Wilma Smith (newscaster)

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Wilma Smith
Born Wilma Pokorny
(1946-07-24)July 24, 1946
Garfield Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Bowling Green State University, 1968, B.A. (Speech, English), 1972, M.A. (Journalism)
Occupation Television news anchor
Years active 1972-2013
Known for Longtime TV news anchor/reporter in Cleveland, OH market
Spouse(s) Tom Gerber. 1982-Present

Wilma Smith (born July 24, 1946) was an American local television news anchor from 1977 to 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was with Fox affiliate WJW-TV from 1994 to 2013, following 17 years at ABC affiliate WEWS-TV.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born Wilma Pokorny, Smith was born and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Garfield Heights.[1][2] She graduated from Garfield Heights High School in 1964 and then earned a bachelor's degree in speech and English from Bowling Green State University.[1][2] She also holds a master's degree in broadcast journalism.[1][2]


WXEX-TV (1972-1977)[edit]

Smith began her broadcasting career in 1972 at ABC affiliate WXEX, Channel 8, in Richmond, Virginia.[2][3] She was the host and producer of a daily one-hour talk show and anchored the 6 p.m. weekday newscasts, which made her the state's first primetime female anchor.[3]

WEWS-TV (1977-1994)[edit]

Her broadcasting career in Cleveland started at ABC affiliate WEWS, Channel 5, on July 17, 1977, when she became co-host of Afternoon Exchange, and early evening news/interview program.[1][2] She co-hosted the news program Live On 5 beginning in 1982 and the following year began co-anchoring the 11 p.m. newscast with longtime anchor Ted Henry.[2] Her final on-air appearance at the station was in December 1993.

WJW-TV (1994-2013)[edit]

After completing a contractual no-compete waiting period, Smith joined Cleveland's WJW, Channel 8, in 1994.[1][2] The move occurred around the time that the station was switching from being a CBS affiliate to Fox. From 1995 to 2005, Smith was the co-anchor of the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. newscasts with longtime anchor Tim Taylor.[1][2] In 2005, Smith and Taylor reduced their schedules to anchoring only the 6 p.m. newscast.[2] In December that year, Taylor retired and since then Smith has been anchoring the newscast with Lou Maglio.[1][2] Their newscast is number one in the local ratings.[1]

On March 18, 2013, Smith announced that she would retire from her 41-year broadcasting career two months later.[1][2] She said, "It’s a lovely gift to be able to leave on your own terms" and "It’s been a wonderful career".[1] Her last day was May 22, 2013.[4][5]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 10-time Lower Great Lakes Emmy Award winner.[1][2]
  • 1999 Silver Circle Award winner (Lower Great Lakes Emmy Awards)[6]
  • In various polls, she won several titles such as "Cleveland’s Most Watchable Woman", "Best Anchorperson in Cleveland", "Anchor of Excellence", "Newscaster of the Year", and "Best Anchorperson".[1]
  • Appeared on the cover of Cleveland Magazine five times.[1]
  • Interviewed four presidents.[1]
  • Named "Cleveland’s Citizen of the Year for Community Service and Contribution to the Arts".[3]
  • Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee (class of 1993)[7]
  • Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee (class of 2003)[8]
  • A proclamation from the Garfield Heights City Council and Mayor's office on May 13, 2013.[9]
  • Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame inductee (class of 2014)[10]

Personal life[edit]

Smith resides in Lakewood, Ohio, with her husband Tom and their dogs.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Loreno, Darcie (March 18, 2013). "Wilma Smith’s Big Announcement!". Fox 8 Cleveland. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dawidziak, Mark (March 18, 2013). "Wilma Smith announced she is retiring, ending her 35-year Cleveland broadcast career". The Plain Dealer. 
  3. ^ a b c "Wilma Smith". The Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Dabrowski, Jessica (May 22, 2013). "Wilma Smith's Final Thoughts". Fox 8 Cleveland. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (May 22, 2013). "Wilma Smith Bids Viewers Goodbye with Emotional Final Newscast". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ Silver Circle Award winners - NATAS (Lower Great Lakes)
  7. ^ "Inductees by induction year". The Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Smith indicted into Cleveland Broadcasters HOF". Cleveland Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  9. ^ "Smith receives official proclamation" (PDF). City of Garfield Heights. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  10. ^ Smith inducted into HOF - Cleveland Press Club

External links[edit]