Long-running Los Angeles anchor steps down

Longtime Los Angeles anchorman Paul Moyer is set to retire from the news desk.

Moyer informed the KNBC newsroom Wednesday afternoon that he intended to anchor his last broadcast in the near future.

Moyer, who currently handles KNBC’s 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts with Colleen Williams, has had a regular L.A. TV presence since 1972 — making him the market’s longest-running anchor.

“I have given Los Angeles my loyalty and my professional best, and if I was able to illuminate a dark and dangerous corner with an investigation, or communicate a complex story in a meaningful way, I have been more than repaid for my devotion to this remarkable city,” Moyer said in a memo to KNBC staffers.

Moyer — who was on a long-planned vacation this week — is still mulling an exact departure date; station will also announce his successor at a later time.

Moyer’s said to make as much as $3 million annually. His contract wasn’t set to expire for a few more years, but it’s believed that Moyer and NBC came to an agreement, with the Peacock buying out the remainder of his deal.

In a newsroom note, KNBC news director Bob Long said Moyer “perfected the role of news anchor in the town that can lay claim to inventing it, becoming all an anchor can be: a team leader and a link to our community.

Moyer’s currently on his second tour of duty at KNBC, having rejoined the Peacock-owned station after a fierce bidding war with rival KABC in 1992.

As station groups like NBC look to cut costs, rumors had begun to float that Moyer and his WNBC counterpart, Chuck Scarborough, were being bought out of their contracts. But Peacock insiders insist that Scarborough is staying, and that it was Moyer’s decision to retire.

Nonetheless, the era of big-bucks local anchors like Moyer appears to be ending, as stations across the country phase out anchors who have spent decades at the news desk.

In Chicago, for example, Diann Burns was recently let go by CBS’ WBBM, while in Los Angeles, John Beard has been missing from the airwaves after failing to come to a new contract with Fox’s KTTV.

Moyer is one of L.A.’s best-known news personalities; prior to returning to KNBC in 1992, he spent more than a decade anchoring KABC’s key “Eyewitness News” broadcasts, mostly alongside Ann Martin.

Moyer first worked at KNBC beginning in March 1972, and eventually filled the void left when that station’s Tom Brokaw and Tom Snyder moved to the network. He moved to KABC in 1979.

Prior to joining KNBC in 1972, Moyer worked at New York’s WCBS. His resume also includes early stints at KDKA Pittsburgh, KTVI St. Louis, WMBD Peoria, Ill., and KTIV Sioux City, Iowa.

Moyer won a local Emmy Award in 1997 for his live coverage of the Olympic bombing in Atlanta, as well as three more in 1995, including one for his news series “O.J. Simpson: The Trial.” He has also won additional Emmys for docs on drug smuggling and teen pregnancy.

Among Moyer’s potential successors: KNBC vet Chuck Henry, who frequently fills in when Moyer is away. Speculation has also centered on Moyer’s nephew, Micah Ohlman, who has served several years as a KABC anchor, but insiders said that was unlikely.

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