A soft-voiced and seemingly timeless presence on WLS-Ch. On Jan. 7, Alan Krashesky will step down after four decades as an anchor and reporter at the ABC-owned Chicago station.
Krashesky, 61, who co-anchors the top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, made the announcement Tuesday night, exactly 40 years to the day it first hit the airwaves. from Chicago.
“It’s been a great ride,” Krashesky told viewers during the 6 pm newscast. “Now the time is simply the right time.”
A Philadelphia native and Ithaca College graduate, Krashesky has been a mainstay on ABC 7 since joining the station as a general assignments reporter and fill-in meteorologist on Oct. 4, 1982. Krashesky hit the ground running, covering a bus accident schoolgirl on her first day on the job.
The remainder of the station’s first week was spent covering the Tylenol murdersa series of unsolved cyanide poisonings that killed seven people in the Chicago area and created a worldwide panic.
His prodigious tenure on ABC 7 spans so long that he presented his inaugural reports in the final days of the seminal “happy talk” team of joel dali and Fahey Flynn, who transformed local news and built an enduring ratings behemoth on Chicago television.
Since then, Krashesky has risen steadily through the ranks, eventually holding the position of lead anchor on the station.
“When I came to Channel 7 when I was 21 … my goal was to be the main news anchor on ABC 7,” Krashesky said Wednesday. “And obviously, it took decades for that to develop.”
Relieved of his deputy weather duties in 1984, Krashesky began doing local news segments during the daily “Good Morning America” broadcasts. In 1989, he became the first morning news anchor on ABC 7, partnering with Kathy Brock the following year. When everything was ready, Krashesky would have a long list of co-anchors covering almost every hour of the day on the station.
In 1994, Krashesky moved from the mornings to the 5:00 p.m. newscast, where he co-anchored with Diann Burns. He switched to the 6 pm news in 1998, replacing the retired Floyd Kalber alongside Brock. When Daly retired in 2005, Krashesky added the 4 pm newscast to his duties, co-anchoring with Linda Yu.
Krashesky’s rise to the coveted top job came in 2016, when succeeded Ron Magers as co-anchor of the 10 pm newscast. She currently partners with Cheryl Burton on the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts, while Judy Hsu co-anchors her at 6 p.m.
“Alan Krashesky’s career is a model for any aspiring journalist,” said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7 Chicago, in a press release. “His professionalism, his skill as an anchor and his impartiality as a reporter have earned him not only countless awards, but also the respect of our viewers and his colleagues at ABC 7.”
While Krashesky spent nearly his entire career in Chicago, he started out as a news reporter and weather forecaster for brief stints at WBNG-TV in Binghamton, New York, and KTBC-TV in Austin, Texas, before coming to ABC 7 as a new 21-year-old. .
But Krashesky had a challenging path to adulthood, his life fundamentally shaped by a family tragedy that has accompanied him throughout his career, informing and imbuing his reporting with an empathy born of his own loss.
“At the age of four months, my father was killed in a robbery in Philadelphia,” Krashesky said. “So I never knew my father, and obviously my family, they became victims of violent crime.”
With his mother struggling to raise four children alone, Krashesky enrolled as a 4-year-old at Milton Hershey School, a private Pennsylvania boarding school for orphans and impoverished children founded and endowed by the chocolate magnate.
His own experience resonates every time he reports on a crime in Chicago, Krashesky said.
“It moves me to know what a lasting impact something horrible like that has,” he said.
A long-running, high-profile Chicago number the newscasters have retired in recent years, including Magers, Yu, Brock, and Mark Suppelsa, who all “tuned out” and moved to montana after 25 years of the daily TV news grind.
Krashesky said navigating the pandemic played a part in his decision to join them in retirement.
“Certainly the experience that we all went through during the pandemic played into this,” Krashesky said. “It just underscored the reality that the amount of time we have in this life is extremely valuable.”
A Naperville resident, Krashesky and his wife, Colleen, have three children, three grandchildren and remain rooted in the Chicago area. He said that he has no plans to leave the area.
She also has no post-anchor plans, aside from taking a “sabbatical life,” reflecting on a successful career, and figuring out what she could do with the next chapter of her life.
“My simple answer to what I’m going to do next is, I don’t know,” Krashesky said.
Krashesky’s last day on the air is scheduled for November 22. The station has not announced his successor.