WPXI anchor David Johnson knows the business well. Anchors, like news directors, can’t count on anything. “You can be good, and they’ll get rid of you. You can be bad, and they’ll get rid of you,” he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
And yet, for nearly 25 years, Johnson has been a fixture on the desk at the Pittsburgh NBC affiliate, alongside Peggy Finnegan:
But despite the odds, Johnson and Finnegan — who are closing in on 25 years together in January — are already the longest-running local news-anchor team in Pittsburgh television history and one of the longest in the nation.
Twenty-five years for a single anchor is extraordinary, says Robert Thompson, professor of media and culture at Syracuse University.
“For a team to stay together for 25 years is almost unheard of,” Thompson says. “You’re talking about two different people who have to be incredibly stable in a field that is unstable. Those in TV news tend to move around all over the place, to bigger markets or for personal reasons, or new management shakes things up and they’re fired.”