Former WNYW anchor John Roland died Sunday. He was 81.
New York Fox owned station WNYW called Roland “the voice of news to many New Yorkers for nearly 30 years.”
“He took pride in his writing and his down-to-earth communicating,” said WNYW anchor Rosanna Scotto. “He taught me about fairness in presenting the news. I felt his passion and respect for the audience who watched his nightly broadcast.”
Roland anchored the number-one rated newscast, The 10 O’clock News, for nearly 30 years.
His first major assignment was for NBC News in Los Angeles in 1966. After a short stint at NBC, Roland was hired to report for the then-owned Metro Media Station in LA, KTTV. There he covered the Robert F. Kennedy assassination and the Charles Manson trial.
In December 1969, Roland moved from the West Coast to the East Coast, to join Metro Media which later became Fox 5 News.
Roland was on the political beat during the week and in the anchor chair for the 10 O’clock News on weekends. He took over as the main anchor for the weeknight edition of the news in 1979.
In 1983, Roland and his friend were having a late-night dinner at the former Racing Club, a restaurant across the street from the Channel 5 studios, when three armed men entered the restaurant demanding money.
Roland wrestled with one of the robbers and shot him in the leg. The other two robbers attacked Roland, hitting him over the head with a gun. The attack made the front page of every local newspaper that week.
In 1988, Roland got into an on-air argument with a mentally-ill homeless woman, Joyce Brown, also known as Billie Boggs.
Over the years, Roland anchored alongside Bill McCreary, Cora-Ann Mihalik, and Rosanna Scotto. Scotto said she remembered anchoring with him when she was pregnant with her son in April of 1994.
“Sitting next to John was always a learning lesson,” Scotto continued. “He took pride in his writing and his down-to-earth communicating. It was never more evident than anchoring next to him during the 9/11 attacks.”
In 2002, Roland almost died at work after experiencing diverticulitis. He shared the health scare with viewers in a personal message on-air.