WESH anchor Jim Payne has announced that he will retire in September.
Payne joined WESH in December 2000 as a weekend anchor and reporter from WRAL in Raleigh, N.C. Four months later, he was anchoring weekdays at 5 and 11 p.m. Since then, he has anchored all of WESH’s evening newscasts, launching the 4 p.m. newscast in 2006 and the 10 p.m. news on CW18 in 2008.
“My wife and I have been talking about retirement for some time now, but only recently did I actually start listening,” Payne told his co-workers this afternoon. “My mentors and friends all told me I’d know when the time was right, and they were certainly correct. The time goes by so fast. One day we’re raising young boys, the next, we’re making plans around grandchildren. I have been blessed beyond belief professionally, working with some of the most talented people in broadcast journalism, working at a great big powerful TV station that uses its powers for good.”
The station said that Payne’s “calm and commanding presence has helped thousands of Central Floridians weather dozens of hurricanes and get the region’s best television news coverage and context around numerous events impacting them.”
“Jim Payne is a true community champion,” said WESH president and general manager John R. Soapes. “A top-notch journalist dedicated to the people of Central Florida, Jim has poured his heart into every newscast and project he’s undertaken at WESH 2. We applaud his efforts and his amazing career and are grateful for his exceptional work here over the past two-plus decades.”
“What people don’t know is that when Jim’s not on TV, he’s training up all the other journalists in the room,” said WESH news director Stephanie Linton. “We have such an experienced group of journalists, from anchors to reporters to producers, who will carry on the standard Jim has set because he’s had a hand in teaching them our craft.”
Payne will continue to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. news until September 1, 2023.