By Toni Garbo
CLEVELAND–It’s one of the biggest news stories to rock FOX 8 News. One of the most respected and loved journalists in Northeast Ohio has decided to retire her anchor chair. Our Cleveland’s Own Wilma Smith will step off the anchor desk at the end of May.
Wilma has been a key contributor to the success of FOX 8 News. She began her broadcasting career in Cleveland on July 17, 1977. Wilma joined WJW in 1994 after spending 17 years at WEWS Channel 5.
Her move across town to another local station was front page news in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Known as Wilma Pokorny, she was born and raised in Garfield Heights. She attended Garfield Heights High School and graduated from Bowling Green State University, with an undergraduate double major in speech and English. Wilma also has a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism.
From 1995 until 2005 Wilma anchored the 6p and 10p newscasts with long time Cleveland’s Own Tim Taylor.
In 2005, Wilma and Tim cut back only doing the 6pm News. Since 2005, Wilma has been anchoring with Lou Maglio. The show continues to be number one.
Wilma has won numerous awards over the years including 10 Emmy awards. She was voted “Cleveland’s Most Watchable Woman” by local viewers and “Best Anchorperson in Cleveland” in a poll of more than one million viewers. Wilma has also earned the titles of “Anchor of Excellence”, “Newscaster of the Year”, Best Anchorperson, and has been on the cover of Cleveland Magazine five times.
Making people feel at ease during an interview is one of Wilma’s gifts. She has interviewed four presidents, and countless number of celebrities and news makers. President and General Manager Greg Easterly says, “Wilma has been an outstanding ambassador for FOX 8 and the city of Cleveland. We love her and we will miss her.”
Wilma says, as difficult as it is to leave all her friends…(colleagues and viewers), it’s time for life’s next chapter, a focus on her husband Tom and family. “It’s a lovely gift to be able to leave on your own terms. says Wilma. “ You may not see me in your living room anymore, but I hope to see you out and about in the community. It’s been a wonderful career and my heart will always be with you.”