split image of don alhart holding his gwr certificate and sitting at the news desk

Breaking news: A Rochester, New York television news anchor has achieved the record title for the longest career as a TV news broadcaster (male)

Don Alhart, who is 79 years old, has worked in the television news industry for 57 years and 38 days, as of 14 July. 


Don knew he wanted to be a TV news broadcaster from a very young age. 

“It started when my 5th grade teacher built a mock radio station in the classroom,” he said. 

“My best friend and I were dismayed when it was taken down and duplicated the radio stations in the bedrooms of our homes.

We bought microphones and turntables and tape recorders to recreate our own broadcasts!

It was from that moment on that Don’s career began to flourish.


“I began in my church, as a child, doing live Radio Drama on WHAM-1180 in Rochester, NY,” he said. 

“It was a monthly children’s radio drama, and I was one of the children to take part.”

However, Don’s first paid job didn’t begin until 1962 when he was hired to be a vacation relief engineer at WROC-TV in Rochester. 

He kept that role for three summers while attending Ithaca College to study radio and television. 


Between 1965 and 1966, he began working as an on-air DJ for WTKO Radio in Ithaca New York while also working for WOKR-TV (Channel 13) as a reporter and photographer. 

“I returned to Ithaca to finish my senior year, graduating on Saturday 4 June 1966, and starting my full-time job at Channel 13 on Monday 6 June 1966,” said Don. 

I have been at the same station all that time.

Don says he never really thought about longevity until the station celebrated his 25th-year work anniversary—followed by his 30th, 40th, and 50th. 


He says it was his involvement in the community and the love of his job that kept him at the same station over the span of five decades.

“My favourite part is being able to put others on the news,” said Don. 

“I end every broadcast with what we call a ‘bright spot,’ highlighting a person or organisation that is doing something to make life better for others.”

Don recalls two stories in particular, which he says truly impacted his career. 

“The Attica Prison Riot of 1971, when we had to shoot film and drive it back to the station for processing,” he said. 

It gave us time to report more thoroughly on a tense situation.


He also vividly remembers the ice storm of 1991 when his area was shut down for days without power. 

“We embraced the challenge to report, even though many had no electricity to watch us,” said Don. 

“We saved those stories and produced a VHS tape, which we sold as a fundraiser for the Red Cross.” 

Don also made other wonderful memories throughout his career. 


Although he says there are too many stories to mention them all, one of his favourites is when Glenna Oberdorf tried to set a record for rocking in a chair to raise money for charity. 

Don incorporated Bill Haley’s song “Rock Around the Clock” into the story, making for a fun time at the studio and a happy memory. 

However, Don says he was also faced with emotional challenges throughout his career like when he and his coworkers could not stop laughing.

“It’s like not being able to laugh in church,” he said. 

The more we tried to stop, the more we couldn’t.


Don also remembers times when he had to report on the passing of a colleague or former coworker. 

“They were emotional challenges—tender moments—when emotions were impossible to hide,” he said. 

“I think it showed viewers we truly cared about the people with whom we worked.”


Don encourages those wanting to work in the television news industry to do it because you love it. 

“I never did it for the money and probably would have paid the station to let me work at first,” he said. 

Be open to new opportunities with social media and podcasts and have fun doing it. When it stops being fun, it’s time to stop.

He also says to be grateful that you have the desire to work in the field. 

“So many work because they must and may not enjoy what they do,” said Don. 

“If you truly enjoy your job—if it is a passion—it will not be a burden.” 


Don was happy and relieved to achieve the record title for the longest career as a TV news broadcaster (male)

He previously held the record in 2016 after working for Channel 13 for 50 years and 179 days but eventually lost it to Jesús Héctor Benavides Fernández of Monterrey, Mexico, who had been working as a TV news broadcaster for 54 years and 176 days. 

“I am proud to say I hold a Guinness World Records title,” he said. 

“I never dreamed that would be possible, and to earn it doing something I love makes it very worthwhile.”


For now, Don doesn’t have any plans of retiring and hopes to keep his reclaimed record title for years to come.

I plan to keep working and look forward to the day when I retire and I achieve this record one last time, hoping it will last a lifetime!

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