The best man

Ron Magers

Ron Magers

“I hope that what I do is without pretension . . . the most straightforward, understandable way. I also hope that I think on my feet in breaking situations. I also hope that I will hold our staff’s work up for view in the best possible light. I hope I’m here for the long run.”

With those prescient words Ron Magers described himself to the Chicago Tribune in 1982 — less than a year after he arrived from Minneapolis to join WMAQ-Channel 5.

“With little or no fanfare, 37-year-old Ron Magers has settled into the key anchor position at the NBC-owned station, teaming smoothly with co-anchor Linda Yu,” Tribune TV critic Ron Alridge wrote. “Quickly, though quietly, he has established himself as a quality act, the best in Chicago now . . . He’s the best because he does the best job of doing what anchors must do: speak with authority; serve up stories smoothly; ad-lib unobtrusively and maintain a professional, credible, intelligent atmosphere.”

Thirty-five years later Magers, 71, is still the best in Chicago. Tonight he’ll anchor his last newscast for WLS-Channel 7, where he’s been No. 1 since he joined the ABC-owned station in 1998. His retirement after more than 50 years in the business marks the end of an era for Chicago journalism and a watershed moment for television news.

Thanks, Ron.