Wednesday, April 20, 2016 — ORLANDO – April 20, 2016 – Bob Opshal, veteran anchor for Cox Media Group Orlando’s Channel 9 Eyewitness News, announced his plans to retire at the end of May after nearly 38 years with the station. Opshal’s last day anchoring the 5 and 6 p.m. news will be Friday, May 27, 2016.
“I cannot believe how quickly time has gone by, and I am so grateful to our viewers, who have been watching for so many years,” said Opshal. “I am very fortunate to have had such a long run, in such an honorable place as WFTV. So many people work all their lives so they can retire in Central Florida, and I was lucky enough to have been here my entire career.”
Opshal’s tenure in broadcasting spans decades of history-making events. Some of the major stories he has covered include the Challenger & Columbia space shuttle tragedies, the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, in South Florida, the presidential inauguration of George H.W. Bush, Florida’s 2000 presidential election and recount fiasco and the Casey Anthony trial.
“Bob Opsahl is synonymous with journalistic excellence,” said Paul Curran, vice president and general manager for Channel 9 WFTV and WRDQ TV-27. “His steady hand in keeping the viewers of Central Florida informed and reassured for almost four decades will be his greatest legacy. He is a Hall of Fame broadcaster and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
“He’s an invaluable leader, coach and friend to everyone in the newsroom,” said Matt Parcell, news director for Channel 9 WFTV. “Bob Opshal has set a very high bar and he will be missed!”
“Retirement has been on my mind for a few years. But until now, I couldn’t bring myself to leave my home-away-from-home and my amazing Channel 9 work family,” added Opshal. “I do have mixed emotions about it. However, time has a way of catching up with you.”
Greg Warmoth, co-anchor of Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 4 and 11 p.m., will join Martha Sugalski at 5 and 6 p.m. on April 30, 2016.
“It speaks volumes to the depth of talent at WFTV Eyewitness News that we have someone of Greg Warmoth’s stature to immediately step forward as Bob’s replacement,” added Curran. “His transition will be seamless because he himself is a market institution having delivered news to Central Florida on WFTV for 30 years. Greg is a trusted brand and our commitment to serving our community won’t miss a beat.”
Jorge Estevez, co-anchor of Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. on WRDQ TV-27 will join anchor Vanessa Echols on Channel 9 Eyewitness News 4 p.m. on April 30, 2016.
“This is an exciting time for Greg, Jorge and the station,” said Parcell. “We’ll be working hard to maintain Channel 9’s number one position and history of excellence in Central Florida. We will remain a strong community leader and build for the future as our industry continues to evolve.”
More on Bob Opshal’s Career
Opshal was born in Minneapolis and grew up in an Air Force family, settling in central Florida in 1968. While serving a four-year commitment in the U.S. Navy, he became interested in broadcasting and took advantage of the G.I. Bill and went back to college. In 1976, he graduated from the University of Central Florida, majoring in Radio and Television Communications. Almost 16 years later, UCF selected Opshal for their Distinguished Alumnus Award. Opshal joined the Channel 9 Eyewitness news team in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. In 1980, he started anchoring weekends and in the decades since he went on to anchor the early and late evening newscasts for the station. Many people in Central Florida remember a weekly feature Opshal started doing in 1982. It was called Wednesday’s Child, and its goal was to find adoptive homes for special needs children. In the 25-years it ran, Opshal helped more than 500 children find adoptive homes.
About Channel 9 WFTV
The ABC Affiliate is part of Cox Media Group and ranks as Central Florida’s number one local television station. The station also operates its website, wftv.com, and its mobile site, m.wftv.com.
About Cox Media Group
Cox Media Group is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of CoxReps. Additionally, CMG owns Cox Target Media, which operates Valpak, one of North America’s leading direct marketing companies, and Savings.com, a leading online source for savings. The company’s operations currently include 14 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 60 radio stations, six daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. CMG currently operates in more than 20 media markets and reaches approximately 52 million Americans weekly, including more than 31 million TV viewers, more than 3.5 million newspaper readers, and more than 14 million radio listeners. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.