Emmy Statue

Wendall Anschutz


A native of Russell, Kan., Anschutz dreamed as a teenager of being an airline pilot. A stint in the Navy’s flight training program took care of that ambition, and he went to the University of Kansas. After graduation he joined KCMO in 1966. Early on, Anschutz began to produce special reports that examined everything from the state of public transit to little-known local treasures that he found hiding in plain sight. He became an anchor in 1969, but that didn’t last long. A new general manager, unimpressed by Anschutz’s farm-boy build and hard-to-spell name, kicked him back to a reporter’s job.

On July 16, 1979, he was paired with a new co-anchor, Anne Peterson, and the two quickly became a sensation. They averaged 40 percent of the audience for their newscasts by year’s end, sometimes peaking at 50 percent— a figure more than twice that for today’s top-rated local newscasts. Not even the reappearance of Larry Moore at KMBC was enough to dethrone Anschutz-Peterson. They stayed together on the air for 22 years, forming one of the TV industry’s most durable anchor teams, until Anschutz opted for retirement in 2001.