Dennis Janson: Clyde Gray a mainstay of professionalism, poise and one heck of an editor

Never saw WCPO anchor 'phone it in'

CINCINNATI -- Having grappled with the same dilemma just a year ago, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on my longtime colleague Clyde Gray’s recent career decision to retire.

In the event you missed it, Clyde, a mainstay of the 9 On Your Side news team for the past 23 years announced his decision to walk off the set for the last time on Aug. 29.

During our 22 years together, I never once saw Clyde phone it in. He always gave it his best no matter what the circumstances, whatever the story, whatever he was dealing with in his personal life that particular day.

Over the years I often suggested to Clyde and others who cared to listen, that in my estimation, Mr. Gray was a major market talent. That his appeal would be just as broad in the media capitals of America —New York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco, as in Cincinnati. 

Clyde always demurred but the others I mentioned my hypothesis to, agreed wholeheartedly. He has never been flustered, baffled or bewildered despite the vagaries of fate, timing and technical hobgoblins that bedevil electronic media. 

Whenever I was working on a difficult story, touching on one of the issues of our time like gender equity, sex or race, I would always run my version past Clyde for vetting. It was a habit I developed years ago when working with Nick Clooney. And never once did I regret getting their take. When the words, their meaning and heft mattered most, they were always able to fine tune what I’d crafted and make it better.

My deeper regret beyond losing Clyde from my daily viewing regimen, is knowing that he will not be around to impart his decency, intellect, news judgment and honesty to another generation of broadcast journalists.

Then again maybe I’m jumping the gun here. Clyde isn’t going away, he’s simply not coming into our lives every day in the context of a newscast. I can only hope that he will continue to wield his influence in service of the Tri-State and its citizens.

For all of his award winning undertakings over a distinguished career, I suspect and hope, that Clyde Gray’s best work remains to be done.  

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