Larry Stogner was an anchorman, but the key to his popularity in nearly 40 years on WTVD wasn’t so much his baritone or his perfect enunciation or even his deep knowledge of the region. It was that people were comfortable with him. It’s a quality lots of people, anchors and otherwise, would like to have, but it can’t be taught. When Stogner hit the air, people wanted to sit back and listen.
Stogner left WTVD in February of last year, with a brave announcement that he was battling ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, for which there is no cure. He died Sunday night at the age of 69.
His friends and colleagues in the area mourned and praised him. Charlie Gaddy, the iconic retired anchor from WRAL, called Stogner’s death “a great loss to journalism.” He got bows as well from former WTVD reporters who reckoned Stogner to be a grand mentor of long-standing.
Indeed, he showed them by example. Few reporters did stories the veteran behind the big desk hadn’t seen himself. No one knows how many flashing sirens he had to talk over, how many times he had to brace himself against hurricane winds, how many wars he reported.
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But Stogner, who grew up in Yanceyville, had a home-grown touch and tirelessly participated in charity events.
Stogner’s illness hit people as if he were a family member, and in many ways, of course, he was.