The worst-kept secret in local TV history is now out in the open: KTVU-Channel 2′s veteran anchor Dennis Richmond will retire in May.
Although it hasn’t been a secret – Dennis Richmond himself has told people for almost two years about his plans – the station has been reluctant to make a public statement until now.
Today, the silence was broken and a full announcement made on the KTVU Web site There’s also a nice slide show on Dennis’ career.
“KTVU has always been one of the most respected TV news organizations in the country and I feel honored to be part of it for so long. It is gratifying to be trusted enough by Bay Area viewers to be welcomed into their homes each night,” said KTVU Anchor Dennis Richmond.
“Dennis is an icon. He has a presence that demands attention and respect. His anchoring has always been the perfect match for KTVU Channel 2 News,” said KTVU Vice President and General Manager Tim McVay, “As a working journalist, Dennis is the pinnacle of objectivity and fairness. When you watch him anchor, you know you’re getting the real news. He has never let his feelings or opinions drift into the stories he delivers. Dennis and his style of delivery has defined KTVU for decades.”
Richmond will continue to co-anchor the KTVU Channel 2 News at 6 and The Ten o’Clock News on KTVU Channel 2 until May 21, 2008. Richmond started at KTVU on April 29, 1968 and has anchored The Ten o’Clock News on KTVU since 1976.
“I drove with a friend out to California in January 1968 with $400 in my pocket. I had recently finished a three year hitch in the Army and didn’t have a clear idea what I wanted to do,” said Richmond. “I had some family and friends in the Bay Area and didn’t know where I was going to stay, but I knew I needed to find a job.”
He landed at KTVU as a part-time clerk typist. By 1969, Richmond was a full-time reporter and he was covering the Bay Area’s biggest news stories, including some with national attention.
“We had a great opportunity competing against the networks on some big stories back then,” said Richmond. “Patty Hearst’s kidnapping, the Zebra Killings, Dan White’s shooting of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk; they were all high profile stories where the networks threw an army at us, but KTVU was scrappy and we scored some terrific wins with our coverage. Those were exciting times.”
While Richmond has vivid memories of his street reporting days, his decades of anchoring The Ten o’Clock News on KTVU Channel 2 has set him apart from others in the industry. He has delivered steady anchoring while being an eyewitness to history as he led KTVU’s coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, the Oakland Hills Fire, and field anchoring political conventions.
“Dennis is the ironman of the anchor desk at KTVU. It has been an honor penciling his name in the line-up each night. He’s been at KTVU for 40 years, but he could keep going for another decade if he wanted. He’s so strong; it’s hard to believe he’s retiring. We’d love to keep Dennis at KTVU forever and he knows that,” said KTVU News Director Ed Chapuis.
“I wish it wasn’t true. Dennis’s departure from the anchor chair will mark the end of an era in Bay Area television news. He is the ultimate pro and a good friend. What viewers don’t see every night is his compassion for people and his huge heart,” said KTVU co-anchor Julie Haener. “It has been a pleasure and an honor to co-anchor the evening news with him. There will never be another like Dennis.”
Being the anchor of the Bay Area’s top-rated newscast for decades has brought Richmond attention, but he is quick to point out that he’s only part of a winning team. “What we do every day at KTVU is truly a team effort. It wouldn’t exist without everyone here pushing in the same direction. I could not do this without the support of my co-workers. This is not an individual effort. We have a great team here at KTVU and I am happy to be a part of it.”
During Richmond’s tenure he has received a plethora of awards including several Emmy and Radio-Television News Director Association Awards.
In 1999, Richmond received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was elected into the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Silver Circle in 1994. Three years ago, he also received the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) Journalist of the Year Award. In 2005, The Radio-Television News Directors Association awarded a national Edward R. Murrow Award for best large market newscast in America to The Ten o’Clock News on KTVU Channel 2 which was anchored by Richmond.
“Dennis is as much of a leader in the newsroom as he is on-air. There is a side of Dennis that viewers don’t see, but his co-workers do and they love him for it. He has a fiery competitiveness. But ‘getting it right’ has always been the most important thing for him,” said KTVU Ten o’Clock News Executive Producer Mike Kelly. “Dennis is a legend in the KTVU newsroom for his attention to factual accuracy, his detailed editing of scripts, and his probing questions in editorial meetings. He is a leader in the KTVU newsroom in every sense of the word.”
Even with all the journalistic awards and recognitions, Richmond says he most appreciated being recognized by viewers. Over the years he has been named the best Bay Area television anchor in the reader’s polls of the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, The Bay Guardian and San Francisco Weekly. “Feedback from viewers, which is unsolicited, is what is most important,” said Richmond. “It means a lot to me and I will miss it.”
Richmond has been recognized, saluted and honored by many civic organizations. He is the recipient of the Humanitarian Award of Oakland, the highest honor given in the city. He was honored as the Good Scout of the Year by the San Francisco Bay Area Council, Boy Scouts of America in 2004. He is a member of the board of directors of the Child Abuse Consortium which is a statewide agency and has been the Chairperson of the YMCA fundraising drive for Alameda County.
Looking down the road at what life will be like in retirement, Richmond says, “I do know that I’m going to relax and get my golf handicap down. I might write a book, but it will definitely be fiction. My life in news has all been about the facts. So, I’m looking forward to making some stuff up.”