Rob Starbuck is one of the most pleasant and straightforward folks you’ll ever meet. This morning was his last broadcast as the long-time anchor of the News 3 morning show on WISC-TV in Madison. He was given an appropriate send-off by his friends and colleagues.
The photo above shows Rob recording his last news cut-in for the CBS morning show.
During the broadcast this morning, Channel 3 showed a whole bunch of recorded inserts from Rob’s former colleagues – including my wife – wishing Rob well on his retirement. Rob has accomplished something which is extremely rare in broadcasting these days – he was able to retire on his on terms, on his own timetable. Far too often nowadays, TV news folks are simply shown the door when they reach a certain age. Their contract isn’t renewed, or they’re simply “let go”.
Kudos to Television Wisconsin, Inc. for allowing Rob to retire and not tossing him to the curb.
I’ve known Rob for decades, going way back to the 70’s when I was working in radio in Oshkosh and Rob was working a few miles west in Ripon at WCWC radio…..”wick-wick radio” as we called it. Once in a while something would happen between Ripon and Oshkosh, some horrid car wreck or barn fire…and either I’d call Rob’s newsroom or he’d call mine to say “you got anything on this?” Rob made the move to Green Bay TV, where I watched him every weekend. He was a consummate TV pro from the very beginning.
Here’s a nice shot of Rob with his “work wives” and his real wife, Joy Cardin. (Yes, THAT Joy Cardin, of Wisconsin Public Radio fame.) On the left is Cheryl Shubert , who co-anchored the TV3 morning show with Rob back in the 80’s and 90’s. For a couple years in the mid-90’s, I would do a live TV segment with Cheryl and Rob called “The Week Ahead” every Monday morning, where Cheryl and I would talk about the big news events we expected to report on in the coming week. Tim DeLay would drive the Channel 3 remote truck over to my radio news studio, set up a camera, and we’d do the 7-minute segment live at around 6:45 AM. I still have lots of videotapes from those days!
Second from the left and next to Rob is Susan Siman, the News 3 veteran who does the Live at Five show now but was Rob’s morning co-anchor after Cheryl left. On Rob’s other side is his real wife, Joy Cardin, and on the right is the young woman who’s co-anchored with Rob for the past several years, Charlotte Deleste.
Above is a great gag shot of Rob tossing a chair into the air from the Channel 3 “Back Yard Weather Patio”, with News 3 morning show Meteorologist Haddie McClean looking on from the left and Rob's co-anchor Charlotte Deleste on the right. It’s a great shot because the LAST thing Rob Starbuck would ever do is actually throw something in anger. He is probably the most even-tempered person you’d ever meet. I’ve never even heard Rob raise his voice. Sometimes in jest he’d say something like “I want to just pick this desk up and overturn it” but everyone knew he wasn’t serious. That’s why this shot is so funny – it’s Rob doing something Rob would never do!
I wish Rob all the best in retirement – and sure hope we can connect for coffee once in a while, now that he doesn’t have to get up at oh-dark-thirty (literally, 1 AM) to be in to work. Rob’s going to teach yoga in his spare time now and enjoy life, and, finally, get a chance to listen to his wife’s morning show on Public Radio! Rob is the consummate pro, respected by every one of his peers and every one of his viewers. I’m so glad he was able to “do it his way” and retire on his clock – to figuratively have his cake, and eat it, too.
Godspeed, Rob. I’ll call you about getting together for coffee.