Longtime FOX 13 anchorwoman Hope Woodside announced her departure from the station on Tuesday, ending the run of the longest-tenured anchor team in Utah television history.
Woodside went to the station on Tuesday to record a minutelong farewell that aired during Channel 13’s 9 p.m. newscast. The anchorwoman had been off the air since Aug. 8 while she considered her future.
“During my time away, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my life, and I’ve decided it’s time to leave my Fox family,” Woodside said before thanking viewers and her colleagues and going on to say, “I’ve decided now is the right time to step away from the newsroom.”
Her decision to step away comes after nearly 23 years anchoring KSTU’s 9 p.m. newscast.
“Hope has been the face of the station, with Bob Evans,” said KSTU’s president and general manager, Tim Ermish. “They’re the longest-running anchor team, possibly, in the country, and one of the most popular that this market has ever seen."
Woodside joined the station on Oct. 30, 1995, and she and Evans have been KSTU’s primary anchor team since then — a remarkable run in any television market; an unprecedented partnership in Utah.
(Dick Nourse anchored the news at KSL for 43 years until his retirement in 2007, but he did it alongside multiple co-anchors. Michelle King, who left KUTV in 2007 after 23 years as that station’s primary anchorwoman, is the only woman to anchor a late newscast longer than Woodside in the Salt Lake TV market — but only by a few months.)
Evans said he’s been “blessed to work beside” Woodside.
“While I’m sad that our work partnership is now over, I take comfort in that our dear friendship continues," he added. "She is a wonderful, loving, kind person, who cares deeply about other people.”
And, while Woodside didn’t announce what she plans to do next, as she was “signing off for the last time” she added, “And I hope to see you around town. So if you see me, please stop and say hello.”
When Woodside joined the station in 1995, the viability of a 9 p.m. local newscast was still very much in doubt. Less than four years after launching its news operation, FOX 13 was an also-ran in the ratings, airing just one hourlong newscast per day.
Nearly 23 years later, Woodside’s departure comes as the station is on a roll. The 9 p.m. newscast is a successful fixture on KSTU, which airs more hours of local news than any of its competitors — 10½ hours each weekday — and leads pretty much across the board in the demographics prized by advertisers.
Since 1995, the station has been through multiple owners, multiple general managers, multiple news directors — but Woodside and Evans were a constant.
Woodside arrived at KSTU from a three-year stint as the morning anchor of Chicago Cableland News, a 24-hour news service. She had previously anchored newscasts in Toledo, Ohio, and Midland, Texas.
“Hope is an outstanding journalist who has been a leader in the FOX 13 newsroom and in our community for more than 23 years,” Ermish said. "We wish her much happiness and success as she enters the next chapter in her life.”
No decision has been made yet on Woodside’s successor as a permanent co-anchor to work alongside Evans.
“It’s a huge decision that we don’t take lightly,” Ermish said. “We have to take our time.”
Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is a content partner with FOX 13.
Correction: Sept. 26, 8 a.m. >> An earlier version of this story misstated the date of Woodside’s last regular newscast.