ORLANDO, Fla. — Beloved anchor Martie Salt retired from WFTV Channel 9 on Friday, 40 years after she began delivering the news to Central Florida’s residents.
She expressed gratitude for the loyalty that viewers have shown her for decades.
“I’m grateful for all the people who have watched so long, who made a 40-year career in broadcast news even possible,” she said. “To allow this young woman to grow and develop was a very great gift, and I am most appreciative. Special kudos to those who endured a few bad hair days.”
Salt has interviewed hundreds of people over the years, including Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Dolly Parton, Lucille Ball, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak.
But she said the most thrilling stories she has covered did not involve interviewing celebrities.
“The most fun thing I got to do was fly with the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds,” Salt said. “Those flights make up the best hour of my life.”
She said she has made many fond memories during her 29 years at Channel 9.
“I have so many I can’t even count them,” Salt said. “Many moments with people I worked with where we just laughed out loud are great memories.”
Her jovial laughter is often heard echoing across the newsroom, and it is something anchor Greg Warmoth will be sure to miss.
“My favorite thing about Martie is her laugh,” he said. “She has a wonderful sense of humor but not as a joke teller. She would never make fun at someone’s expense. And while it’s hard to describe, I would say it’s observational humor -- making funny observations of everyday occurrences.”
Salt is beloved by her colleagues not only for her humility, which is exemplified by her self-deprecating sense of humor, but also for her class and her kindness.
“It is not possible to find someone who would say something negative about Martie Salt,” Warmoth said. “She is engaging in the newsroom and makes everyone feel comfortable around her. In the fast-paced news business, she always takes time to say hello, check on your family and have a kind word.”
Salt said the most meaningful story of her career was her Emmy Award-winning 2016 special “Blindsided,” which focused on the financial and emotional pitfalls of assisted living for elderly parents.
“So many people have told me that it serves as a tutorial for their family,” she said. “Either they had gone through it and they said my reports were spot on, they were going through it at the time or have found themselves in that situation since it aired. To do something that has continued to serve a purpose has been very rewarding.”
Salt said her parents, who were featured in the special, were her heroes.
“They didn’t push me into anything but just always encouraged and supported what I wanted to do,” she said.
Salt said her teachers were also unsung heroes in her life.
“I specifically remember my fourth-grade teacher teaching us to ‘read with expression.’ Somehow those three words made quite an impression on my 9-year-old mind,” she said. “And then my junior high and high school journalism teachers influenced me. The basics of what I have done for 40 years were taught by those two ladies.”
Salt said she remained in touch with her high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Greenberg, until she died last year at age 100.
Salt, who has mentored many young reporters, said there are two qualities that can lead one to success, no matter the career field -- perseverance and attitude.
“You have to stick with something long enough to get good enough so you can reap the rewards,” she said. “Every career -- no matter how much you love it -- will have peaks and valleys. You have to be able to ride out the valleys and keep your eye on the big picture. If people get easily dissatisfied and jump ship, they can really hurt themselves.”
Salt said the attitude one brings to the workplace makes all the difference.
"Our jobs are not entitlements. We can be replaced,” she said. “Are you someone who can accept constructive criticism? Can you be told you’re not doing things right without getting defensive? What are you like to work with?”
Salt said what she most loves about working in journalism is the people -- those with whom she works and those for whom she works.
“This is our community. This is where we all live,” she said. “And people have allowed me to come into their homes for years. I have to love that.”
Click here or scroll down to watch Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer issue a proclamation in Salt’s honor.
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