Jim Vance of WRC 4 (NBC affiliate) passed away from cancer at the age of 75.
Vance was the anchorman at WRC for 45 years and for many people (myself included) have known no other anchor in the Washington market for almost their entire lives.
I remember Vance not only as the anchor at the dominant station in town (WRC hasn't been threatened in the local ratings in years),but as one that was the ultimate professional.
So many remember the video on YouTube where George Michael and Vance just broke into uncontrollable laughter when watching a runway model fall twice,but to me,I thought that that made him even more professional because it made him human and someone that we all can relate to because that's exactly how we would react in such a situation.
Oh,Vance was more than professional as his numerous awards would account for,but he came across as part of his community in Washington and since Hagerstown is in the Washington market,even in those days of antenna tv,we knew about it too...
Unafraid to be opinionated and offer commentary that might be unpopular locally,such as his commentary on the Redskins,who he rooted for with a passion, and how ridiculous he thought their name was upon reflection,Vance was truly an old school anchor.
Jim Vance was my anchor of choice growing up too as I've noted before about watching George Michael in the days that sports on the local news meant so much more than it does in the media of today.
The schtick between Michael and his putting pro wrestling on his shows (therefore drawing viewers like me) and Jim Vance playing the role of pro wrestling hater (basically being a heel) was always priceless.
Vance might not have been the reason that I started watching WRC,but he was a big part of the reason of keeping me there.
I think another reason that Jim Vance resounded with his audience was that you could tell that there was authenticity with Vance.
Vance had been through some hard times growing up and had his share even after his career had begun to blossom with abuse of cocaine that sent him to the Betty Ford Center to deal with his dependency in the 1980's.
Vance was not someone that relapsed and often was involved in the community with various drug programs to help addicts...
Much like I faded away watching David Letterman after I moved away from home due to busy lives and more and more choices through the years,I did the same with WRC news.
I still used them as my go-to when there was something directly Washington related,but in these media times in 24 hour news,local news at 6 and 11 just cannot compete with the cable networks for breaking news and I didn't watch Vance as much especially after the passing of George Michael.
Still,I feel like yet another familiar and comforting part of life isn't there anymore.
Jim Vance will be missed in Washington,but he'll be missed everywhere in the DMV.
His work won't be forgotten,but in these times,I think the days of local titans like Vance are slowly becoming extinct.
There won't be another Jim Vance anytime soon and I might even wager at all....