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Kilgore’s Tribute Tops Sweet Johnston Farewell


I got up at 5 this morning to watch a momentous local television event – the final day of Channel 2 co-anchor Jodi Johnston on the station’s popular “Daybreak.”

OK, I lied.

I didn’t get up at 5 a.m. I got up at a reasonable hour and watched the two-hour love fest from my DVR list.

It really wasn’t that momentous an occasion since Johnston has only been on local television for a little more than 12 years and has decided to move on to a big bank job in media relations.

I’ve been covering local TV for about 30 years and I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it for an anchor who has been on a relatively short period of time in Buffalo compared to TV legends.

Most people leaving TV get about 60 seconds to say goodbye if they are lucky.

They don’t usually get a mayor to declare it their day. But there was Mayor Byron Brown on the set declaring today “Jodi Johnston Day.”

But, hey, “Daybreak” certainly has time to fill on a daily basis and all the goodbyes on the last morning of the November sweeps from current and past co-workers were nothing if not sweet and timely a day before Thanksgiving.

After listening to all the testimonials from co-workers emphasizing Johnston’s warmth, compassion and ability to connect with viewers, a viewer couldn’t help but think one of two things. 1) Boy, she is a great person or 2) I hate her because she is perfect and has it all – looks, personality, a great family life and a great job. 

Seriously, I mean “hate” in the best possible way. I mean every day may seem like Jodi Johnston Day to jealous audience members. If you didn’t like Johnston before all the goodbyes sprinkled in between news and weather, you probably did after them.

My favorite goodbye was the brief one from sportscaster Ed Kilgore, who started out by saying TV doesn’t do Johnston justice. “I’m not talking about looks,” said Kilgore, realizing that’s what the audience might have thought. He meant TV doesn’t “give the true sense of the type of person she is. She is a fantastic lady.” I would have preferred “fantastic woman” but you got Kilgore’s point.

Runner-up for favorite was Dave McKinley, who praised Johnston by saying he told his wife that she would probably like Johnston the best among all his co-workers.

The bronze medal goes to Pete Gallivan, who was Johnston’s co-anchor until John Beard took the co-anchor spot three years ago. Gallivan discussed how Johnston connected with the audience and gave some specifics. He told the story of a guy named Gary who was stuck on the Thruway for 12 hours during the October storm and communicated with Johnston throughout until he got home.

“I still am in touch with Gary and I know you are watching,” said Johnston.

Johnston’s son Max read a sweet letter. Her husband, Tom Quatroche, came on the anchor set and wasn’t identified for a while before telling everyone how much the family will miss the Channel 2 family.

As always, Johnston was a class act throughout the love fest. She exhausted just about all the ways she could tell those showering her with praises and gifts “you don’t know how much this means to me.”

Just about every Channel 2 personality got a shot at saying goodbye and tried to find different ways to say the same thing about how wonderful Johnston has been and how much she has meant to the station. Anchor-reporter Melissa Holmes plastered on a Johnston-like smile and gave a sweet speech that I thought should have ended with the comedic line “and I want your anchor job.”

At least I would have laughed.

Replacing Johnston is no laughing matter. “Jodi Johnston Day” proved what I wrote Monday – she is one act that will be pretty tough to follow.





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3 responses to "Kilgore’s Tribute Tops Sweet Johnston Farewell"

  1. Bob says:

    “She is a fantastic lady.” I would have preferred “fantastic woman” but you got Kilgore’s point.”

    Alan, I think you’re becoming a little to politically correct.

  2. Doug says:

    Cant believe anyone watches this stuff.

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