CLEVELAND, Ohio — He’s doing it his own way.
That’s how Fox 8’s Tracy McCool described Bill Martin when she first started at Fox 8 News.
“I’m like, ‘what is this guy doing,'” said McCool, who was then a reporter at Fox 8. “He doesn’t stick to any of these scripts. He’s doing it his own way.”
McCool, who joined the Fox 8 family in 1996, worked with Martin on the morning show, later co-anchoring the evening newscasts at his side. They’re now co-anchors during the 5 p.m. newscast — until tonight at 5 p.m., when Martin will retire and move to Florida.
Bill started in TV news in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He later worked in Harrisburg, Dayton, Columbus, and Pittsburgh.
He came to Fox 8 News in 1994, anchoring the then hour-long early morning newscast. He said the station was in 8th place when he arrived, and it took one year for it to become number one in Cleveland.
“I still don’t read the scripts,” he said. “We were in 8th place, and I was just like, let’s try something new. And a lot of that was just me jumping up and down. Like hey, we’re over here. Come watch us.”
After leading the morning show to number one in the ratings for more than three years, Bill was promoted to the 5 p.m. and noon newscasts in 1999. He moved into the 10 p.m. anchor chair in 2005 when Tim Taylor took a reduced role.
In preparation for retirement, he scaled back to the 5 p.m. newscast only in 2018.
“I wanted to be 62 and 25 years at Fox 8, and I hit both milestones, and that’s it,” he said.
Martin said while he’s looking forward to retirement, there’s a lot he’ll miss.
“All the things we do to raise money and help people. The Woollybear Festival, and it’s just an amazing place. It will be — I haven’t thought about it a lot, but it will be hard to leave. I think when I get to Florida eventually and look back, I’ll…what did I just do?”
“I’ve had a great career,” he said. “It’s been tremendous fun. It’s time to do something else. I’ll be counseling, but just the special bond we all had. Because we’re all really good friends. So I’m moving away from my best friends.”