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Romona Robinson leaving WOIO Channel 19

October 4, 2018

Romona Robinson leaving WOIO Channel 19

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Romona Robinson has decided to part company with WOIO Channel 19, the Cleveland CBS affiliate she has called home for almost seven years. Robinson, currently the station’s 4 and 6 p.m. co-anchor, announced Thursday, Oct. 4, that her last day on the air probably will be in late November or December.

“The last day has not been determined yet, but this my decision,” Robinson told The Plain Dealer. “This is my call. This is my plan. And this has been my plan since my mom passed in January.”

Robinson talked to her hospitalized mother in January about her desire to leave Channel 19.

“And you have to understand that my mother was the type who believed, if you’re lucky enough to have a good job, you don’t walk away from it,” Robinson said. “But when I told her about how much I was loving having written a book and talking to people about it, she didn’t say I was crazy. She said, ’You’ve been preparing for this your entire life.”

But Robinson emphasized that she is not retiring.

“If someone came along with something wonderful that I couldn’t turn down, I certainly would consider it,” she said. “But if not, I am just going to enjoy this new chapter of being an author and motivational speaker.”

Robinson has been at Channel 19 for six and a half years.

“I am grateful I have had the privilege of working with Romona the past few years,” Erik Schrader, Channel 19′s vice president and general manager, said in a statement released Thursday. “We are still working on a date for her final newscast. Between now and then I’m sure we’ll be spending some time celebrating her career with our viewers. She’s an absolute inspiration in terms of the career she has built and I look forward to seeing what she does next.”

Cleveland viewers first saw Robinson in 1988 as the co-anchor of the 10 p.m. newscast on WUAB Channel 43, now Channel 19′s sister station. Both are owned by Raycom Media. In June, Atlanta-based Gray Television announced it had reached an agreement to a merger with Raycom, a sale that’s still pending.

In 1997, the Missouri native moved to Channel 3. She was first teamed with Judd Hambrick, then Tim White. When White left the station at the end of 2008, Robinson was named the sole evening anchor. She was the first black woman to be the sole anchor of a weeknight newscast in Cleveland.

“For everything there is a Season, and a time for every purpose under heaven,” Robinson said in a statement shared Thursday with co-workers and friends. “Seven years ago I came home to Channels 19/43 to help reshape the culture and content for the place where my career began more than 30 years ago. Today I share news of my new season—and my renewed purpose. After much thought and prayer I have decided to leave Channel 19 News.

“As you know this has been a year of profound change for me. I lost my beloved mother and poured that grief into my work and my writing. Our community has responded to my memoir “A Dirt Road to Somewhere” with compassion and with stories of their own. I have found renewed purpose in my writing and in the many opportunities to more directly engage with my audiences.”

Robinson’s statement included three special messages:

“Colleagues: As journalists we have a privilege and obligation to be honorable storytellers. Always strive to do good work for the good people of Northeast Ohio. I treasure you.

“My Romona’s Kids: You will always be mine. I will always be yours. Growth and change are part of life. Don’t be afraid. Know the future you dream of is within your grasp. I believe in you.”

“My Viewers: You are my faithful champions and you are the reason I’ve chosen to call Cleveland home. Let’s continue to look out for each other and to expect great things from each other. It has been, and will continue to be, the privilege of my life to be part of yours. Here’s to new seasons. I’ll be seeing you, Romona.”

Robinson ended her 15-yar stint at WKYC Channel 3 in late 2011, moving to Channel 19 the following month. She first co-anchored the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts with Denise Dufala, who left the Cleveland CBS affiliate station in December 2016.

In August 2015 it was announced that Mark Nolan, who left Channel 3 in early 2012, would become Robinson’s new co-anchor on WOIO Channel 19′s 4 and 6 p.m. newscasts. In February 2017, Channel 19 announced that Robinson would no longer co-anchor the 11 p.m. newscast but would continue with Nolan on the 4 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

The WOIO and WUAB staff were told Friday that there would be resignations and layoffs, but names have not been confirmed.

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