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Entertainment

Bob Turk, WJZ-TV’s ‘Sunshine Kid,’ retiring after nearly 50 years on the air in Baltimore

Veteran WJZ-TV weatherman Bob Turk is a 1969 Towson University graduate.

Meteorologist Bob Turk, one of Baltimore’s most popular TV regulars, is leaving WJZ-TV after nearly 50 years on the air.

“The people of Baltimore have shown immense love and support throughout my entire career. It has been an absolute privilege to be a part of your life. Just like the weather, the wind can move us in different directions,” Turk said in a message posted to Twitter on Monday afternoon.

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“It’s with immense sadness that I announce my retirement from WJZ.”

Turk, a Baltimore native who graduated from the then-Towson State College, came to WJZ-TV after earning a position via an open audition he spotted in the classifieds. He was an urban planner for Howard County at that time.

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His first broadcast was April 23, 1973. Over the years, Turk’s folksy style and his signature mustache didn’t change much, even while the world of television evolved. An article in The Sun marking his 30th anniversary at WJZ-TV described him as “the televised equivalent of comfort food.”

This 1976 photo shows WJZ's news team including weather forecaster Bob Turk (left), anchor Jerry Turner, Oprah Winfrey, and sports reporter Andrea Kirby.

Turk was integral to the station’s advancements in forecasting, according to a bio on WJZ’s website, which credited him with helping to create the station’s First Warning Weather. He is also the recipient of a Silver Circle Emmy Award, which honors TV professionals with long-standing careers.

“Bob got his start in TV by answering an ad for a weatherman, and that began the decades of weather forecasting using low-tech techniques like looking out the door, and high-tech tools like our own Doppler radar system,” WJZ-TV News Director Gail Bending said in a memo sent to staff Monday. “The changes in weather kept coming … but what never changed was the trust our viewers had in Bob.”

In a tweet, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also wished Turk well for “five incredible decades on air with [WJZ] bringing the weather to generations of viewers.”

Some commenters on social media shared fond childhood memories of Turk tracking Santa Claus during shows that aired on Christmas Eve.

Viewers posting about missing his broadcasts said Turk has not been seen live on-air in a while.

“When I look back, it wasn’t just my passion for weather, it was the love I have for the people of Baltimore,” Turk said Monday in his farewell post. “I hope that in some small way I have had an impact on the city that I adore.”


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