Rod Wood, Popular Syracuse TV Anchorman Dies

Rod Wood

December 12, 2021 - Roderic Woodruff Groat, also known as Rod Wood, and to close friends as "Roddy," proudly of Syracuse, was called home to the Lord on Sunday, December 12th, one day after his 81st birthday, and after a short, but courageous battle with cancer. A native son of Syracuse, Rod was the youngest of four siblings in a Dutch and English family. He was the son of the late Romaine and Irene (Pierce) Groat and the grandson of John and Cora Groat of Syracuse, as well as Edwin and Edna Pierce of Auburn. He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Nanette (Nicholas) Groat, as well as brother John Ellery and sister Priscilla. Rod was a Syracuse television news anchorman, a dean of local broadcast journalists, and a fixture of Central New York airwaves for 57 years. He diligently wrote, reported, and delivered the news to his hometown, beginning in 1963 and continuing until his retirement at age 80. 44 of those memorable years were spent reporting and helming the anchor desk at NewsChannel 9 (WNYS, WIXT, WSYR-TV). He began his career in radio shortly after serving in the U.S. Army. One day, friend Dickie Snyder dropped him off in front of WOLF and said "Roddy, go in. I bet you'd be good at this!" Blessed with a deep voice, and strong communication skills, that one fateful day led to a long and unique career. He got his start at WOLF, followed by WNDR and later WHEN Radio, where he also filled in as a television weekend anchor on WHEN-TV5. In his first year in the field, he was tasked with the heavy duty of delivering the news to our community that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. A few years later, he was snowed in for three days while reporting on the Blizzard of '66 from the small Dewitt studio of WNDR Radio. In succeeding years, he reported on countless world, national, state, and local news stories, interviewing thousands of newsmakers, and all the while, focusing on the question "What does this mean locally and how do I best convey this information to the viewer " Although he reported on many famous people, he was most interested in reporting on the issues and challenges of his fellow Central New Yorkers. He was uncompromising in his conviction that his reporting be fair, balanced, unbiased, and above all, accurate. Through the years, his work overlapped with some who went on to become giants in the field. He was fortunate to cut his teeth in broadcasting with luminaries who worked in Syracuse and went on to national acclaim, including Al Roker, Bob Costas, Steve Kroft, Mike Tirico, and Syracuse's own, David Muir. He reveled in and championed their successes. Additionally, he was proud to have mentored and helped find jobs for scores of young journalists and broadcast professionals who spent time in our community before growing their careers elsewhere. Sometimes help came in the form of "advice from experience", and at other times, a phone call, email, or connection was made from his reservoir of nationwide contacts-a network earned from decades of goodwill in the field. As competitive as he could be to scoop the competition, he respected his peers or at a friend's or family member's house too. He will be missed beyond measure! We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff of the Syracuse Home in Baldwinsville. All are invited to calling hours to be held from 3:30-7:30pm on Wednesday, December 22nd, at Holy Cross Church, 4112 E. Genesee St., DeWitt. A mass of Christian burial will be held the next day, Thursday, December 23rd, at 12:00 noon, also at Holy Cross Church, with burial to follow. All are invited and we hope to see you as we remember our father. Donations for a memorial scholarship in Rod's honor may be made in care of John Groat, P.O. Box 49, Syracuse, NY 13214. Personal remembrances of our father are very welcome and may be mailed to the same address

Source: Syracuse Post Standard - Dec. 14, 2021 - A Syracuse Radio Retrospective
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