Longtime weekend anchor Rob Jennings is retiring from 6abc after 36 years at the starion.
His last newscast is scheduled for July 31.
Jennings said that he and his wife Karen, a former news anchor herself, wanted to retire to their home in southwest Florida while they still had time to enjoy it.
“I’m going to miss several things,” Jennings told me. "I love what I do, I love telling stories and anchoring. I’ve been blessed with that ability since I was five and my kindergarten teacher had me telling stories to the other children. Stories like the ‘Three Little Pigs’ and [‘The Three Bears’]. It just occurred to me that it happened before I could even read.”
A native of Miami, Fl., Jennings went into radio right after high school, switching to television news in 1966 and starting his job as a weekend anchor at 6abc in 1977. In addition to holding down the weekend chair, Jennings spent 16 years as the face and producer of Action News Crimefighters. The segment profiled criminals, leading to the arrest of nearly 200 suspects.
Jennings told me that two highlights of his career were flying with the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels.
“It really hit me in the solar plexus because I flew up with the Blue Angels with Lieutenant Commander Mike Gershon, an officer and a gentleman who let me take the stick and do a couple rolls. A year later, I had to read his death in a crash at the Niagra Falls Airshow on air,” Jennings said.
Jennings was inducted into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2003.
“Rob has played a huge role in the success of Action News and 6abc for decades,” Bernie Prazenica, president and general manager of 6abc said in a statement. “I can’t thank him enough for all that he has done. His talent and professionalism are unsurpassed in broadcast journalism. We will miss him as a colleague and a friend and wish him everything good in retirement.”
In an e-mail, longtime anchor Jim Gardner told me that “In addition to his impressive abilities as a broadcast journalist, Rob is just an incredibly nice guy. He’s always shows a personal interest in you, and over 36 years, that’s a lot of interest! I wish him and Karen so much happiness in this next phase of their lives.”
Jennings and Karen have been married for 27 years. They have two children, Rob, a senior a Villanova, and Becca, who works at First Person Arts.
So what will the couple do on their first weekend off?
“Karen says she’ll be excited to have someone to watch football with," Jennings told me. "I will be having fun with the love of my life and I’ll have fond remembrance of the people that I love in Philadelphia.”