Longtime 22News anchor Barry Kriger to retire

  • WWLP-22News anchor Barry Kriger. FACEBOOK/BARRY KRIGER

Staff Writer
Published: 12/7/2019 1:29:30 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Before becoming the television personality 22News viewers across western Massachusetts have known for decades, news anchor Barry Kriger got his start in Northampton.

Kriger, 69, began his career in broadcast journalism at WHMP in 1980, where he would put together informative radio packages about local government meetings on a part-time basis.

“I would go to these various municipal functions and I would put my voice to it,” said Kriger, who anchors the weekday night broadcasts at WWLP-22News in Chicopee. “And as I drove home to Amherst, I would listen to myself on the radio.”

It was only a couple of years later, in 1982, that Kriger successfully applied for an anchor job at 22News. The latest news: This past Thursday night, Kriger announced the end of his accomplished career on the 6 p.m. broadcast, with plans to retire on Dec. 19.

“I now have people in their 50s telling me that they grew up watching me on television,” Kriger said to viewers on the broadcast. “It’s time for the next chapter.”

Kriger’s retirement doesn’t mean he’s gone from 22News forever. Instead, he’ll be taking on an emeritus status, which will involve representing 22News at various functions and occasionally contributing to news coverage.

“I haven’t even left and I’m already thinking about ways to get back to work,” Kriger said.

Over the years, Kriger has received four Associated Press Awards for excellence in reporting breaking news. He has also been a part of a team recognized with three Emmy Awards: for coverage of the June 2011 tornado that killed three people and for its one-year anniversary, and for live coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, according to his 22News staff profile.

When he first applied to 22News, Kriger said he was unaware it was for an anchor and producer position. He sat down, read test copy on camera, and eventually got the job.

“They told me I needed to get a decent haircut,” Kriger said. “I had a radio haircut at the time.”

Kriger said he’s healthy and that there was no pressure to leave. He first approached management at 22News in May with plans to retire, but agreed to stay on until now on a lighter schedule to “ease into it.”

“I’m lucky to have had such a successful run,” Kriger said.

Kriger joked that he has spent 37 years at 22News “with an asterisk,” a reference to the longstanding myth that Roger Maris’ controversial single-season home run record was recorded in record books with such a denotation (Maris had 61 home runs to Babe Ruth’s 60, but Maris did it in a longer season than Ruth.)

Kriger was referring to a three-year stretch from 1995 to 1998, when he worked at WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island.

“I love living in western Massachusetts. They don’t know what they’re missing over there,” Kriger said.

After he retires, Kriger said he’s going to have more time for paragliding, an activity he loves. Kriger used to fly from Mount Tom, but said he’s no longer willing to carry his equipment up the mountain.

With his newfound time, Kriger said he can now join his friends more often on the coast for paragliding. The wind is much smoother there than in western Massachusetts, he said.

“Some people consider it an extreme sport, but it’s not skydiving,” he said.

Other than his intention to paraglide more, Kriger said he doesn’t yet have any other big plans for his retirement. His stepping aside comes on the heels of longtime Western Mass News anchors Dave Madsen, who retired earlier this year, and Ray Hershel, who left in 2018.

“It’s time to let someone else do it,” he said.

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