INDIANAPOLIS– Bob Donaldson’s 30-year career in central Indiana has been one of firsts, beginnings and honors. His latest honor is the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Silver Circle award.
The Silver Circle is “an honor society within our chapter for members who have spent 25+ years working in pursuit of our profession’s highest and most noble goals,” according to NATAS.
Right now, Donaldson anchors the 5, 6 and 11 o’clock newscasts for CBS4 in Indianapolis.
He’s part of the first anchor team brought together when WTTV acquired the CBS network affiliation in 2015, but it wasn’t the first time he was called on to start a news operation in the Hoosier State.
Thirty years ago, Donaldson was chosen after a nationwide search to become lead anchor when FOX59 started its news operation.
The new network was still in its infancy as Donaldson and the new team at FOX59 pulled off one of the most successful local news launches ever among fox affiliates.
Besides his work on the anchor desk, Donaldson produced Emmy-award winning special reports and documentaries. He was in the forefront of transforming FOX59 into one of the most dominant Fox affiliates in the country, starting a rapid expansion of newscast at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., all the while building the ratings dominance of the flagship 10 p.m. show.
He covered every major story in central Indiana for decades and even stepped in to become interim news director and managing editor.
Throughout his tenure, Donaldson and the newscasts he anchored were recognized repeatedly by the NATAS for Emmy awards.
But Donaldson’s career took an unexpected turn when the Indianapolis market was flipped on its head in 2015. CBS switched its affiliation from WISH-TV to WTTV. Donaldson’s experience and standing in the market made him an obvious choice to lead yet another news team. This time he was paired with two other Silver Circle award winners, Debby Knox and Chris Wright.
He also made history in the Indianapolis market by becoming the first anchor to appear on two network affiliates at the same time. For a year, he anchored the five and six o’clock broadcasts on CBS and moved over to the FOX studio to anchor the 10 p.m. news. He would then go back to the CBS studio for the 11 p.m. news.
Donaldson never missed a beat, and the launch of CBS4 Indy was a resounding success while maintaining the high ratings of FOX59.
In fact, just two years after it’s launch in 2018, CBS4’s 11 o’clock news was honored with the Emmy award for best newscast. Just last year, WTTV was recognized by NATAS for overall news excellence.
Donaldson shared in that success and was among those chosen by CBS News to anchor the network’s weekend newscast during the pandemic. It was just one of many highlights to come as Donaldson starts his fourth decade as a fixture of central Indiana television.