After a combined 52 years at News 5, longtime anchors Leon Bibb and Lee Jordan announced on Monday their plans to retire.
Though their individual careers paths have similarities — both graduated from Bowling Green State University and worked at WCMH in Columbus — they leave behind unique legacies.
Jordan joined News 5 in 1987 as co-host of “The Morning Exchange.” (Did you know she beat out actress Halle Berry for the gig? Read more about that here.)
She spent the remainder of her broadcast career here, anchoring alongside Fred Griffith, Joel Rose, Ted Henry, Roy Weissinger and Chris Flanagan. Currently, she anchors News 5 at 5 with Frank Wiley.
Before joining News 5, she spent six years as host of PM Magazine for WCMH in Columbus.
When Leon walked through the doors of News 5 in 1995, he already had an abundance of life experience behind him.
Leon was raised in Cleveland and pursued his journalism career at Bowling Green State University. After graduating, Leon worked as a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. His journalism career was halted, though, when he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War in 1966. When he returned from the Army two years later, he went back to Bowling Green before launching his professional broadcast career at WTOL in Toledo.
Then, fate stepped in. If you know Leon Bibb, you know the significance of his ‘hitchhiker’ story. In short, it goes like this:
On a freezing cold day, Leon was driving a station vehicle when he saw a hitchhiker walking alongside the road. He felt compelled to pull over and give the stranger a ride. It just so happened that the man was a student at the University of Toledo and his girlfriend’s mother worked at the NBC affiliate in Columbus.
The hitchhiker gave Leon the woman’s number. She was familiar with his work and interested in chatting with him. Three weeks later, he was on the air at the station — WCMH.
Leon spent 6 ½ years there before moving to WKYC in Cleveland as a weekend and then primetime anchor. That’s where he spent much of his career, before joining the anchor desk at News 5.
For Lee, during her 30 years at News 5, her favorite stories were about people who have overcome great odds to find health and happiness.
“I will never forget interviewing Connie Culp at the Cleveland Clinic,” Lee recalled. “She had the world’s first near total face transplant, and her courage and perseverance were completely inspiring to me. More recently I spent time with two gay dads in Cleveland who’ve had two beautiful kids through surrogacy. None of it was easy for them. And a brilliant local artist who’s using his gifts to offer hope to young people in one of our most blighted neighborhoods. So often the stories we have to bring viewers each day are about what has gone wrong in our world. It has always been most rewarding for me to shine a light on stories about resilience, hope and the power of love.”
Lee calls her time at WEWS her great joy and privilege.
“I will miss my colleagues and that particular brand of humor that newsrooms share more than I can say,” she said. “I’ll also miss being part of the daily conversation with our viewers, whose loyalty I deeply value. Through all of the changes in how we get and share information in the last several decades, this remains a great television station. I’ve worked with and learned from the best.”
Lee’s last day is July 28. Leon will retire on Aug. 1.
READ MORE: News5Cleveland.com
Article Courtesy of WEWS News 5 Cleveland
First Picture Courtesy of Jeremy Woodhouse and Getty Images
Post and Second Picture Courtesy of Facebook and WEWS News 5 Cleveland