A Memorable Capital Region TV News Icon Who Will Never Be Forgotten
Author: Ron Carson
When I first moved out of New York City to begin my career in broadcasting, I found myself about 120 miles north of The Big Apple in Catskill, as my usual flagship TV stations were left behind and a period of adjustment took effect. I'm a no frills person who had to get basic cable in receiving any form of television reception, something that was not rule of thumb down state. As I surfed through the limited amount of channels (manually, no remote control as of yet) my attention was fixated on channel 10 (WTEN-TV) as an authoritative, old school anchor was delivering the 11 o'clock news and at that moment, he was my elected choice to get the latest headlines.
His name was simple and easy to remember: Dick Wood: He immediately made an impression on me as he was the head anchor of Eyewitness News along side his colleague, Marci Elliott. The late great Rip Rowan was the station's sports anchor as we would re-connect upon my days in Albany as he was the promotions director for the minor league. A/C Yankees.
I also had an association with the Chief Meteorologist, Bob Kovachick who would send me the evening forecasts at WCKL and our daily banter was priceless. Bob and I are STILL associated with one another as he has been presenting weather at News Channel 13, ironically beginning this role upon being hired at K-LITE 101 in 1988. I recall asking Bob if I could pay a visit to channel 10 as my mission was to meet Dick in person and the get together occurred within days as my trek to the Northern Blvd. studios proved successful.
From the minute I went towards watching quietly at the sidelines, Dick spoke to me during the first commercial break and asked if I was in the business. My answer was yes that you can find me 30 miles south in Catskill (at that time there was no LIVE streaming, but our station reached The New York capital during peak power).and reiterated how impressed I was in his delivering the news on-screen. After the broadcast, Dick approached me with a firm hand shake and gave me some advice on the fundamentals in keeping myself active in radio as he also delivered news on the air at various radio stations throughout New England. At that time, a treasured friendship began.
Dick's presence was well known in the north east as he anchored the first hour long 6 pm news at WJAR-TV (also on channel 10) in neighboring Providence, Rhode Island before heading west to Albany where his talent graced the airwaves for 13 years until his retirement in 1991. The capital region became his home base and a loyal audience tuned in every weeknight (present company included)
When I migrated south to New York's Hudson Valley, I was unable to receive channel 10 as my New York metro stations were on my cable, hence the void began. I would call Dick telling him watching TV news without his presence was not the same and his response was to continue pursuing my radio career as the agenda up north was unchanged and his availability to chat was always open.
I was fortunate when moving to Poughkeepsie, New York in 1987 as my cable had ONE Albany station available and it was channel 10. A phone call to Dick yielded the good news and he was happy I could watch him again on a regular basis. That was rule of thumb until he left the anchor desk as my residency shifted full time to the capital region when hired by K-LITE in 1988.
The channel of communication continued and as his days at channel 10 were coming to a close, Dick would cordially invite me to sit in and watch his noon newscast LIVE and those were moments I'll treasure forever. His kindness was genuine and special as traditional broadcasters have become a memory of our precious past.
Upon his retirement, we lost touch but it was ironic we met up again in 2015 as we attended a memorial service for Dick's former colleague, Ed O' Brien, who was also a treasured friend of mine in this business. This time, we were determined to stay connected more frequently and that became reality. Dick's wisdom and expertise will ALWAYS stay with me as my finest memory was being invited to his Latham home and he actually prepared me to begin my stint here at WSBS.
He was a man of many stories and each and every one of Dick's tales in broadcasting were enthralling and commanded attention similar to those of my 2nd dad, "Papa" Joe Turrisi from Syracuse, New York who left us back in 2013. They are BOTH ALWAYS in my heart. Dick also would send me various memorabilia of his TV days and CD copies of his weekly jazz show he hosted on WABY-AM. Those discs will be coming out of my shelf to re-listen in his honor.
Our recent phone conversations gave me an inkling that Dick was suffering from health setbacks, but we STILL managed to update each other and he was proud of my progress in Great Barrington (after all, his advice helped me in obtaining my current position here in the Berkshires). This is an example of someone who was "The Real Deal" as my memories of Dick will remain embedded with me forever.
Richard Woodward left us at the age of 91 on November 5th, 2021 and a legacy that will stand out FOREVER. A pioneer and perfectionist in his craft. Dick would always end our phone chats with the words "God Bless" (a la Red Skelton) and how apropos: I know for a fact The Good Lord has reserved a place for him in the heavens above.
(Photo images of Dick Wood courtesy of Facebook)
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