TOLEDO, Ohio — A familiar Toledo face is joining the team at WTOL 11 - veteran news anchor Jeff Smith.
Smith joins the evening lineup with co-anchor Melissa Andrews, First Alert Meteorologist Robert Shiels, and sports director Jordan Strack, bringing viewers the nightly news at 5 p.m. 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
“I want viewers to know how I am not only honored to have earned their trust over the years, but also how fortunate I feel to have this opportunity to connect and reconnect a region that shaped who I am,” Smith said.
Smith’s parents moved to Temperance in 1977 and in 1986 they moved to Sylvania. A St. Francis De Sales High School graduate, Smith has been committed to living, working and serving in northwest Ohio.
“When you consider the history of this television market, and those who've inspired me such as Jeff Heitz, Frank Venner, Gordon Ward, Frank Gilhooley, Jim Rudes, Charlie Umpenhour, Stan Stachak, Bill Harris, and Jerry Anderson, I consider myself very lucky ... very, very lucky,” Smith said.
For more than 20 years Smith has worked in the Toledo market and markets in Traverse City, Michigan, and Bloomington, Indiana.
“If there's one thing that stands out in northwest Ohio and southeastern Michigan, it's the passion and the pride of its people,” he said.
When Smith was asked about what’s most important right now in giving people the news he said, “Being real. Being honest. Being available.”
“Viewers want to know that when the news is bad, it will be handled professionally and with empathy. And, conversely, when the news is good, you want to feel comforted that this person on the air gets it - 'they get me' - they're real, they're being honest," he said. "Finally, availability. Thanks to social media, there is now this conversation off-air that never existed during the days of unpublished numbers and rotary phones. I believe building our connections with viewers on Facebook, Twitter and so on is as important as the appointment viewing at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. before turning out the lights. “
Smith will be on air in the coming weeks.