Longtime Valley news veteran Charley Johnson to join WDAZ as anchorGRAND FORKS, N.D. - WDAZ-TV's newest on-air personality is no newcomer to local television: Charley Johnson, the longtime Red River Valley news veteran.
By: Forum News Service , The Jamestown Sun
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - WDAZ-TV's newest on-air personality is no newcomer to local television: Charley Johnson, the longtime Red River Valley news veteran.
Johnson will be the station's new co-anchor, with news director-anchor Cassie Walder, weeknights at 6 and 10 p.m.
He'll start work at WDAZ Monday and is expected to be on the air "shortly thereafter," a station news release said.
Johnson will replace Milo Smith, a 15-year Channel 8 co-anchor and news producer who recently left to join the UND Alumni Association.
Johnson is a 30-year news veteran who most recently ran KVLY and, later, KXJB TV, too, as general manager through a joint operating agreement.
He started his career in Grand Forks as a newsman at KNOX Radio before moving to television as a news anchor for KXJB-TV. He later was an anchor and news director before also becoming general manager at KVLY.
In a statement, Johnson said he was "ready to get back to the basics of journalism - the real reason he started in news to begin with" and doing so in Grand Forks is "a perfect place."
"I started my career at KNOX Radio, so it feels very natural to come back here to help cover news," Johnson said in a statement. "I'm very happy to get back into the newsroom environment, and I'm looking forward to working with Cassie and her team."
Walder, who became news director in late 2004, said in the same news release that having the veteran newsman join WDAZ "is like signing Lebron James to the Heat" -- a sports reference to the NBA star and the Miami pro basketball team.
Walder, one of the station's anchors since 2001, called Johnson "the most recognizable face in North Dakota television news, and we are elated that he is bringing his wealth of news experience to WDAZ."
WDAZ station manager Rob Horken said in the news release that viewers "feel like they know and can trust Charley.
"Having him join WDAZ is like inviting a friend back into your living room," Horken said. "The prospect of Cassie Walder and Charley Johnson as co-anchors is really exciting."
WDAZ-TV is owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns the Herald.
The Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald is owned by Forum Communications Co.