It’s been six years in the making, and now longtime WXII anchor-reporter Wanda Starke says she’s finally ready to retire.
Starke, who has been with the Winston-Salem, N.C. station since 1994, will sign off for the last time on Dec. 18.
“God blessed me with parents who believed in me, but I never imagined I would have such a long and wonderful career,” Starke said in a statement about her decision. “I have spent 43 years in the business, almost 27 here at WXII 12, working alongside some of the most talented professionals in television news. My only regret is that I can’t hug the WXII 12 team as I say ‘goodbye.’ I also want to thank our viewers. I am immensely grateful for their kind words and support over the years. Because of them, I felt at home the first day I signed on the air at WXII 12 in January 1994. I want them to know I really appreciate their company.”
Starke’s journalism career spans five decades. She made history in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1991 as the market’s first Black weekday news anchor, before she moved to the Winston-Salem market three years later. In 2014, she announced she’d be scaling back her work as she headed toward retirement from the station, and moved from a full-time anchor role to a part-time anchor position. Since 2018, she has been working on special features.
She has won a number of accolades in her decades in the business, including The President’s Award for Volunteer Service, the UNCF’s Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Excellence Award, honoring women in media and the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism on Behalf of Children and Families.
“Wanda’s retirement is well deserved after nearly 27 years at WXII 12,” WXII 12 news director Lisa Fulk said. “She’s shared her knowledge and know-how with countless journalists at WXII 12 and has touched us all with her personal story of adoption. She is a true inspiration.”
The station will air a one-hour special called Wanda Starke: Inspired at 8 p.m. honoring her legacy. WXII has also established a Wanda Starke Student Achievement Scholarship, which will be awarded every year during an annual National Association of Black Journalists student workshop.
“Wanda has been an inspiration her entire career—a journalist who has upheld the highest of standards and a compassionate story-teller who has shined a light on the best of humanity,” said WXII 12 president and general manager Michelle Butt.