ATLANTA — Wednesday marked the end of an era at WSB-TV and in Atlanta television news. Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher retired after 51 years on air.
He is best known for his investigative work, uncovering government misspending and mistakes. But as Channel 2′s Fred Blankenship reports, Belcher is an Atlanta native who made his mark long before he thought about a news career.
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Belcher came to WSB-TV in 1990 after successful stops at WAGA, WXIA and WGST Radio. More than once, he’s been told no comment. Many times, the reaction to his questions is not subtle.
Belcher isn’t afraid of confrontation when it’s warranted and isn’t afraid to step up to protect his photographers. Over the decades, it became a common sight to see Belcher at his desk, pouring over some records.
His Channel 2 colleagues say his work ethic is second to none, but that’s only half the story.
“He has this reputation, first of all, this hard charging, dogged, you know, investigative reporter that is relentless and he’s just going to destroy you. He was the kindest and most patient person with someone who was new to Atlanta, to WSB,” Dave Huddleston said.
Something else you may not know: Belcher was quite the athlete in his day. As a Cross Keys High School player, he even faced former Channel 2 sports director Chuck Dowdle in basketball.
“I don’t always remember how I did against you [Richard], but I do remember we always won,” Dowdle joked.
After 50 years, Belcher has earned the chance to spend time with his family, including his wife and WSB alum Sally Sears, their son Will and his two daughters Brooke and Robin.
Belcher’s legacy is unmatched at WSB and Atlanta.
You are the gold standard. Not just here, but any place for the confrontation and many other aspects of investigative reporting,” Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne said.
“He is the constant professional and he loves what he does,” Channel 2 photographer Alvin Bryant said.
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