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Longtime Tampa Anchor Dies At 63

In Florida, NBC, Obits, Tampa-St. Petersburg on May 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Bill Ratliff (Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times)

Former WFLA-TV morning anchor and managing editor Bill Ratliff has died.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the 37-year broadcast journalism veteran passed away Tuesday, May 8, after complications from surgery.

Though Ratliff retired in 2009 from the NBC affiliate, his tenure at the station remained legendary. He ultimately left the station after 27 years there because he didn’t want to receive a pay cut for reduced on-air hours.

WFLA news director Don North told the Tampa Bay Times that Ratliff’s passion for his craft was unparalleled.

From the article:

“He was a very important person to the success of WFLA,” North said. “He was a rock in the morning newscast and … made a lot of decisions on the content of that show.”

He started at the station in 1982, vying for the evening anchor position, but would eventually lose out on that opportunity because viewer ratings decided it wasn’t a good fit.

But when he landed on the morning newscast just five years later, his abilities and demeanor clicked with the public, evidenced by his keeping the position until his retirement in 2009.

Like many broadcast vets, Ratliff got his start in radio, working at stations in Cincinnati and New Orleans, according to a station biography that, oddly enough, is still on WFLA.com.

Ratliff is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children.

The family has asked for contributions to be donated to either All Children’s Hospital or the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.

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