Investigative journalist and anchor Jordan Williams will join the “Wake-Up” morning team on WIVB-TV beginning next month, said Joseph D. Schlaerth, Channel 4 news director. Williams, 31, most recently worked for four years as anchor and reporter at KRGV-TV in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas.
Williams will replace former anchor Joe Arena, who left WIVB in October for WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh. Reporter Ed Drantch had been filling in as morning co-anchor. Drantch will return to his reporting duties, said Schlaerth.
Williams said he is looking forward to morning television, Buffalo style.
“I believe in morning news, and how much it impacts people’s lives,” said Williams. “I’m excited to join a team that knows how important breaking overnight news and weather can be.”
Williams was raised in the small southeast Texas city of Groves.
“I spent some time in Buffalo and was immediately impressed by the people, the architecture and the work at Channel 4,” he said. “Its clear station management values investigative journalism and will allow me to tell stories that matter.”
In Texas, Williams put together an investigative series called “Got Guardrails?” in which he measured dozens of roadside guardrails in Hildago County. The probe uncovered inadequacies that impacted driver safety. It also found taxpayers footing the bill for the faulty guardrails.
“It wasn’t just a taxpayer issue, but a safety issue as well,” said Williams over the phone from KRGV.
Williams, who visited Buffalo before just before Thanksgiving, is also a church organist. He said he was intrigued by the area’s solid stock of buildings.
“I was really struck by the charm of Buffalo, just row after row of beautiful houses,” said Williams. “It’s wonderful because you still have beautiful old churches. I love church music, and I hope to definitely continue playing the organ for at least a couple of services a month. For the right church I’m always willing to make sacrifices.”
He starts at Channel 4 on Jan. 14.
In other morning television news, Melissa Holmes was named permanent co-anchor for “Daybreak” on WGRZ-TV Channel 2. The appointment takes effect Jan. 3, announced Jeff Woodard, WGRZ news director.
Holmes started at Channel 2 early this year. She will replace former “Daybreak” co-anchor Jodi Johnston, who left the station last month for an executive position with First Niagara Bank. Holmes will join a morning crew that includes John Beard, meteorologist Andy Parker, Kevin O’Neil, Matt Granite, Mary Friona and Heather Ly.
Holmes, an Amherst native, graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Meanwhile, general manager Jim Toellner said Channel 2 is searching for a co-anchor for its 5 p.m. news show, a spot also held by Johnston. In the interim, Holmes will split her anchor duties between the morning and late afternoon programs.