WKBN is saying goodbye to a fixture in the news industry.
Storm Team 27 Forecaster Rich Morgan is retiring from First News after decades in the business on March 1.
More: View tributes from former WKBN anchors, stories from Rich’s career and more.
Rich was part of the original morning news crew from the launch of First News This Morning in 1992. Before that, Valley viewers were very familiar with Rich from his long career in radio.
Rich’s radio career began in 1972 while working at WKSU-AM, WKSU-FM and WDMT-FM. By the time he arrived in Youngstown in 1979, he had worked at 10 radio stations.
“I got a letter in the mail, and I was turned down. It was a nice letter, but the letter was signed by the program director at the time — Don Guthrie,” Rich recalled. “When I finally got the job here, he was really my first friend. He couldn’t be more helpful.”
Rich prevailed in his job search, and WKBN Broadcasting offered him the versatility of working on television as well as AM and FM radio all in the same location.
Rich learned the lay of the land by doing live radio broadcasts around the Mahoning Valley in Rollin’ Radio.
A week after he had been at the radio position, Rich was asked to fill in, reporting the weather for the noon newscast.
“Back then, the noon news was only 15 minutes long,” Rich said. “And Chris Davidson was the anchor for that. Shortly after that, they decided to expand the noon news to a half hour long and Bob Black was the initial anchor for that.”
He also hosted the long-running “Money Movie” for its final seven years, which to this day still has viewers sharing their favorite memories of the show.
Two hours of a movie would air during a show. During that movie, Rich would make random phone calls, giving away a big jackpot.
Rich shared some of his strangest phone calls, saying he reached a local bar during one of his phone calls. A patron there picked up the phone, and he had “a few choice words” because he was so excited.
Rich said the bar’s owner quickly picked up the phone to apologize.
As for his scariest assignment as a reporter, Rich says it’s riding the Millenium Force roller coaster at Cedar Point.
He quickly got over his fear of heights, however, and counts the ride as one of his favorites at the park.
Rich said he’ll miss his coworkers after his retirement.
“But the other side of the coin is the people who are the viewers. They’ve actually given me 40 years,” he said.
He thanked his loyal viewers for all of the years watching him on TV.
After Rich’s retirement, Meteorologist Alex George will take the reins in the Storm Team 27 Weather Center Monday through Friday on First News This Morning.
Would you like to wish Rich a happy retirement? Send him your message here.