Monday, July 24, 2017

R.I.P.: Longtime DC TV Anchor Jim Vance

Washington DC news anchorman Jim Vance, who anchored for NBC Washington for more than four decades, has died, NBC Washington announced on its website Saturday.

He was 75, according to WTOP Radio.

“We are heartbroken to announce that Jim Vance died this morning,” NBC Washington’s President and General Manager Jackie Bradford wrote on NBC Washington’s website.

“For more than 45 years, Jim Vance was not only the soul of NBC4 but of the entire Washington area. His smooth voice, brilliant mind and unforgettable laugh leaves each of us with a tremendous void,” she wrote.

Vance had recently announced that he was battling cancer. He had manned the anchor desk this summer in between treatments, telling concerned viewers, “I have been coming into work with my partners here whenever I can, and I shall continue to do that. In fact, I will insist on doing that.”

As the region’s longest-serving television news anchor, according to The Washington Post, after three years as a reporter for Channel 4, Vance ascended to the anchor’s chair in 1972, putting him in the first wave of black news anchors in major news markets. In addition to reading the news, he also delivered pointed commentaries, often on sensitive racial topics.

Vance sat alongside a revolving cast of co-anchors and was often second or third in the local ratings until he teamed with Doreen Gentzler in 1989. Together, with sportscaster George Michael and meteorologist Bob Ryan, they vaulted Channel 4 to the top of the local ratings and stayed there for more than 25 years.

He was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in 2007, and won a total of 17 Emmy awards, according to NBC Washington. Vance was also awarded the Ted Yates Award for outstanding community service and honored as “Washingtonian of the Year” by the Washingtonian magazine in 1976.

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