Houston’s own Dave Ward—long known for kicking off our local ABC 13 Eyewitness News program with his well-known greeting, “Good evening, friends”—recently garnered a Guinness World Record as the longest-running news broadcaster on a single station. This November, the beloved newsman will celebrate 50 years at the station, with 48 of those behind the news desk.
However, up in Rochester, New York, there’s another contender, as we learned from a June column in the city’s Democrat and Chronicle, “Dear Guinness Book, You’re Wrong,” which makes the claim that anchor Don Alhart from WHAM-TV, ABC 13’s Rochester affiliate, deserves the title instead.
We love Dave Ward, but we had to investigate.
Both started out as reporter/photographers—Alhart on June 6, 1966, and Ward on November 9 of the same year—but Ward beat Alhart to the anchor desk. “In terms of career as a broadcaster at one station, Don has been doing it longer,” says Chuck Samuels, WHAM’s general manager. “If you are talking about anchoring a newscast, then Dave Ward would hold that title.”
The Guinness folks tell us they consider anyone who appears on camera to be a broadcaster. And because the dates are so tight and it was, you know, 50 years ago, figuring out which man made his TV debut first turns out to be no easy proposition. But presumably, a determination will be made. Of course, even if Ward comes out on top, whether it will stick remains a question, as he's announced that he'll be retiring at the end of the year.
Whatever happens, Ward will always be a record breaker to us.