Last Friday’s exodus of four longtime fixtures at KING-5 News reminds me of the saying, “Don’t regret growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many.”
I’m referring to the sudden departure of Dennis Bounds, Jeff Renner, Jean Enersen, Linda Byron, and many off-camera veterans, who accepted offers to retire early.
Other stations across the country owned by Tegna, KING's parent company, also are saying goodbye to longtime employees. Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Minneapolis have seen familiar faces accept early retirement.
I’m feeling my age because these are fellow baby boomers who I’ve watched on my home TV since I was a teenager.
At age 19 I distinctly recall visiting my future wife at the house she shared with her brother Lenny, and how he and his buddies ogled Channel 5 because, as they declared, “Jean Enersen is hot!”
Jeff Renner joined KING in 1977, the year my wife and I married. I’ve trusted his weather forecasts for decades, and for summer adventures I rely on his book Northwest Mountain Weather: Understanding and Forecasting for the Backcountry User.
In comparison, Dennis Bounds was a bit of a newcomer, joining KING in 1991. I bumped into him now and then at the grocery store, and his kids attended Redmond schools with my kids.
Those departures feel all too recent, just a few years after KOMO-4 anchor Kathy Goertzen’s death in 2012 at age 54 from a brain tumor. I recall her early 1980s assignments, covering the Washington Legislature in Olympia, and I bounced between watching KOMO and KING for years.
Dan Lewis joined Goertzen at KOMO in 1987 and co-anchored with her for 27 years before retiring in 2014. Like Bounds, Lewis struck me as being “genuine people.”
But as Bob Dylan wrote, the times they are a-changin’.
“It’s certainly a generational change, or the beginning of one,” Lewis said in 2014 of Seattle’s TV news scene.
But maybe I’ll feel a little younger for as long as Steve Pool rules the weather desk at KOMO. Pool, who I swear simply does not age, is a fellow 1972 high school grad (Tyee, in SeaTac ) and UW communications major. Rock on, Steve!
(Top photos courtesy of KING-TV)