Jerry Anderson

Stay tuned: Jerry Anderson stepping down from anchor seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For decades now, he has been the voice and the face that people have turned to for their news. But on Friday, Jerry Anderson will be stepping away from his news anchor role at WTOL in Toledo. He is, above all, a storyteller. Happy or sad. Simple or complex. Anderson is masterful at bringing the news into our homes and making us want to listen. How it all started Anderson’s parents lived in South Toledo when he was born. But his grandmother lived on Parker Avenue in Bowling Green, right next to Wood County Hospital. Even that has become a story for the newsman. “So they would drop off the kids at Grandma’s, and Mom would go next door to pop out another one,” Anderson said with a grin. When he was 16, his family moved to Bowling Green, and he graduated from Bowling Green High School. His first taste of the news profession occurred when at age 10, he delivered the morning Toledo Times newspaper. “One of our customers was a radio station,” Anderson said. “It was the station playing the music we listened to in the 60s. We could look in the big window and see the disc jockeys keying up the records with the big hole in the middle.” Every morning, newscaster Bob Kelly would read a comic strip from the newspaper for his radio listeners. So Anderson felt he had a vital role in delivering that comic strip on time. Then as he continued on his route, Anderson would attach his transistor radio to his handlebars and listen to the newscast. “I would pedal down Heatherdowns pretending to be the newscaster,” he said. “I was such nerd.” His interest in news came naturally, with him attending rallies with his dad for Nixon and for Goldwater. “I was always a kid who followed the news. I followed politics as a kid,” he said. And he always had the gift of gab. “I was one of five kids. I had to speak up.” Anderson gets his voice With no real experience, Anderson got his first job in radio at WFOB in 1974. He often told the joke that he was paid “weakly” – a paycheck of $82.86 every Friday. He spent four years at WFOB, coming in after Bill Blair, and being followed by Dave Horger. “I got sandwiched in between two Bowling Green classics,” Anderson said. In 1978, he moved to WSPD Radio in Toledo, then made the jump in 1980 to Channel 13 TV news in Toledo. “It seemed like the next natural job,” he said. By the end of 1981, Anderson was anchoring the news. He co-anchored with Frank Venner at 6 p.m., and soloed at 11 p.m. In 1993, he left Channel 13 and went back to WSPD Radio briefly, before starting in 1994 with WTOL-11 news.  That was the era of the traditional 6 p.m. newscast, and Channel 11 wanted to take a chance on a 5 p.m. newscast with Anderson at the helm. “The thing took off. It was wildly successful,” he said. Last year, Anderson decided to give up the 11 p.m. shift, and stick with the news at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. “I decided I can’t work nights anymore in downtown…