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Clyde Gray, Mona Morrow retiring from WCPO-TV

CLyde Gray and Mona Morrow have co-hosted "Cincy Lifestyle" at 10 a.m. weekdays on WCPO-TV since May 7, 2018.
Courtesy WCPO-TV
Clyde Gray and Mona Morrow have co-hosted "Cincy Lifestyle" at 10 a.m. weekdays on WCPO-TV since May 7, 2018.

It's the second retirement from Channel 9 by Gray, who left his news anchor job in 2014 only to return four years later to co-host "Cincy Lifestyle" with Morrow in 2018.

Two longtime WCPO-TV personalities — Clyde Gray and Mona Morrow — are retiring from the station and their weekday Cincy Lifestyle half-hour promotional program.

Gray was the station's main news anchor from 1990 until retiring in 2014, but returned to WCPO-TV four years later to host the daytime show produced by the Channel 9 sales department. He'll host his final Cincy Lifestyle 10 a.m. Friday, April 8.

Gray, who turns 67 in June, says that "it was clearly time to go when contract negotiations yielded no fruit."

He plans to do some "traveling and a few personal and community projects, but mostly, staying off the 'Cincinnati Motor Speedway' known as I-71 during rush hour. Let’s just say I’ll be enjoying the real Cincy Lifestyle."

Morrow, who was absent from Thursday's show to celebrate her birthday, announced on Facebook Thursday that she was retiring from WCPO-TV after 22 years on May 6. She's also the station's community affairs director. The Kennedy Heights native and Walnut Hills High School graduate interned at WLWT-TV in 1983, and worked four years at WXIX-TV as community affairs director before joining WCPO-TV in 2000.

"It is rare that someone gets to work their dream job for 26 years straight. God has blessed me to do just that," Morrow says.

"I am retiring from WCPO 9, but not from life," she says. "I really feel like my time at the station has come to an end and God has something else for me to do. I have loved my job. It was perfect for me, but it is time to move on. I plan to travel, volunteer and stay up late on a Sunday night! My first trip? My husband and I are going on a cruise to Alaska this summer. I have always wanted to be a teacher, so maybe I will do that in some way."

Jeff Brogan, WCPO-TV vice president and general manager, praised Morrow for making "a huge impact not only here at WCPO 9 but within the entire Cincinnati community. She's held many roles here, and her legacy is immeasurable," he says.

"There are so many things I can highlight; here are a few: Mona has literally helped the station raise millions of dollars for thousands of people in need in our area. She regularly helped connect us to the community voices who gave the station perspective and feedback about how we cover the news. And for 20 years she's trained, and mentored high school students interested in our industry through our Careers in Media program. We are going to miss her leadership," Brogan says.

Brogan says that "Clyde decided to move on and will be leaving WCPO 9 after tomorrow's show. He came out of retirement and his built-in connection to the audience helped us with a successful launch of Cincy Lifestyle."

In August 2014, Gray retired from WCPO-TV in the middle of his contract at age 59.

"After 37 years in broadcasting, I'm just looking for something different," he told me eight years ago. At that time, he had spent 33 years on Cincinnati TV — two stints at WLWT-TV (1979-83; 1985-90) before jumping to Channel 9. He said he was tired of working nights and breaking news nuking his schedule, keeping him away from his wife and then-7-year-old daughter.

He shunned the word "retiring," calling leaving TV to operate a public relations agency "an opportunity for me, and re-inventing myself, and re-wiring,” he said.

But four years later, he returned to WCPO — after auditioning for WXIX-TV's primetime co-anchor position with Tricia Macke in 2015 (which Rob Williams eventually filled). Gray told me in 2018 that he couldn't work for Fox 19 because of "a contractual obligation" to Channel 9.After "multiple conversations" with WCPO-TV, he returned to Channel 9's airwaves on May 7, 2018, for the premiere of Cincy Lifestyle as a half-hour daytime program with Morrow.

"Both Clyde and Mona were an integral part of creating a unique, informative, and fun show, and we are forever grateful," Brogan says.

Cincy Lifestyle will continue. The station is "actively recruiting for two new hosts," he says.

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.