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Signing off: Bob Turk says farewell to viewers after 50 years with WJZ

Signing off: Bob Turk shares memories, highlights with Denise Koch
Signing off: Bob Turk shares memories, highlights with Denise Koch 06:36

BALTIMORE -- Fifty years is a long time in any industry. In this one, it's almost unheard of. 

But, after just that long, Bob Turk's time on TV Hill has come to an end. Many of you have been reaching out to the Sunshine Kid, and he wants you to know, he's very grateful.

"It has really touched me. It has been so beautiful," said Turk. "I laugh, I even had tears in my eyes, things were so well-put, so sweet, and the audience has been just so supportive. I just can't thank all of them enough, really."

Bob Turk is a real Baltimore guy, born and raised in the city.

He studied geography at what was then known as Towson State College, but answered an ad in the paper for a weatherman.

He had no broadcasting experience. What made him think he could do it?

"I loved weather. I've been a weather geek since I was a kid," he said.

He recalled how he clicked with anchor Jerry Turner right away.

"We had a terrific relationship. We just, I was his son and he was my dad and we just clicked," he said. "It was almost like a show we put on, people loved it."

Sunshine and smiles, and in 1979,  the promotions department dubbed bob "The Sunshine Kid."

 "They came up with this thing, and it just stuck," he said.

WJZ-TV Baltimore | Bob Turk - "Sunshine On A Cloudy Day" Promo | 1978 | WJZ 13 by Only1JZ on YouTube

He recalled hearing from someone who heard the song "My Girl" in Minneapolis and heard people yet out "Bob Turk."

The song is his signature.

But along the way he was also a host on "Wonderworld," "Sunshine School," and "Turk's Garden."

"And I've gone to hundreds of schools teaching a weather kind of lesson for an hour," he said. "Some kids tell me, 'Oh, I was in your class when I was in the fifth grade. Thank you so much.' There was one guy who texted me, 'I actually became a weatherman in Washington just from watching you and listening to you."

Bob's style of forecasting often involved community announcements, animals --including his four retrievers -- and antics.

But for all the laughter there were hard times as, over the years, we lost beloved co-workers, some very publicly.

"We're literally family. Absolutely," Turk said. "It's like losing a member of your family, which has really touched us all. All those memories."

WJZ-TV Baltimore | Bob Turk Celebrates 25 Years | WJZ 13 by Only1JZ on YouTube

There were also great celebrations and children.

"My son used to do a weekend kid cast," Turk recalled. "He was, I think, 5 maybe."

"My kids have been terrific" he continued. "They've grown in to being great, great adults."

There were also 13 Salutes, community announcements, hundreds of charity events, all part of a career that bound bob to his beloved hometown.

WJZ-TV Baltimore | Bob Turk's Sunshine School Promo | WJZ 13 by Only1JZ on YouTube


In 2005, this veteran broadcaster faced a deeply personal challenge.

"Denise, I had slowly lost my hearing for about 20, 25 years," he recalled. "It got to the point where I remember one night you said, 'There's a lot of frogs.' I thought you said 'frogs' but you said 'fog,' and that's when they said you should get your hearing checked."

Bob got a Cochlear implant and then bravely shared his journey with all of you, with others facing this choice and with children who also have Cochlear implants -- raising awareness, destigmatizing hearing loss.

"What you see on TV, that is the real us," Turk said. "We're just real people trying to deliver the best we can -- stories, good and bad, the weather, good most of the time, bad sometimes."

And he's "extremely proud" with his contribution to the community.

"I'm still here," he said. "I'm working on some projects right here in Baltimore right now, so I'll be around."

Over the last few days, Turk has received plenty of compliments.

"I think in the last few days people sending these comments of how much I mean to them really, really crystalized how wonderful this career has been for me. Absolutely, it's just been amazing," he said.

"I mean, people watched me when they're 5, 6 years old," he continued. "They're now pretty old, they're middle-aged. 'I've watched you my whole life.' It's just was very, very sweet."

Summing it up, he concluded: "I feel rewarded that this career was just so beautiful. I picked the right place at the right time to start working, just never left."

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