Update 8:45 a.m. Thursday April 18: Clyde Gray says he's "blown away." Carol Williams quoted a Macklemore/Kesha song. Here's what the former WCPO-TV news co-anchors told me about heading into the Greater Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame June 27:
CLYDE GRAY: "I am simply blown away by this unexpected Honor. To be recognized by so prestigious a group of professional journalists is more than I ever expected. What makes it so sweet is the company in which I find myself for this honor: Carol Williams, my longtime colleague and dear friend; and Mike Phillips, who has blazed quite a journalistic trail in this community."
CAROL WILLIAMS: "It's an honor to be inducted into the SPJ Hall of Fame, and lovely to receive that honor with Clyde. I am truly grateful for Clyde and all the friends I worked with at WCPO.
"Do you know the Macklemore/Kesha song: 'I wish somebody would have told me, babe/ Some day these will be the good old days.' I'm not super-nostalgic, and life is good now, but I am grateful for our "Good Old Days." We had a lot of fun.
CLYDE GRAY: "All I ever wanted to be was good at the craft of journalism. This award means my peers believe I hit that mark, and I am grateful to them for selecting me."
Original story 4:20 p.m. Wednesday April 17: This is cool: Longtime WCPO-TV co-anchors Clyde Gray and Carol Williams will be inducted together into the Greater Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame.
They'll go in with Mike Philipps, retired Scripps Howard Foundation president and former editor of the Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post, at a June 27 meeting of the Greater Cincinnati Professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
"The discussion was very simple -- if you induct Clyde Gray, you have to pair it with inducting Carol Williams. They were a team on the air -- they are a team going into the Greater Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame," says Tom McKee, their former WCPO-TV co-worker and a Greater Cincinnati SPJ board member.
Gray left WCPO-TV in 2014 after 23 years to work for his own public relations and marketing company and spend more time with his family. After an audition at WXIX-TV with Tricia Macke, he returned to Channel 9 in May of last year to join Mona Morrow as co-host of the half-hour Cincy Lifestyle interview show (10 a.m. weekdays, Channel 9) produced for the Channel 9 sales department.
Before switching to Channel 9, Gray did two stints at WLWT-TV, first in 1979 and returning in 1985. When Jerry Springer was news anchor, Gray reported from Channel 5's Northern Kentucky bureau in a Covington hotel room overlooking the Cincinnati skyline. He switched in 1990 to anchor at Channel 9, and also report for the investigative I-Team, which won a prestigious DuPont Award and regional Emmys during his tenure.
Williams retired from WCPO-TV in 2017 after 33 years. She was hired in 1986, when legendary anchorman Al Schottelkotte was still co-anchoring the 6 p.m. news. The 11 p.m. Clyde and Carol newscast was No. 1 in the ratings when she left the late-news in 1997 to work a day shift, because she was a single mother who wanted to be home evenings with her daughter. She returned to the 11 p.m. news in 2003.
For Channel 9, she covered presidential debates and national political conventions, and she interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, first lady Barbara Bush, Oprah Winfrey and tennis star Billie Jean King. She now teaches broadcast writing at the University of Cincinnati, tutors at her neighborhood school and enjoys having dinner at night with her husband, Michael Barrett.
After serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Philipps worked 21 years at the Cincinnati and Kentucky Post as a reporter, assistant city editor, editorial writer, science editor, news editor, metro editor and assistant managing editor before being named editor and CEO in 2001. From 2008-15, he ran the Scripps Howard Foundation.
Since retiring, Philipps has volunteered as a site team member for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, and with the United States Coast Guard and auxiliary.
The induction ceremony will be during the SPJ's Excellence in Journalism Awards presentation on Thursday, June 27 at the law offices of Frost Brown Todd in the Queen City Square tower downtown.