WGN’s Robert Jordan to retire with ‘profound gratitude’

Robert Jordan (Photo: Bart Shore)

Robert Jordan (Photo: Bart Shore)

Capping a distinguished 43-year career in Chicago television news, Robert Jordan announced plans Sunday to retire next month as weekend news anchor at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9.

“Bob has dedicated his career to informing Chicago for more than four decades,” Jennifer Lyons, news director of WGN, said in a statement. “His dedication is unparalleled; he is truly a legend in Chicago broadcasting.”

Jordan, 72, expressed “deep and ambiguous feelings” in an email to colleagues. “There are not sufficient words to express my profound gratitude for your wonderful friendships to those of you whom I have known for so long,” he wrote. “It has indeed been my pleasure to have known you and to have been able to call you a colleague and friend.”

He’ll officially anchor his last weekend newscast on September 25, but will still turn up from time to time as a vacation-relief news anchor for the remaining year of his contract.

In an interview Sunday, Jordan said his immediate plans are to concentrate on his independent production company, Video Family Biographies, which produces legacy videos of family histories. He also plans to work on video projects for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Except for a two-year stint as Midwest bureau correspondent for CBS News, Jordan has been a fixture at WGN since 1973, when he began as a reporter. He’s been co-anchoring weekends with Jackie Bange since 1995. In 2007, he was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

In addition to degrees from Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University, he holds a doctorate in philosophy of education from Loyola University. In 2014 Jordan was named first journalist-in-residence at the University of Chicago’s Careers in Journalism, Arts, and Media program.

His daughter, Karen Jordan, is a weekend news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, and his son-in-law, Christian Farr, is a reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

A WGN spokeswoman said no replacement for Jordan as weekend anchor has been named.

Here is the text of Jordan’s email to colleagues:

Dear WGN Television Friends,

It is with deep and ambiguous feelings that I alert you to my preparations to retire from WGN Television. On one hand I will miss the many wonderful friends whom I have had the pleasure to know and work with since I came here in 1973. Yet, on the other, I will now have the opportunity to go with my wife of 46 years to the countless weekend fun events that we have not been able to enjoy for these many decades.

My last official day anchoring the weekend news will be Sunday, September 25. For the next year I will continue to transition into civilian life and will fill holes in the schedule when Jennifer and Sandy need me.

As many of you know, I have a video production company that produces legacy videos for families across the country, helping them protect and preserve their family histories. Recently, my business has grown at an exciting rate, prompting me to spend more time traveling and producing the videos for my client families. Additionally my company is continuing to expand into other areas requiring all of my attention and energy. This and many other activities will keep me extremely busy for years to come.

There are not sufficient words to express my profound gratitude for your wonderful friendships to those of you whom I have known for so long. It has indeed been my pleasure to have known you and to have been able to call you a colleague and friend.

I hope we will be able to remain in touch. I wish you all the very best that life can offer . . .

Best wishes to you all,

Bob Jordan