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After 34 Years, WFAA's John McCaa Says It's Time To Travel And Relax

Gus Contreras
John McCaa will lead the WFAA-TV anchor chair on March 1.

One of the iconic figures in North Texas news made some news himself this week.

WFAA-TV anchor John McCaa announced he'll retire next spring after 34 years at Channel 8. McCaa shares his experience and what he’s looking forward to in retirement in this week's Friday Conversation.

Interview Highlights

On why he decided to retire

"Thirty-four years seems like the right time. I do think that television news is moving in a different direction than it has in the past. In some senses, the news has switched from 'watch this' to 'watch me,' and I've never been a 'watch me' guy. That's just not something that interests me, so now seems to be the good time."

On being a role model for journalists of color

"I'm 64. When I was a kid growing up in Omaha, the only black folk on TV I saw were people who were getting arrested, and I had no relatives like that. No one was doing the news. When I got my degree, older black folk who lived in Omaha when I got my job in television, they said, 'Let me be blunt: don't go out there and embarrass us.'

"So, you really carry this sense of 'You haven't done this your own. Other people have done this for you to get this opportunity.' Every day I think about that — do I hope that I've given people that hope? Oh, absolutely. I probably kind of shrugged it off because it's not easy for me to talk about and not get emotional. Because I have been there, I know what those young people are going through. I had black people tell me, 'This isn't going to happen.' " 

On what's next in life

I have been telling my wife for years that we're going to spend more time just enjoying each other’s company. She has put up with terrible hours, so I think the two of us want to spend more time together. I finished a Ph.D. so I want to work, I'd like to teach some college. We have an interest in moving closer to her family down along the Valley, and taking life a little easier. 

Interview responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Gus Contreras is a digital producer and reporter at KERA News. Gus produces the local All Things Considered segment and reports on a variety of topics from, sports to immigration. He was an intern and production assistant for All Things Considered in Washington D.C.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.