Paul Moyer: A Broadcasting Icon Retires

NBC4 celebrates the career of a colleague. Paul Moyer is a local boy that's done well. Since 1972 he has been delivering the straight story to you from his anchor chair. We now play him tribute and say thank you for the tremendous contributions he has made to Los Angeles broadcasting.

"Good Evening everyone it is 5 o'clock and I'm Paul Moyer.” Paul has delivered the news to generations of Angelenos. He grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles County and says, "I was a big news watcher as a kid. A big part was because I wanted to know what was going on. Somewhere in the back of my mind - I had an interest in what they were doing - may be someday I could do that."

Paul Moyer signed on the air as weekend anchor for "KNBC News Service" in February 1972. He was in good company. Paul recalls, "Look who we had at this station at one time. We had Tom Brokaw, Tom Snyder, Jess Marlow, Bryant Gumbel, Ross Porter, Stu Nahan, Pat Sajak - this station was a gift."

NBC4 anchor Colleen Williams says Paul had a special connection to viewers, "Paul grew up in Los Angeles. He was a Torrance boy. He grew up here. He really connected with viewers."

By 1973 big changes were afoot at the anchor desk with the departures of then NBC4 anchors Tom Brokaw and Tom Snyder. Paul remembers, "Brokaw left and went to New York in 1973 and i took the 11. Snyder left in 74 and i got the six."

Paul was now the lead anchor at channel four - playing a prominent role in Los Angeles broadcasting. NBC4 sportscaster Fred Roggin says, ”He defined the role and communicated with viewers."

In 1974, Paul covered one of the biggest news stories of the time … nothing like it had been - live on T.V. L.A.P.D. was involved in a deadly shootout with the S.L.A. kidnappers of heiress Patty Hearst. Paul says, "I will never forget this story because it was the first actual remote i had anchored from the studio. We were doing something so new to the station."

It is situations like that where Paul has excelled says NBC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman, "Anchor people earn their money not by reading the teleprompter - but in those occasional times when there is breaking news."

Paul co-hosted the popular "Sunday Show" with former NBC4 anchor Kelly Lange. Paul says he enjoyed the show, "It was live T.V. and it was so much fun to do." But it was his interview with T.V. legend Lucille Ball that made Paul the most nervous. "I didn't sleep that night. Lucille Ball is one of the biggest stars T.V. has ever had."

But Paul has a way of putting everyone at ease - including then NBC4 rookie sportscaster Bryant Gumbel, "When I first got there – I was doing weekends with Paul Moyer."

Paul would be part of NBC broadcast history when Kelly joined him as the company's first female anchor. Paul and Kelly co-anchored the news for nearly 5 years - until he left in 1979 to work for KABC. He would return in 1992... re-teamed with Kelly and with a new partner - Colleen Williams. Colleen reflects, "If there was a major event in Los Angeles in the past 15, 16, may be 17 years I shared it with Paul."

There have been wildfires, high profile murder trials, terrorist attacks and everyday events. Colleen says Paul was always prepared. "He was always prepped. Always ready to go. He had his info down before he sat down." Paul says you it’s a must to sit in the anchor chair, "You've got to be a reporter first - because the whole thing is about trust and believability."

NBC4 Executive Producer Wendy Harris offers this observation about Paul’s overall approach to breaking news, "When everything hits the fan you can count on Paul to bring it all together." Fritz Coleman agrees, "He is the anchor man and that is he is the pivotal player of our team."

Paul is tireless in his exposure of pressing problems - like counterfeit i.d.’s and credit card rip offs. His investigative reports on Playa Vista earned him the respected Peabody Award. Paul says winning that honor exceeded his dreams, "Are you kidding me? Are local guys supposed to win Peabodys?"

There have been other honors - but it may the landmark relationship with Colleen, Fritz and Fred that will be most remembered. Together they made up the longest running anchor team in Los Angeles.

Fritz says, "We are this family in the sense of what we have experienced for 20 years together." Colleen adds this thought, "We shared a lot of things. Our kids grew up together."

But Fred says Paul had another love beyond news, "He was a very committed and dedicated journalist. I think his heart was always with sports." A recent promo for NFL season may add some insight "Hey great show Mr. Moyer. Thanks kid! It was a tough one. Hey kid! (Paul tosses anchor jacket to young kid) Wow!"

Athlete or not, Colleen says Paul may not have the talent needed to hit the dance floor, "Paul was a great athlete. He wasn't the best dancer in the world. I have seen Paul dance - and he won't be dancing when he retires."

In his 25 years at NBC4 - Paul says he has had a few looks, "Bad hair… bad clothes." Fred says, "When Paul started in the 70's, he had enormous hair. It looked like a beehive."

Paul never took himself too seriously such as when he spoofed colleague Tom Snyder on the air. Here’s what he said, "For the last couple of years people have written in - called into KNBC and said Paul Moyer looks something like Tom Snyder. I am here to tell you that's not true - tonight November 21, 1974."

As he enters retirement - Paul's colleagues offer these heartfelt reflections. Fred says, "When the big book of television is written where will Paul Moyer end up? He'll end up at the very top of his profession."

Colleen says of Paul, "As a partner, I can't think of anyone who was more professional." While Wendy Harris offers this salute, "Paul if anyone deserves to relax and have a great time now - you do."

But it’s Fritz who makes this special plea, "I would like to do an on-air appeal - if I could rent his guest house for a reasonable amount of money. Please - I will do yard work… I will shop… I will be a man servant."


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