Photo | Fox 10

2018 Nappie Winner  |  Bob Grip, Best Anchor

The self-proclaimed “Susan Lucci of the Nappies” will be taking home the hardware this year as Best Anchor.

FOX10’s Bob Grip was recognized for the achievement by Lagniappe readers in what will be his final year behind the desk at WALA. The newsman with more than 30 years’ experience will retire in January.

In addition to spending time with his four grandchildren, being free from the daily grind of a newsroom will allow Grip and his wife of 44 years more opportunities to see the world.

“I’d like to have a chance to travel,” Grip said of his impending retirement. “There was no time to travel before because I always had to be back.”

The New Britain, Connecticut, native wound up in Mobile by chance after hearing about a job opening at WKRG in 1975, while he was finishing up graduate work at Ohio State University. Grip has been here most of the time since.

“My wife and I have always loved being here on the Gulf Coast,” he said.

After six years at WKRG, Grip left for Virginia Beach, but came back to the local Fox affiliate.

“Channel 10 asked me to come back,” he said. “It was kind of a compliment.”

Grip understands that his 34 years at one station is unusual in an industry that typically sees a great deal of turnover.

“I saw colleagues moving around a lot,” he said. “It seemed very stressful on families.”

Once his daughters started school, Grip said he and his wife made the decision to stay as long as they could.

According to a retirement announcement, his accomplishments at WALA include meeting Pope John Paul II at the Vatican for a 1988 documentary and reporting live from war-ravaged Kuwait in 1993. He established the weekly series “Fugitive Files,” which has run for 24 years and helped law enforcement apprehend more than 700 suspects. He also produced week-long series from Paris and Versailles, France, in 1998 and Madrid, Spain, in 2001. Recently, Grip produced an award-winning series of reports from the Farnborough International Air Show in the United Kingdom.

Being an anchor always felt like being a part of something bigger, Grip said. It’s making sure all the individual pieces work together.

“In a way it’s like being the conductor of an orchestra,” he said. “You try to be a leader.”

As for what got him into the news business, Grip said it was the stories.

“I love telling stories,” he said. “I love putting things in context and having a real impact.”

The Boston College graduate until recently also worked as an adjunct professor at Spring Hill College teaching a class on multimedia journalism. His 25 years in the classroom keeps him sharp, he said.

“It has kept me on my toes,” Grip said. “I couldn’t tell students to do something if I wasn’t willing to do it.”

Grip can be seen on WALA’s 9 p.m. newscast four days per week now.