UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - After more than 35 years as lead anchor at NewsChannel 2 and nearly 50 years in broadcasting, Bill Worden announced Thursday that he will retire from WKTV at the end of November. Bill is one of the longest-serving local news anchors in American television history.
Worden made the announcement live on NewsChannel 2 at Six. He said, “I treasure my years with WKTV and the people I have been honored to work with. I was blessed to be able to work with some of the original members who were still there when I started.” Concerning his departure, he simply says, "It's time to do this."
Bill joined WKTV in March of 1977, as anchor of NewsChannel 2 at Six and Eleven. Later in his career, NewsChannel 2 at Ten was also added to Bill’s anchoring duties. At one time, he also served as news director of the station.
His list of interviews runs the gamut from New York State Governors Mario Cuomo and George Pataki, President Ronald Reagan to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. His favorite continues to be an interview with the legendary singer Bobby Darin, shortly before Darin's death.
Bill is a native of Central New York. Born in Herkimer, he grew up the son of a successful local businessman, whose travels took Bill, his mother and his sister to Indiana and Florida before returning to Utica where his father became a car dealer.
Bill is an Air Force veteran, having served with a Top Secret clearance in the Atlas-F Missile program, during both the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Upon discharge, he entered the radio business in Utica at stations WBVM and WRUN. While working, he attended Utica College and Mohawk Valley Community College, where he helped start the college’s first radio station. Bill said, “I worked at WBVM under the guidance of local broadcast veterans Mike and Dan Fusco. Ironically, Mike Fusco was the first General Manager of WKTV and hired a young Dick Clark to do news there."
In 1971, Worden took his first television position at KTVH-CBS in Wichita, Kansas where he anchored the noon and 6:00 p.m. broadcasts. Bill also anchored the 6:00 and 11:00 news in 1973 at WTVN in Columbus, Ohio.
While in Wichita, Worden earned several awards for two bicentennial year documentaries in 1976, including one from the state's farmers for a half-hour documentary on Kansas' two major industries, meat and wheat.
He was also cited for his work on an historic documentary, "The Gunfighters," including former Wichita Marshall Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson of Dodge City, Kansas, the Dalton Gang and the infamous shootout in Coffeyville, Kansas that ended their reign.
Bill is an accomplished drummer. He played professionally across the country for several years with jazz and jazz-rock groups, including one national recording group. He has twice been a guest soloist with the Utica Symphony.
Worden has joined the Mark Bolos Band and will be traveling with them. He is also working with a local businessman, pursuing the growing interest in internet radio. "I always envied Danny Fusco, who was able to do his radio show right from his office at home," said Worden. "The difference now is, your show can be heard all over the world."
He is a well-known public speaker around the state, addressing issues pertinent to our times.
Worden met his wife Janna in Kansas while in the service. They have been married for nearly 50 years and have four children and twelve grandchildren.
Bill will continue anchoring NewsChannel 2 at Six until November 29, when he will sign off from the airwaves for the final time.
Changes to NewsChannel 2's anchor lineup will be announced next week.