TAMPA — Longtime Tampa Bay news anchor Brendan McLaughlin is leaving WFTS-Ch. 28 after 21 years, the latest in a series of anchor retirements and departures from local television stations.
McLaughlin will stay in the Tampa Bay area and pursue other projects after his last day on air Dec. 18.
"Broadcast journalism can be an all-consuming career. That's why, after nearly three decades in the business, I've decided to take a sabbatical — time to read, travel and explore all the things there was never time for," McLaughlin said. He broke the news about his departure on his Facebook page.
He joins a long list of high-profile anchors to vacate their chairs in the last year.
Longtime Fox 13 anchor John Wilson retired last November, followed by WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor Gayle Sierens in May.
McLaughlin's WFTS colleague Linda Hurtado went off the air in May to spend more time with her family. In October John Thomas, the weekend morning anchor for the ABC station, also left abruptly.
And anchor Denise White retired last month from Fox 13, which announced Wednesday that it was hiring Hurtado to co-anchor it's 5 p.m. broadcast and anchor its noon program.
McLaughlin is currently the 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. anchor on ABC Action News. He began his career in television news in San Francisco and also worked in Seattle and Austin, Texas, before coming to Tampa Bay. He has won several awards for his reporting, which includes stories on the Loma Prieta earthquake that interrupted the World Series in 1989 to reports from Cuba, Iraq and Vietnam.
"Knowing Brendan's sense of commitment, we understand and fully support his decision to invest his time more fully in projects he is passionate about," said WFTS Vice President and General Manager Nick Nicholson.
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