Cox signing off at WRTV after 36 years covering city

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Another legend among those who grew up watching Indianapolis television is about to ride off into the sunset.

Reporter Norman Cox, 65, will retire from WRTV-TV Channel 6 on Nov. 1—his last day after 36 years at the ABC television affiliate. 

He joined the station in 1976. As a Statehouse reporter, he covered seven of Indiana’s governors, starting with Otis Bowen.

Cox’s retirement announcement comes just days after WISH-TV Channel 8 anchorwoman Debby Knox announced her plans to retire Nov. 26, after 33 years at the CBS affiliate.

The bespectacled and often-grinning Cox, who grew up in Ohio and still roots for the Cleveland Browns, is a wealth of institutional knowledge on all things Indianapolis.

He was there in 1977 when local resident Tony Kiritsis wired a sawed-off shotgun to the head of a mortgage banker and held him hostage for 63 hours. 

The following year was the Blizzard of 1978. Cox also covered the Hoosier Lottery scandal of 1989 when agency director Jack Crawford resigned after an affair with agency HR executive Mary Cartwright.

“Having a front row seat at history-making events has been a great perk of the job,” Cox said in a statement.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence credited Cox for “his thoroughness, his professionalism and his integrity.”

WRTV said recent hire Katie Heinz will take over Cox's beats.

The station recently was purchased by E.W. Scripps Co., which has devoted more resources to bulking up the news staff and expanding its offering of newscasts.

His boss, news director Terri Cope-Walton, said, “Norman has been a great journalist for central Indiana for decades. His work is second to none, and we are proud to have had him on our staff.”

Not all local television legends have been able to sit still after retirement.

Mike Ahern retired from WISH-TV in 2004 after 37 as a reporter and anchor at the station.  Nearly three years ago he came back to host a 30-minute talk show known as “Mike Ahern: One on One.”

WISH recently canceled the show, saying the “Larry King Live” format doesn’t work as it once did. The station said it would continue to look for opportunities for Ahern, now in his early 70s.

News and entertainment reporter Patty Spitler also couldn’t sit still after leaving WISH nine years ago. She’d been grappling with inner-ear disorder Meniere’s Disease, which caused dizziness and made it difficult to hear.

Spitler occasionally appears on WISH’s "Indy Style" and is a contributor to "Pet Pals TV," which is syndicated on several stations.

WRTV said Cox is looking forward to slowing down and spending time with his wife, Kathy.


  • Changing of the Guard
    I hate to see Norm leave but perhaps it's the normal course of changing of the guard. Earlier this week MaryBeth Schneider, long time Star statehouse reporter spiked her last story. The problem is that there is little institutional history left that is vital to good political reporting. It will take new statehouse reporters years to know where each body is buried and more importantly why it's important to know. Good luck Norm!!

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