frequent absences. Of course, Stacy has missed her share of time as well. At first blush it sounds funny, but trust me, it really does annoy the viewers when they turn on their news and get stand-ins more than they get the leads. Still, when Bill and Stacy are both on the air, viewers are guaranteed a good dose of the news with some entertaining levity mixed in. It's a real treat.
Cleveland's Best News Anchors - A.M.
Wayne Dawson and Tracy McCool, WJW Fox 8
Despite the fact that they make sure that their on-air clothing matches each other, one may think that this is the biggest mismatch of anchors in town. Wayne Dawson sometimes seems too stuffy and Tracy McCool sometimes seems a little too cheerful. But, over the years, this has formed a perfect balance for the delivery of the morning news, with a fast pace that gets you up and gets you going. They seem very comfortable working together, and that can make even the most hurried morning rush seem a little more calming. Some of their best moments, though, are unscripted and impromptu. For example, in a perfect example of teamwork, in this video below, Wayne steps in to save the day when Tracy loses her “McCool” while reading a news story that is too funny for her to handle.
Tracy Loses her McCool On Air
AM Runner Up
Mark Nolan– WKYC Channel 3
Mark Nolan took over the morning anchor desk at WKYC Channel 3 a little over a year ago. The role fits him well, much better than his previous role of forecasting weather, where it seemed he couldn’t wait to be done with his segment. But Mark seems quite at ease having to sit still for a few hours weekday mornings to do the news segment from 5:00 – 7:00 AM, and he brought the spark back and some needed energy to the morning news on Channel 3. His co-anchor Abby Hamm, however, still seems a little stiff and isn’t quite the right balance for Nolan to make this a real winning team.
Ted Henry – WEWS Channel 5
Ted Henry has been on Cleveland TV news almost forever. Based on information from the WEWS web site , he’s been at the station over 36 years. Herein lies the problem. Ted has been around so long that he blends into the woodwork. It could be that he’s taken for granted, both by the stations and the Cleveland viewers. Still, Ted’s delivery of the news is reliable and comfortable. But the excitement of the Ted Henry/Dave Patterson days (video below) are long gone.
Missing in Action
Channel 19 has no standouts in the anchor category. The big problem is the tabloid style reporting of the station, which sucks any credibility out of any news stories they present. Even Walter Cronkite sitting at the anchor desk couldn’t be considered a contender.
Classic Video – Dave Patterson and Ted Henry
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