WKYC (Cleveland) Anchor Robin Swoboda will anchor her last newscast for the station tomorrow night. She’s not retiring. She’s not withdrawing from public life. She’s just calling it quits as a news anchor.
“Your contract has an expiration date, and, when it expires, you need to decide whether or not to renew,” Swoboda said from her home in Medina. “And my heart just isn’t in doing the news anymore, so it’s as simple as that. I’m too young and too bored to retire. My desire would be that, whatever I end up doing, I can wear cowboy boots.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that she emphasizes that her decision has nothing to do with WKYC, where she has co-anchored the 7 p.m. newscast with Jim Donovan. It has everything to do with reassessing life and goals and aspirations as she moves into her mid-50s.
“When I walked away from a station before, it was to spend more time with my family or for another job opportunity,” Swoboda said. “This feels different, because it’s completely my choice and it doesn’t have anything to do with outside influences. This is just me saying, ‘This just isn’t me.’ ”
Swoboda told The Plain Dealer earlier this month that "there has been so much bad news during the past three years," it has been "quite wearing on me personally."
“I will certainly miss the people at Channel 3,” Swoboda said. “I’ve always said that Channel 8 didn’t have a lock on good people. The station couldn’t have been better to me.
“But your employer deserves somebody with their whole heart in the job, and I deserve to be happy. And I don’t know what that will be, but I know what it isn’t.”
What it isn’t? That’s the easy part – being a news anchor.
The anchor chair no longer is a comfortable perch, and it hasn’t been for many years. The golden era for Swoboda clearly was that 1986-91 stint as Taylor’s 6 and 11 p.m. co-anchor at Channel 8. The popular news team included two other pals, weatherman Dick Goddard and sports anchor Casey Coleman.
“Tim Taylor and I’ve stayed in touch, and he has said to me that Jimmy and I come close to what we had before at Channel 8,” Swoboda said. “And that’s a lovely compliment, and, if I could sustain it, that would be a lovely thing. But I can’t anymore, and I have to be honest about that for myself and for the station.”
Now for the hard part. What to do next?
“Whatever it is, I want it to be something that will be positive and bring a lot of love and joy and happiness to people,” she said. “I think I have the right idea. I just need to find the right outlet, or outlets, for that. Go with your strength. So now we’ll see if I have any.”
She’s thinking about motivational speaking, commercials and perhaps a podcast. She’s also had discussions about a radio spot and a possible newspaper column.
“I’ve had the opportunity in the past couple of weeks to do some public speaking,” Swoboda said. “And I love that personal contact with a captive audience.
“I love people, and I love making them laugh. That’s extremely gratifying, although, if any of them have ever heard Dick Goddard speak, I have to correct the crazy exaggerations he has told them about me.”
She hasn’t even completely closed the door at WKYC.
“The contract is up, and we’re just closing the door on me doing the 7 o’clock newscast,” Swoboda said. “Who knows? Right now, I sure don’t. That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Maybe I’ve gotten a little older and wiser. Then again, maybe not.”