21 News anchor Bob Black announces his retirement - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

21 News anchor Bob Black announces his retirement

He’s a husband, a father, a teacher, a journalist and a Mahoning Valley legend.  

Now, after 35 years covering news in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys, 21 News anchor Bob Black has decided it’s time to retire.

Bob announced his retirement Tuesday on 21 News at six.   He officially signs off the 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. broadcasts for the last time on Monday, November 30th, so there’s still time to enjoy watching Bob and wish him well as he wraps up his 18 year career on 21 WFMJ as the Valley’s most trusted news anchor. 

Fortunately for Valley news viewers, Bob’s retirement is only from the anchor desk.  21 WFMJ General Manager Jack Grdic said he’ll continue to cover issues important to people in the Valley

“I am happy that Bob has agreed to have a recurring role with us moving forward, particularly with the scope and size of the 2016 election year,” Grdic said.

“While I will dearly miss seeing him on a daily basis, I’m just thrilled that we’ll still have a chance to work with Bob on important stories,” 21 News Director Mona Alexander said.  “That said, he deserves a long and happy retirement,” Alexander said.

Others in the community who have worked with Bob also offered high praise for his skill as a reporter and news anchor.  “He’s the kind of anchor who earned his position as a rock-solid reporter,” said Joe Bell, who is now the Director of Corporate Communications for the Cafaro Company.  “He refuses to let any personal opinion creep in and color the stories he’s delivering.  Just the news, straight up,” he said.

Bob’s television career started at WKBN-TV where, among other duties, he anchored the noon news with the late meteorologist Don Guthrie.  When the station was sold the first time in 1997, and Bob was let go, 21 WFMJ offered Bob the chance to anchor the station’s 6 and 11 p.m. news broadcasts.  “He came to 21 WFMJ as part of our commitment to build the Valley’s #1 local news organization,” Grdic said.  “Bob chose to have his career in the valley and he chose to work at the locally owned station,” Grdic said.

While Bob worked at the locally owned station, it didn’t always keep him in town.  Bob traveled extensively to cover stories affecting the Valley wherever they were happening.  In 2000, Bob accompanied a delegation of local citizens to Sicily, where the United Nations had convened a symposium on finding ways to fight international organized crime. He covered the trials and tribulations of the late former Valley Congressman Jim Traficant. He spent years researching and reporting on political corruption in the area and just months ago, when a Warren mother wanted to talk about the tragic circumstances surrounding the disappearance and death of her young daughter, Bob was the only journalist she would talk to.

Anyone who knows or who has ever worked with Bob Black knows he is a “newsman’s newsman.”  The kind of journalist who gets the facts right, puts the story first and always keeps the viewer front and center in his mind.  His co-anchor, Leslie Barrett, said, “Bob is leaving an indelible mark on the future of journalism in the Valley.  His work on-air is just a fraction of his impact. His guidance has been priceless to me and countless others in the newsroom.” 

21 Sports Director Dana Balash said Bob is “truly one of the most genuine people I’ve ever worked with.”  “When he came to work he’d always stop by the sports office to say hello and offer words of encouragement,” said Balash. 

21 News Executive Producer Sheila Miller echoed Balash on Bob’s managerial style. “I felt such a sense of accomplishment whenever Bob complimented something I had done.  He has a great way of making you feel good about your work,” Miller said.

Those of us who have worked with Bob at 21 WFMJ will miss his sage advice, his wry wit and his leadership in the newsroom.  We are lucky to have worked with him and grateful he’s taught a generation of young journalists to live and work by the same high ethical standards he brought into the newsroom every day. 

In reflecting on his career in television we think Bob said it best.  He recently said television “communicates feelings, it displays our humanity and shows our audience where we’re all alike.  Isn’t that what we really want to be?”

We agree and to our friend and colleague, we salute you, wish you well and can’t wait to see what the next chapter in life holds for you. 

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