FOX 11's Tom Milbourn announces retirement

FOX 11 News Anchor Tom Milbourn (WLUK photo)

(WLUK) -- It's the end of an era on FOX 11.

FOX 11 News Anchor Tom Milbourn is retiring after more than half a century in broadcasting.

Since joining the station in 1994, Milbourn has helped establish the station’s reputation as a news leader in the Green Bay/Fox Cities television market.

FOX 11/CW-14 general manager Jay Zollar praised Milbourn’s integrity as a journalist that he said served to inspire others to aspire to the highest levels of accuracy and fairness.

“It has been a real pleasure working with Tom over the past 20 years. He has been a trusted and passionate journalist, but even more than that he has been a terrific community and newsroom leader,” Zollar said.

Milbourn’s involvement in the community has been widespread, not only more than a thousand appearances as a master of ceremonies, but also personal involvement in organizations such as the Rotary Club of Green Bay which he served as president, and on the boards of directors of Junior Achievement, American Red Cross, Neville Public Museum, Packers 65 Roses and many more.

He has been a long-time host of events such as the Golden Apple Awards, the Small Business Recognition Awards, Juvenile Diabetes Gala, Rotary Free Enterprise Award, Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Packers Family Night and so on.

Milbourn began his career in radio in Kansas.

“As a 15-year-old rookie radio announcer, I never imagined a broadcasting career of 57 years,” he said. “It’s my 50th year in television news, more than 40 in Wisconsin, more than 30 in this market and my 25th year in the FOX 11 anchor chair. I feel blessed.”

Milbourn’s television career included serving as news director and anchor in Madison, Lansing Mich., and Champaign, Ill. before coming to Green Bay in 1987.

He received the 2009 Carol Brewer Award recognizing a career of service to Wisconsin broadcast journalism. In Madison, he served on the committee that established the rules for cameras in Wisconsin courtrooms.

He also cited his focus on the viewers.

“That’s why we exist. In every one of the nearly 20,000 newscasts I have anchored in this market, it’s been my privilege to be part of a local team committed to gathering and presenting the news in a way so our viewers can reach their own conclusions.”

He also said he’s looking ahead.

“It was a bittersweet decision to make, but I’m excited about new challenges and opportunities. Our lives in northeast Wisconsin have been more rewarding than I could have imagined. Friends and opportunities helped make this our home and we plan to continue to be part of the community.”

Milbourn received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is an adjunct instructor at St. Norbert College and press box announcer for the Green Bay Packers. Also an Air Force veteran, he is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

Milbourn’s final newscasts will be Tuesday, November 20.

Milbourn took to social media to say "until next time" to viewers:

To me, what we do in television news we do for our audience. Those of you who watch are the reasons for our existence. And I am grateful to you for the years of support. So, in that light I wanted you to know about a decision I have made.
That decision is, after 57 years in broadcasting, to move on to the next phase of my life – which I hope includes spending the time and making the effort to be a better husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend.
My final newscasts at FOX 11 will be Tuesday, Nov. 20.
While I have apprehensions about the change, I’m also excited that after more than 30 years in this market, and nearly 25 years in the FOX 11 anchor chair, I have new challenges and opportunities to face.
There were also apprehensions when we arrived in Northeast Wisconsin in 1987, but thanks to friends and opportunities my career and our lives turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
And that’s in large part thanks to you. I’ve anchored something like 20,000 newscasts since 1987 and in every one of them I’ve tried to present stories in an accurate, even-handed, understandable manner that allows you to draw your own conclusions. It’s a vision we should never lose sight of. And know that my colleagues here at the station are doing the same.
It seems so inadequate just to say 'thank you.' Understand the deep respect I have for you who watch. And since we’ll still be around town continuing to be involved in the community, I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say 'until next time.'
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