HOUSTON – The KPRC family came together on Friday to celebrate longtime anchor Bill Balleza who is retiring after 49 years of service.
Close friends, former co-anchors and family celebrated Balleza his journalism career with gifts, videos, barbecue and Whataburger, his favorite restaurant.
“A lot has changed since then, technologically," Balleza said as he addressed about 100 people in the KPRC lobby. "We tell our stories in different ways, the one thing that will never change is our responsibilities, being unbiased in our reporting, maintaining our finest ethics, and being as accurate and factual as possible.”
Vice President and General Manager Jerry Martin led the festivities by presenting him a video compilation featuring his colleagues and family members along with a few surprises including NBC Nightly’s Lester Holt and Jose Luis Barat of Telemundo.
“I remember when Harvey hit in 2017,” said Martin, “he (Balleza) was so anxious to get in the studio once the floodwaters receded. His suit was taped up, floating through the floodwaters. That’s the kind of leadership Bill brought every day to this news station.”
Balleza received numerous gifts from KPRC, including a framed photo of his evening news team with signatures from his colleagues. He also received a custom golden axe engraved with his name from the Houston Firefighters Association for his philanthropy towards first responders, and custom cowboy boots courtesy of Whataburger.
“This is a wonderful send-off,” Balleza said, “I’m glad the station remains in good hands. When I go home and watch, I hope to see the same integrity, and the same standard.”