CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Paul Cameron is hanging up his journalist hat after spending nearly four decades on the anchor desk at WBTV.
While Cameron will surely be missed, WBTV is excited about the wonderful things happening in his life.
“It’s something I’ve mulled over for quite a while, but realize the timing is perfect for me and my family for several reasons—I turn 65 in December and my daughter delivers our first grandchild in January,” Cameron said when first announcing his retirement in September.
In 1981, Cameron was hired as a sports reporter at WBTV, where he would begin a commitment to serving the greater Charlotte community for decades to come. He would also form lasting relationships with those he worked closely with.
“Paul is the voice for Charlotte. More importantly to me, he’s my partner and friend," said Anchor Molly Grantham, who works alongside Paul weekday nights.
And yes, that voice. A distinct, deep newscaster voice that is a talent itself.
Cameron was one of the station's "originals," as was Delano Little, who will be signing off for his final newscast Friday, Dec. 14 along with Cameron.
“Delano and I have been symbolically joined at the hip ever since he joined WBTV—brothers together chronicling how major league sports defined and changed Charlotte from the late 80’s until now,” Cameron said.
“He took over the helm from me in 1996 and has now served as WBTV’s longest serving Sports Director. He has performed admirably as Charlotte’s premier sportscaster. WBTV viewers will sorely miss his friendly and knowledgeable nightly appearances.”
Cameron’s switch from sports to news happened when news anchor Bob Inman vacated the position that summer - 1996.
Two big names here - departing together.
“We are very proud of the major contributions that both Paul and Delano have made to WBTV and the greater Charlotte area. Both are leaders in the community and the television news industry," said WBTV News & Content Director Dennis Milligan. "We wish them the very best in the next chapter of their lives.”
The next chapter for Cameron includes relaxation, playing tennis and spending time with family - especially with the newest addition, who, according to Cameron, could come sooner than expected.
“While we are marking the end of an era for WBTV, Paul is beginning a new chapter that is so exciting. He’s retiring from the day-to-day life in a newsroom. But for the first time in 37 plus years he can have dinner with his wife, at HOME! He can go to bed before 1am. And he’ll experience a new kind of love when his grand baby is born!,” WBTV Anchor Maureen O’Boyle said.
Oh, sweet luxuries!
Cameron has hosted the Thanksgiving Day Parade for many years alongside O’Boyle.
He reported on the 2012 DNC, conducted high-profile interviews with U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
He also interviewed Reverend Billy Graham, sports superstars and titans of the entertainment world.
From the birth of the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Panthers to NASCAR, Cameron’s covered it. He also launched WBTV’s Football Friday Night program highlighting high school football.
Aside from footprint Paul left in our community, he made equally substantial impressions on those he worked with.
“Paul has been my sounding board. He has held me up when life’s challenges were getting the best of me. He’s been an advisor, a parenting instructor, financial counselor, and a really fun friend," O’Boyle said of the impact Paul has made on her life, calling him her “life-like big brother.”
"I have never worked with anyone who can, with one simple expression, make me laugh to tears...OK maybe Eric does that too!,” O’Boyle continued.
Cameron announced his retirement to coworkers on September 6 following the 11 p.m. newscast.
A celebratory toast ensued.
“If you’d asked me six months ago, I’d have probably said, ‘Meh, maybe another year, maybe two years,’” Cameron told the Charlotte Observer in an interview back in September. “But (these things) really sharpened my focus. And we (he and his wife of 42 years, Jan) went to the beach a couple weeks ago and I thought, ‘I kind of like this vacation thing.’”
Cameron has been a face on many television sets throughout the years, previously anchoring with Maureen O’Boyle (at 5 and 6 p.m.) and more recently alongside Molly Grantham (at 11 p.m.).
"Thirty-seven years in one industry is a massive accomplishment for anyone in any career. It’s almost unheard of in this crazy broadcast business we’re immersed in," Grantham said. "I couldn’t be happier for him and his family – (can’t wait to see him as a first-time grandpa in January!) – but our newsroom will miss him greatly."
In this business, rewards come in different forms. There’s nothing quite like the thrill and and feeling of accomplishment that comes with delivering breaking news.
What will Paul miss most? "The camaraderie,” he told the Observer in an interview.
“The excitement of the newsroom when a story is breaking. The triumph of putting on a show at the last minute, as things are changing, ad-libbing something that you know needs to be talked about. All of us pitching in as a unit to try to get that information. There’s something about that that just stirs your blood. It really does,” Cameron told the Observer.
"People who truly love music share a special bond, and that has definitely been an important connection between the two of us," WBTV Chief Meteoroligst Eric Thomas said of Paul, who he has worked with for three decades.
"I grew up with only one sibling, a big brother. We have lived far apart since the 1970s," Thomas said. Paul has been that big brother for me over the past 30 years at WBTV."
"I learned a long time ago you can never outwit your big brother," Thomas said of Cameron, who he called "an encylocopedia of 20th century music."
Cameron says he’s ready to put his focus at home and perhaps on vacationing.
At the end of Paul and Delano’s last broadcast, current and former employees surprised them by walking onto the set before they signed off for the last time. You can watch that below.
The WBTV family is thankful for the years spent working with Cameron, and for his dedication to journalism and the community.