WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) A fixture of the Wichita television market signed off for the last time on May 23rd. KWCH and KSCW Anchor Roger Cornish said his final goodbye during KWCH 12 Eyewitness News at 6:00 p.m., and thanked the KWCH viewers, with a smile, for their patience as he tried to figure out what he was “supposed to be doing.”
“Roger joked that he spent the last 40 years trying to figure things out and I’m sure he figured it out a long time ago,” Vice President and General Manager Brad Moses said. “I don’t think Roger realizes just how much he means to the station and the viewers. He was instrumental in one of the greatest turnarounds in broadcast history and is retiring from a station that truly appreciates his years of hard work and community service.”
Roger often described KWCH (then KTVH) as the fourth place station in a town with only three stations. That was when Roger started 41 years ago. Today KWCH is the dominant news station in the market, winning in households and demographics across all news time periods.
“Roger is a hard act to follow”, Anchor Michael Schwanke said. “Roger has played such an important leadership role in our newsroom. I’m honored to follow Roger. Melissa (Scheffler) and I are committed to build upon the strong journalism and commitment to excellence Roger and Cindy (Klose) established in our community.”
Roughly one year ago, Roger adjusted his schedule and came off KWCH 12 Eyewitness News at 10:00 p.m., allowing for Michael Schwanke to join Melissa Scheffler on the anchor desk. Roger continued to anchor the 6:00 p.m. newscast as well as Eyewitness News at 4:00 p.m. on KSCW. During that time ratings at 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. held strong. At 10:00 p.m., the household number continues to equal the ratings of competing 10:00 p.m. newscasts combined.
“Roger has placed us in a position to continue our success,” News Director Kim Wilhelm said. “Roger was instrumental in defining our journalism and commitment to viewers for more than 40 years and he helped shape both Mike and Melissa’s approach to news. His guidance will continue to serve this community for many years.”
Roger plans to spend his retirement away from television cameras. He’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Wanetta, and his two grandkids.