Recently I sat down with local television personality Jerry Anderson to discuss his notable career and considerable contribution to this region. Always humble, honest & never amiss for words; Jerry opened up about his life as a local TV anchorman & unwavering love for this community. In his own words…
J.Rankins – Editor
Our Neighborhood Growing Up
I was born in Bowling Green at Wood County Hospital but my family actually lived in South Toledo. My mom’s family lived in Bowling Green so we were in town all the time. We eventually moved to BG after my sophomore year of high school to make my dad’s commute easier. ?I went on to graduate from Bowling Green High School.
Dad’s Career in BG
My father worked as an employee at the International Harvester Farm Equipment dealership which was located in the current facility of Thayer Honda. He worked in and managed the parts department, which was important as many farmers repair their own equipment. Eventually, when the previous owner wanted to sell the company, he sold it in equal parts to my dad and his partner, Fred Getz. He ran that business for many years, and I worked for him while I was also working at WFOB Radio.
Education & Training
I went to BGSU in the early 70’s, as a speech major emphasizing in broadcasting. While our family encouraged all of us to go to college, the decision was entirely up to us, and I had to pay my way through college by working at the Food Town Supermarket on North Main. I was fortunate, because what I wanted to study is one of the strong points of BGSU. Moreover, I was able to live at home, which kept expenses down.
Start in Radio
My first paid broadcasting job was at WPOS 102.3, a Christian broadcasting station located in Holland, Ohio. The job was basically queuing up tapes and hitting play, and announcing the station ID at the top of the hour. Working there, I was making $1.10 an hour. My first full-time job was WFOB, where I worked with Dave Carr, doing the BGSU football and basketball games.
Move to Television
From WFOB Bowling Green, I was aspiring to get into the Toledo market. I sent a tape to WSPD, one of the iconic radio stations of the day. To my surprise, they offered me a part-time utility job, which allowed me to get into Toledo. At that time they were co-owned with Channel 13, and in the September of 1980 I made the jump from radio to television, working full-time as an entry-level reporter. Only fifteen months later, in December of 1981 I got the 6 and 11’o’clock anchor job, working there for thirteen years. I joined WTOL-TV in 1994 to anchor a brand-new newscast, “First at Five” and then later was added at the 6 & 11 p.m. newscast. I’ve had the incredible privilege to cover four national political conventions, three presidential inaugurations, Pope John Paul II’s visit ?to Detroit, and a trip to Yokohama, Japan for an in-depth series comparing the lives of Japanese and American auto workers.
Leisure & Recreation
One of the things I do on a very regular basis is running. I was inspired to start running by my daughter, who ran a half-marathon and challenged me to run one with her. I started training early in 2005 and ran my first half-marathon in April of that year, the first of five. I dabble in music, playing some piano. However, I spend much of my time with my family, and visiting my kids in Columbus and Northeastern Ohio.
I love the sense of community in this town, and the wonderful atmosphere that this community has. I had the opportunity to speak at the Bowling Green State University Retirees Association, and I was able to simply speak with many of these people that I have known for decades, on a first-name basis. I love how the people in this community don’t put on airs, but are who they are.
I play softball at the City Park. My favorite place (of many) in town to eat is Easy Street. I met my wife at S.O.P., (Some Other Place) which is now ?City Tap, and we were married in ?St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. We bike on the trail all the time, and have been season ticket holders for BGSU football for decades.
I’ve managed to stay very active in our community with a busy schedule of appearances as Master of Ceremonies or Local Celebrity Auctioneer. In 1992, I actually earned my Ohio Auctioneer’s license for the sole purpose of conducting charity auctions. I will call some 20 charity auctions a year with an emphasis on helping schools, economically-challenged kids and families, faith-based organizations, and the developmentally disabled.
A Lifetime of Giving
To me, it’s all about what you do with the opportunities that you are given. During my career, I was given opportunities that I never deserved. And now, with the media giving me so many opportunities to give back, I’ve opted to accept those opportunities. It’s just expressing gratitude for the many opportunities given to me that I didn’t deserve, by elevating those around you.
Heritage & Legacy
I really just want people to know that I’m just one of them. I don’t hire someone to do my lawn, I’m the guy out there with the backwards cap and old sweat shorts mowing my own lawn, and I’m proud of that. Also, while my broadcasting job is why people know me, it’s not nearly as important to me as my role as a husband and a father. In fact, I’ve come to realize that everything good in my life has come from two sources: my family and my faith. And I’ve made a commitment to put those two first, even turning down prestigious job opportunities if they would take me away from my family.
Spotlight & Awards
1999 & 2002 – Crystal Awards of Excellence. Two additional Crystal Awards of Merit from Women in Communication for his reporting while at WTOL-TV.
2001 – Emmy Award for Outstanding News Anchor in the NATAS region.
2001 – Sole reporter and principal writer of WTOL’s 18-part, post 9-11 series, “Families Coping”, won the regional Edward R. Murrow award for “Best News Series.”
2005 – Toledo City Paper “Best Journalist” in the City Paper’s “Best of…” survey.
2006, 2007, & 2009 – Toledo City Paper “Best TV Anchor” in the paper’s annual “Best of…” poll.
2007 – The Press Club of Toledo honored Jerry with its prestigious “Golden Touchstone” award for his “substantial, positive impact on journalism in the Greater Northwest Ohio region.
2008 – Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters “Best News Anchor” in Ohio.
2009 – Sixth & Seventh Emmy nominations from the Cleveland region of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
2009 – Second Murrow Award for his moving account of a young boy’s survival of a plane crash that killed his brother and father.
2010 – Inducted into the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Silver Circle and won another Emmy for anchoring WTOL-11 News at 11.