Gloria Campos, one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s best-known news anchors, announced via Twitter on Wednesday that she is retiring after 30 years at WFAA/Channel 8.
“It’s OFFICIAL!!” Campos tweeted. “Retiring from News 8 Fri March 7th! Stay tuned for more exciting announcements! 10pm 3/7/2014 will be my last newscast. :-)”
In 2012, local media blogger Ed Bark reported that Campos had signed a new contract that led to her leaving the 6 p.m. newscast, but she continued anchoring the 10 p.m. news with John McCaa.
Campos told Bark at the time that the deal called for reduced hours, a pay cut and an extension through February 2014.
On Wednesday night, Campos told the Star-Telegram that the transition was her choice and that it had been in the cards since well before 2012.
“I signed my last contract specifically to end this way,” Campos, 59, said in a phone interview. “They knew I wanted to retire, and I’ve been planning this for probably five years. It finally came to the point where I don’t need to do this. They’ve been very accommodating, and I get to go out on top, on my own terms.”
Campos has been with WFAA since September 1984, when she started as an anchor — the first featured Hispanic anchor in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Before that, she spent eight years at KGBT-TV in Harlingen, her hometown, which was her only other broadcasting job. She started there a week after she graduated from Southwest Texas State University in 1976.
“I’ve been working since I was, like, 15 years old,” Campos said. “It’s probably one of the most stressful jobs you can have, working in the news business. I’m ready to take it easy for a while.”
Campos has covered political conventions and presidential and gubernatorial inaugurations, visited the Oval Office, been to the Super Bowl, and covered the funerals of Ronald Reagan and Ann Richards. She has seen the broadcasting business move from videotape to digital cameras to multimedia and social media. She has more than 10,000 followers on Twitter, where she tweets about not only news but also music, fashion, travel and other interests.
“I love [covering] events,” she said. “I love election night, because it’s like cramming for exams, and you study and you prepare but it’s still live and anything can happen.
“I really like that more than breaking news, covering a tornado or a tragedy like that.”
She said she has no regrets about leaving, although there are things she will miss, such as working with McCaa, her co-anchor since 2002.
But there are also things she won’t miss.
“It’s my home away from home at Channel 8,” she said. “I spend more time with these people than I do with my own family. So that’s probably what I’m going to miss the most is working with a lot of smart, creative people.
“What I won’t miss,” she said, “is the bad news. I always thought that I would get jaded or callous, and that would tell me, when I stopped being touched or moved by the news, that it was time to go. But it’s been the exact opposite. It’s taken its toll, all the bad news that I’ve had to share with people. So I’ve tried really hard to deliver the bad news in a compassionate way.”
Carolyn Mungo, WFAA’s executive news director, praised Campos in a memo to staffers announcing the anchor’s retirement.
“Gloria Campos IS WFAA,” Mungo wrote. “She is part of the fabric of this newsroom. Her work has inspired so many, one paragraph does not do it justice.”
Campos’ departure is part of a big on-air shake-up at Channel 8, according to Mungo’s memo. These are some of the other changes:
Cynthia Izaguirre, who has anchored morning show News 8 Daybreak since 2008, will move to the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts, co-anchoring with McCaa, beginning March 10. Izaguirre has filled in several times on the evening desks, and she also covers the “Wednesday’s Child” segments that Campos began producing in 1989. (On Campos’ bio, she says she has been told that the adoption rate from the segments is about 70 percent.)
Izaguirre and current morning co-anchor Ron Corning were part of DFW.com’s 2012 Wakeup Callers story about DFW morning TV. No announcement was made about who will be paired with Corning.
Shelly Slater, who has been with WFAA since 2006 and co-anchors the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts, will become solo anchor of the station’s recently launched 4 p.m. newscast. Slater will continue at 6 p.m., co-anchoring with McCaa. Jason Wheeler, who had been the 4 p.m. news anchor, will return to his regular reporting role and anchor on weekends, as well as backing up McCaa.
Campos said she will maintain an association with Channel 8, although it’s too early to get into specifics.
“They have a lot on their plate right now with a transition in practically every newscast,” Campos said. “And I told them I wasn’t anxious for any kind of commitment from them, although they certainly want to continue an association with me. [But] I’m not ready to sign on for anything new at this point.”
This is the second retirement of a longtime DFW broadcaster announced this month. KDFW/Channel 4 meteorologist Ron Jackson announced on air Feb. 9 that he is retiring after 32 years with his station.