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John Lomax retiring from WKRC-TV in April

John Kiesewetter
John Lomax waves to the crowd in the 2014 Opening Day parade.

John Lomax has anchored morning newscasts for 32 of his 39 years at Channel 12.

Shortly after the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series in 1990, John Lomax started co-anchoring WKRC's one-hour 6 a.m. Good Morning Cincinnati that November with Jill Kelly and meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer.

After 32 years as a morning news anchor — and 39 years at Local 12 News — Lomax will retire Friday, April 29.

"With the schedule you have to keep on the morning show, the reality is that you do miss out on certain things. I’m looking forward to exploring those experiences in the coming years," said Lomax, 70, in announcing his retirement this morning.

"It’s a job that I have truly loved, yet it is also a job that has it sacrifices. Again, I wouldn’t change a thing because I loved what I did," he said.

Lomax was hired June 13, 1983, under news anchor Nick Clooney as the Northern Kentucky reporter. He considered the job a "stepping stone," and that he'd "head somewhere else in the country after a few years. Yet, after I arrived, I just fell in love with the place and never really wanted to leave. It has been a great experience."

In the early 1980s, he "was always a 'utility guy' here, and was asked to fill in for anchors (even weekend sports on occasion) since I started," he told me in May two years ago, when he voluntarily cut back his scheduleto anchor only the second half of Good Morning Cincinnati, from 7-9 a.m. on WSTR-TV (Channel 64) and 9-10 a.m. on Channel 12.

John Lomax was hired in 1983 to be WKRC-TV's Northern Kentucky reporter.
Courtesy WKRC-TV
John Lomax was hired in 1983 to be WKRC-TV's Northern Kentucky reporter.

"Nick Clooney was the main anchor then. I’ve never really patterned myself after anyone in the business in terms of on-air performance, but Nick was the gold standard for how to conduct yourself professionally and the type of mindset you need to approach the job. He embraced me from my beginning at Channel 12 and I’d do anything for him."

His current Good Morning Cincinnati coworkers — Sheila Gray, Bob Herzog, Tera Blake and Jen Dalton — feel the same way about their newsroom mentor, father figure and friend they affectionately called the "Godfather of News."

"These past eight years sitting next to John Lomax and the rest of our team have been such a gift," Gray told me this morning. "I can't imagine my life without the absolute depth of John's friendship and love, not to mention his wisdom. He truly cares about every person and life he touches in a way that's unique to him. His career here in the Tri-State has been so much more than a profession to him, and it's evident in everything he does."

"It’s very difficult to express just how much John means to me," Herzog told me. "It is one of the greatest blessings of my life that I’ve spent 16-plus years with him in that studio.

"I’m an infinitely better broadcaster because of him but, more importantly, I’m a better person. He’s a mentor. A friend. And, after losing my dad in 2014, he became a special source of wisdom that I needed in my life. He's the best, man."

When I saw Lomax at Opening Day parades, the Reds' 150th anniversary open house at Great American Ball Park in 2019, or other events, he always had his camera in hand.

John Kiesewetter
John Lomax taking pictures at the 2014 Opening Day parade.

"You know, I really enjoy photography and want to do more of that, and sleep in a bit, too," Lomax said in 2020. "I’ve gotten up so early for so long, I was just tired of being tired."

Cutting back on his TV hours in 2020 allowed him to sleep in to 4:45 a.m., instead of waking up at 1:30 a.m. He's counting down the days until he no longer needs an alarm clock.

"I’m looking forward to taking some time for myself now. Sleeping in and connecting with family are going to be at the top of my to-do list," he says.

Chances are he'll be have his camera near by, too.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.