21Alive's Melissa Long to retire in December. (Photo Submitted)
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A long time Fort Wayne news person is retiring.
21Alive News anchor Melissa Long announced today she'll step down in December.
Long has been broadcasting on radio and television for more than three decades, she's has been with the station since 1992.
Officials with the television station say her leadership and commitment will be missed.
Here's the press release, verbatim from 21Alive:
WPTA 21Alive Anchor Melissa Long to Retire
Sets December 2015 as On-air Farewell
Fort Wayne, IN— In a career that has spanned more than three decades in local television, Melissa Long, veteran evening anchor for WPTA 21Alive, has announced her plans to retire at the end of the year. One of the most respected and recognized faces in Fort Wayne television, Melissa’s legacy is difficult to match, and her impact on the community unique.
“Deciding to retire from a job and career I've loved for more than 30 years was wasn't easy, but I know in my heart it is the right time for me,” reflects Long, “I am tremendously grateful to the viewers who have given me a sliver of their time each day. I truly feel you are all part of my family.”
“I have so much respect and admiration for Melissa, it’s hard to put it into words,” says Don Osika, WPTA/WISE President and General Manager. “I’ve met many special people in my career,but there are those rare occasions when someone really makes an impact on you. For me, Melissa is one of those. She’sstrong, dedicated and genuine. She will be missed.”
“Melissa’s tenure is a rarity in the television industry, but especially so in Fort Wayne,” adds WPTA/WISE News Director Peter Neumann. “Perhaps even more significant is how Melissa’s unselfish leadership, commitment and service for a better community have meant something lasting, leaving a legacy of tangible results.”
A Fort Wayne native and Elmhurst High School graduate, Melissa began her broadcasting career in 1980 at WGL radio in Fort Wayne after graduating from DePauw University in Communications. Following a stop in California where she met her husband, David Long (current Indiana Senate Pro Tem), she was hired by legendary broadcaster Hilliard Gates in 1984 as the noon anchor for NBC33, quickly becoming evening anchor.
After several years at NBC33, Melissa took time off to be at home with her two young boys. In 1992, she returned to broadcasting, beginning her career at 21Alive as a freelancer, then morning co-anchor and in 1995 moved to evening anchor.
As she reflects over the countless stories, events and newscasts over the years, Melissa has a few local efforts that stand out as most memorable. She recalls the emotional closing of her alma mater, Elmhurst and the last visit with Bishop D’Arcy before his passing. Early on, “UFO’s in Indiana” was a favorite and her efforts with “Political Radar,” “The Reporter” specials and “Your Story. Made Here.” initiatives stand out among current projects.
Melissa’s involvement in the community has taken many forms. She has served on numerous boards including the YWCA, Youth Arts council, SCAN, the Children’s Zoo and is currently on the Board of Directors for Audiences Unlimited. Long has been active in IPFW theatre productions, First Presbyterian Theatre and Fort Wayne Civic Theatre.
“But it is not yet time to say good-bye!” Long adds. “I'm looking forward to a great year with all of you and with my wonderful family at 21Alive. I hope you'll join us for the fun things we have planned!”
“Our goal is to make 2015 very special for her,” concludes Osika.