PHILADELPHIA news anchor Jim Gardner signed off for the last time on Tuesday night after a four-and-a-half-decade career with 6ABC Action News.
Jim Gardner started as an anchor for 6ABC in 1977 and expressed his hope that he more than fulfilled his duties to his viewers who tuned in every night at 11pm.
Why did Jim Gardner retire?
Jim Gardner left behind a 45-year legacy on January 12 when he said goodbye to his 6ABC news family and his viewers for the last time.
He will not be completely leaving the station until the end of the year, according to the president and general manager of 6ABC, Bernie Prazenica.
The 11pm anchor position will be filled by 6ABC longtime reporter Rick Williams who officially took over the position on January 12.
Following the announcement, Gardner has moved to the 6pm slot as an anchor alongside Ducis Rodgers and Cecily Tynan.
Over the last several years, Garder considered retirement but has said the ongoing news from former President Donald Trump's four-year tenure to the Covid-19 pandemic was just too interesting to walk away.
However, last year he made the final decision to retire from the news, hoping to end his career with 6ABC in the same way as meteorologist Dave Rogers who retired in 2009.
Rogers ended his career with the station by switching to the 6pm slot as well, prompting Gardner to do the same.
“For many of us, Jim is the last news voice we hear before ending our day. He has guided us through the good and the bad with calm confidence for more than 40 years, often reassuring us that tomorrow will bring a better day," Prazenica said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Thankfully, we have another year with him during the 6 p.m. newscast, and we look forward to his continued presence and leadership.”
What has he covered over his 45-year career?
Gardner, now 73, started at 6ABC on May 11, 1977, when he was only 28 years old.
His first segment reported on the SEPTA board voting to raise the fares on city buses, trolleys, and subways from 35 cents to 45 cents, Houston won against the Sixers, 118 to 94, and the Philly's lost to the Giants in a landslide victory of 42-2.
Although Gardner was the 6ABC Action News anchor, much of his more historic reporting took place on the ground and often, overseas.
In 1985, Gardner traveled to Rein Mein airport base outside of Frankfurt, West Germany as American hostages were released from Lebanon.
He set off for Russia in 1991 to report on the collapse of the Soviet Union and on a local level covered every Democratic and Republican convention since 1980.
"Rick has a rare combination of being a great newsman and an even better person!" Tom Davis, 6ABC's vice president of news told the Philly Voice.
"He's truly earned our viewers' respect and trust."
What did Jim Gardner say during his final segment?
Jim Gardner ended his final night as the 11pm anchor on 6ABC Action News with words of graciousness to his colleagues and viewers who have put their trust in him and the station.
His first night on the 11pm news was "about 16,500 newscasts ago," Gardner said, adding, "Our goal for each one … was to present a responsible, accurate, thoughtful, and compelling account of the days' happenings.
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Nobody is more grateful than I for the special, no, unique relationship between Action News and you, our viewers. In a sense, we made a bargain long ago.
"We give you our respect and commitment to honest and fair reporting, and you give us your trust. And I can't help but feel that happens here in a way that is more authentic and even more intimate than anywhere else.
"Everyone at this station cherishes that. And no one more than I."
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