The Final Goodnight: Robin Reed signs off after 40 years

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:14 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - When Robin Reed signs off for the last time Friday evening. It will cap off a tremendous career spanning more than 40 years and begin his retirement.

For the last few weeks, you’ve been hearing about the impact Robin has had on our hometowns. And now, a close look at the impact you have had on him.

You can listen to an extended version of this story here:

For more than 40 years, Robin Reed has been an anchor, in more ways than one, for your Hometown Station.

And soon, he’ll greet viewers on air for the last time.

“Thanks for joining us this evening, I’m Robin Reed,” said Robin at the top of a recent newscast.

Robin joined us in the studio that day between newscasts to reflect on his career.

“I kind of look forward to when everything’s done in December, sitting back and saying, Wow, what a remarkable time.”

This remarkable time for Robin started a lifetime ago. In 1978, Robin landed a job as sports director at WHSV in Harrisonburg. On his first day, he met the person who would change his life forever.

“When I walked through the front door, she was sitting there. Wow,” he said, pausing, “‘This is gonna be a good place to work.’”

Teresa became his bride, the mother of his two children, and the anchor in their lives that helped allow Robin’s career to soar.

His skills and his grit were put to the test early on. The historic Flood of ‘85 brought with its catastrophic damage a professional and personal challenge for Robin. The overflowing Roanoke River washed away much of the life he and Teresa had worked to build together.

But what happened next is why he’s still here.

“We were feeling kind of low. We didn’t have any money. We were using it to try to replace things. So Teresa built a Christmas tree out of salt dough ornaments and popcorn,” he said. “...We muddled through and at the lowest point a knock came on the door.”

A Channel 7 co-worker handed Robin a pink envelope. He thought he’d been fired.

“{I} Walk inside, opened up the envelope. And it’s quite a bit of money,” Robin said. He explained how his colleagues took up a collection for him and a handful of other colleagues seriously impacted by the storm.

“And so this outreach of kindness and support, changed my life,” he said. The community also extended their gratitude and their support.

“As the weeks went on, people would stop me and have conversations with me and continue to reflect that they were glad I was here, and that we had talked them through the flood,” he said. “...And for me, that was the moment that we decided we would stay as long as it was feasible.”

Feasible gave way to enjoyable.

“You know, there’s something about lights and colors, and energy,” he said of the television studio. “And every day when I walked in, the computers were spinning, the lights were on, people were talking excitedly about whatever was about to happen next. You walk into most newsrooms, even today, there’s, there’s a camaraderie and a buzz that’s going on. And you just feel happy that you’re there.”

And all the while, he worked to give southwest Virginia the best he could on air and in the community. He was well known for his elementary school classroom visits and weather demonstrations at community events.

“Even now, when people greet me, and they’ll say things, like, ‘You came to my class when I was in kindergarten, and now I have kids, and you came to their class.’ And it’s like, wow, you know, that’s a long time.”

Robin’s experience in front of a class expanded from school cafeterias to higher education. It’s an opportunity he cherishes each and every semester as a professor at Virginia Tech.

“It’s complicated. It’s rich,” he said. “...Each day, I don’t know what it’s going to turn out like. And sometimes I don’t find out two years later what it turned out like, but when they give you credit down the road for something that they’re accomplishing, again on their own. That’s very gratifying.”

As the seasons in Roanoke come and go, so too have the seasons of life. Days leading Boy Scout troops eventually gave way to empty nesting.

And one day he added a new title: Grandpa.

“All of your priorities don’t change, but they become more magnified. I’m here for this purpose. I’m here to be a grandfather, I’m here to be a husband, I’m here to be a dad. I’ve given a lot to my career, given a lot to the community, lovingly, and wanted to be there. I think this is what retirement must look like when you can reset your priorities, but they’re the ones you want to do. And I’m looking forward to it.”

To the community, Robin extends his gratitude.

“Thank you for letting me hang around and get to know you. And thank you for letting me join your organizations and be in your schools and hug your kids and just be here. It is so gratifying to wake up each day and know that you’re welcome.”

And so, as Robin bids us one final goodnight, he will do so with no regrets, many memories and a full heart.

“The community has been so kind to me. How could you have any regrets? So, in total, it’s been wonderful.”

Editor Benjamin Riquelmy contributed to this story.