Ron Steele marks 40 years at KWWL - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ron Steele marks 40 years at KWWL

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - On April 1, 1974, no one -- not even Ron Steele -- could have guessed that he would still be at KWWL 40 years later.

Like many young journalists at that time, Ron expected to work in Waterloo a few years and then move on to bigger and better things. But, as the saying goes, life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.

Ron grew up in Wapello, graduated from the University of Iowa, and joined KWWL in 1974 as sports director.

He was the original play-by-play voice of the Iowa Television Network. He also did play-by-play telecasts for NBC Sports and ESPN, including the Women's College Basketball Finals and NCAA II Wrestling Finals.

He still enjoys sports reporting, and has brought KWWL viewers live reports from such events as the Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball Tournament and The Heisman Trophy presentation at New York City's Downtown Athletic Club. He still grabs a camera every Friday night during football season to shoot local high school games.

In 1979, Ron moved from sports to news and has been the station's main evening news anchor ever since.

During those years, Ron has interviewed many world leaders, including a one-on-one with President George Bush on board Air Force One. Ron also interviewed Barack Obama during a 2008 campaign stop in Cedar Rapids.

Some of his other favorite interviews: Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Al Gore, Lance Armstrong and Olympic Gold Medalist (and Waterloo native) Dan Gable.

The Iowa Broadcast News Association has honored Ron with its highest honor, the Jack Shelley Award. He has also won numerous other IBNA News and Sports awards, including Spot News Story of the Year and Sports Story of the Year.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored Ron with its Silver Circle Award during the annual Emmy Awards program in 2011. He and Tara Thomas were named best anchors in 2012 for their live coverage of the abductions and murders of cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins.

An avid runner, Ron was honored to carry to Olympic torch through downtown Cedar Rapids in 1996. A crowd of 60,000 jammed downtown Cedar Rapids to watch. Later that summer, Ron anchored KWWL's summer Olympics coverage from Atlanta.

Thanks to the warm response and generosity of KWWL viewers, Ron's award-winning Iowa's Child adoption program is the longest-running news series in the state. Through the program, nearly 200 of Iowa's hard-to-place, "special needs" children have found loving families and permanent homes. In 2008, The Coalition for Family and Children's Services in Iowa honored Ron with its "Friend of Children" Award.

When he's not on TV, Ron teaches Electronic Media writing at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and has volunteered for numerous community organizations over the years, including the Cedar Valley Sports and Entertainment Commission.

And if that wasn't enough, Ron makes more than 100 engagements a year on what he calls "the emcee, speaking and banquet circuit" all across Iowa.
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