Bob McBride, early D.C. newscaster and former Channel 4 anchor, dies at 84

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 5, 2011; 5:29 PM

Bob McBride, 84, who began a long journalism career in Washington as a teenager and went on to anchor the news in the 1980s on WRC-TV (Channel 4) , died Feb. 1 at a nursing facility in Alexandria.

His daughter said he had been hospitalized after a stroke at his Bethesda home.

Mr. McBride was 16 when he became a copy boy at U.S. News & World Report. He later worked in Washington for an independent news agency, preparing reports on government activities for 40 radio stations across the nation. After that, he worked for a radio station in Alexandria.

In the late 1940s, while working for WOIC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Washington at the time, Mr. McBride was the host of one of the earliest television home-repair shows.

After anchor jobs in Detroit and Chicago, Mr. McBride came back to Washington in 1982 to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. news shows with Jim Vance on Channel 4. Four years later, after abandoning plans to retire early , Mr. McBride went to Cleveland and another NBC station, WKYC, where his co-anchor was Doreen Gentzler.

"He was a really good guy, a gentleman with a friendly word for everyone," said Gentzler, now an anchor at Channel 4 in Washington. "He had a good sense of humor and never took himself too seriously."

Robert James McBride Jr. was born in Chicago on Sept. 8, 1926, and he moved to Washington in 1940. He graduated from the Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia in 1943.

After working in his teens for U.S. News, he spent a year at Cornell University before returning to Washington, where he graduated from George Washington University.

From 1950 to 1954, he worked in Newport News, Va., for the Daily Press and WGH Radio. In 1955, he moved to Detroit and went to work for the Detroit Free Press. He soon began delivering daily editorials for the CBS-TV affiliate there, ending each with the question, "What do you think?"

Mr. McBride went to Chicago in 1971 to anchor the news on WBBM-TV and then returned to Detroit as vice president and general manager of his old station there.

After working in Washington and Cleveland, he retired in 1990 and divided his time between Bethesda and Longboat Key, Fla.

His wife of 59 years, Cynthia Martin McBride, died in 2007.

Survivors include two daughters, Bunny McBride of Manhattan, Kan., and Susan Els of Burlington, Vt.; and a grandson.

Mr. McBride's passion for broadcasting was evident from childhood, Bunny McBride said. As a boy, he would place a book on a windowsill, open the window and read aloud to anyone who happened by.

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