Updated: Monday, 23 Aug 2010, 11:24 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 20 Aug 2010, 11:27 AM EDT
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Karen Adams, WPRI 12’s Emmy-winning longtime anchor whose familiar presence has guided viewers through events ranging from the Station nightclub fire to the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances, will retire at the end of this year.
Adams’ retirement was announced Friday by Joe Abouzeid, the station’s news director. Her final broadcast will be Dec. 30. The station plans to conduct a nationwide search to find her successor.
“It’s been an exciting and fulfilling career where I have been the ‘eyewitness’ to news events in Rhode Island, New England, and across the country,” Adams, who lives in Lincoln, said in a statement.
She said she plans to spend time with her husband, Ed Mauro, traveling and supporting charitable causes.
Adams joined WPRI in March 1989 and has anchored the station’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts throughout her entire 21-year career there. Her co-anchors have included Walter Cryan, Jim King, Steve Aveson and Mike Montecalvo, and she is currently is the solo anchor at 6.
• Related: Vintage Karen Adams videos (WPRI Blog)
“Karen is a Rhode Island icon who has tremendous ties to the community,” Jay Howell, general manager of WPRI and its sister station Fox Providence, said in a statement. “While we will miss her here at the stations, I know that Karen is excited to continue on with her community involvement, and we all wish her much continued success.”
From Westerly to Juárez
Adams , 55, was born on the Fourth of July in Missouri, growing up there and in nearby Arkansas. She graduated from Southwest Missouri State University in 1975 with a degree in speech and theatre and a minor in journalism, and got her broadcasting start as the sole news employee at an AM radio station near her hometown.
Adams began her television career at KOAM-TV in Kansas-Missouri – as it happens, the same station where NBC’s Brian Williams got his start – and also worked for WMDT-TV in Maryland. Before joining WPRI, she was an anchor and then news director at WPCQ-TV in Charlotte, N.C., which was then owned by The Providence Journal Co.
Adams’ news coverage has taken her far from Woonsocket and Westerly; she has filed reports from Asia, Cape Verde, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. She once traveled to Juárez, Mexico, to speak with workers there after Pawtucket-based toymaker Hasbro opened a factory south of the border.
“Rhode Island is where I call home, and I have been fortunate that our Eyewitness News viewers have allowed me into their homes every evening,” Adams said. “I am also more than grateful to the wonderful management here at WPRI 12 and Fox Providence, who have been generous and supportive throughout my years here.”
Over the course of her career, Adams has won two New England Emmys, including one for individual achievement in anchoring across the region, and multiple Associated Press awards for reporting. In 2005, she was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Silver Circle in recognition of her 25 years as a broadcaster.
“We will miss Karen’s hard work and professionalism,” Abouzeid said.
Charitable work a ‘true delight’
In addition to her anchoring duties, Adams has become well-known as a supporter of and fundraiser for dozens of local charities, from AIDS Care Rhode Island to The DaVinci Center. She once performed opposite Judge Frank Caprio in a play to benefit the local American Heart Association chapter.
“It is said that Buddy Cianci will attend the opening of an envelope,” The Providence Journal wrote in 1997. “The truth is, when it comes to charity events, he usually arrives after Adams.”
Adams is currently a trustee at Meeting Street, Community Preparatory School and the Providence Preservation Society, and a board member at Trinity Repertory Company and the Providence Animal Rescue League. “My work in the community has been a blessing and a true delight,” she said.
Her philanthropic work has been recognized by organizations including the United Way, which presented her with its John Chafee Lifetime Achievement Award last fall. She also holds honorary degrees from the University of Rhode Island and New England Institute of Technology.
Adams also has a well-known passion for golf. At the annual CVS Caremark Charity Classic Pro-Am, she has met famous players including Arnold Palmer, Freddy Couples and Nick Price.
Copyright WPRI 12
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