When longtime TV personality and everyone’s best friend Jerry Anderson was considering retiring he sought advice from others. Their collective response was to start with a plan. So, when he took the leap into retirement in 2018 he called his plan The Three Bs.
Broadcasting, Basketball and Bus
It’s not a surprise that in retirement Jerry continued to find a way to keep up with broadcasting. He threw himself into all aspects of producing his weekly WTOL interview show, Leading Edge. Jerry’s experience in the TV studio transferred easily to the Stroh Arena where he announces for BGSU men’s and women’s basketball games. But driving a school bus? Where did that come from?
“A good friend encouraged me to consider this as a way to have employment that would continue to provide health insurance for my wife,” said Jerry. Since he owned an RV, he was comfortable driving large vehicles and he liked the thought of helping the community through a bus driver shortage. The bus became a big part of the plan. The office pool among drivers in the bus garage predicted that a TV news anchor would last 4 weeks at the job, yet Jerry lasted almost 4 years. “It pushed me out of my comfort zone, but ended up being something I really enjoyed.”
Outside the comfort zone
Jerry has never been one to be content staying inside a comfort zone. He majored in Communications and Broadcasting at BGSU, but had to transfer to the “school of hard knocks” when he ran out of money for tuition. After his dad encouraged him to submit a voice demo tape to WSPD he was hired as an on-call on-air voice and began filling in, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Driving up to Toledo from Bowling Green and then back again to his other two jobs, Jerry kept his nose to the grindstone.
Hard work opened doors for him. In 1980, despite Jerry’s lack of TV experience, the manager at Channel 13 hired him on as a reporter. Jerry was told that if he was willing to learn, they were willing to teach and within 15 months of first being hired on, he was sitting at the anchor desk delivering the evening news. Jerry is not sure that his career path could happen in today’s world so he is grateful for the timing of it all. “I got in and out at the perfect time.”
The gift of communication
It is clear that Jerry’s talent is communication and he is passionate about using it for the greater good through community engagement. In retirement, he continues donating his time and talents to the organizations that are the most meaningful to him. “So much of the news is man’s inhumanity against man,” Jerry stated. “Participating in charity events gives me an opportunity to witness the kindness of humanity. If you show them exactly where the resources go, the generous people of Northwest Ohio can’t stop themselves from giving.”
On communication in general, Jerry said, “Discussion, debate and dissent are a part of the fabric of our society. That’s all fine, but we are a nation of talkers. I don’t think we are good at listening.” Jerry has made it a point to try to find common ground with others. “Like me, they love their families and their country. If I shut up and listen I may be able to understand how some people end up with an opposing point of view. There may be no kumbaya hugs at the end of the discussion, but there are often areas of agreement.”
Altering the plan
Now that Jerry has retired from his bus driver job he says that life will be more leisurely, though his plans do not include sitting on the couch. He looks forward to spending more time with family, traveling and the upcoming basketball season. The door at WTOL remains open. He will continue to balance his engagement in community outreach with family time and he is secure in the knowledge that a Higher Power will continue to direct him and point him towards new opportunities.
What are your favorite sport’s teams?
BGSU Falcons Men’s and Women’s Basketball, of course!
North West Ohio’s best kept secret…
Schedel Gardens in Elmore.
Do you have hobbies and interests outside of news and community engagement?
I like to play piano and am considering getting back into taking lessons.
Words of wisdom that have stuck:
Be who you are.
Something you are grateful for…
Someone you admire…
No one more than my father. Every step I take to get closer to being like my dad is success in my book.
Anything more you want to add…
My wife of 42 years, Teri, gets all the credit for my success. She put up with a crazy schedule and all the difficulties of having a spouse in the public eye, all while raising our two daughters.
Teaser: For retired Toledo news anchor Jerry Anderson the definition of retirement is a time to do anything you want to do, but only if you want to do it.