Kelly Ring, the award-winning co-anchor of Fox 13′s evening news, announced during the station’s 6 p.m. newscast Tuesday that she is retiring after 37 years at WTVT.
Her last broadcast will be May 25, she said, so she will have some time to revisit some favorite stories and topics.
Ring first joined WTVT-Ch. 13 in 1985, when the station was a CBS affiliate. She went on to spend 21 years as co-anchor alongside John Wilson, who retired in 2014. Wilson was replaced by his son Mark Wilson, who is now co-anchor with Ring at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
She choked up as she made the announcement, talking about arriving as a young reporter in her 20s, “spending all of my adult life” at the station, getting married and having three kids “practically on air.”
Ring has received three Emmy awards and has traveled overseas to cover news in Saudi Arabia, the Russian medical crisis and the Cuban political crisis.
Paul Dellegatto, the station’s chief meteorologist, quipped that she’s one of the greatest of all time, saying, “Now we have to get two GOATS to change their minds — Tom Brady and you.”
Ring will be 62 in October and is among a handful of Tampa Bay women journalists, such as Gayle Sierens at WFLA-Ch. 8, who managed to avoid the stigma that women over 35 wouldn’t be welcomed by viewers. Instead, they became superstars among local media.
“I have immense gratitude for all of you who have allowed me into your home every night for the last three decades,” she said. “But it’s time. I’ve worked the night shift a long time.”
Ring said she is looking forward to traveling with her husband and visiting her grown children.
She grew up in Dardanelle, Ark., and graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. Ring’s first professional television position was with WXII-TV in Winston Salem, N.C., where she was a general assignment reporter. She came directly to Tampa’s Ch. 13 from WXII-TV in 1985.
In 1990, Ring was selected to succeed Kelly Craig on the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. She had previously co-anchored 13 Eyewitness News at Five with Hugh Smith.
Ring was at the anchor desk in 1994 when WTVT-Ch. 13 saw its dominance of the local TV market vanish after it switched from a CBS affiliate to the Fox network in a giant shuffle of Tampa Bay station affiliations. But within four years, the station rebounded significantly as WTVT once again snagged the top spot in local ratings.
Co-anchor Mark Wilson said he was grateful she had “softened the blow by allowing us to have you for three more months.”
“Not only have you been sharing your talents with our viewers for 37 years,” Wilson said, “but you’ve been able to manage to raise your beautiful family while working at night — which is so difficult — but still having the utmost dedication for your job. I know our viewers appreciate that, and we always will as well.”