By Mark Ambrogi
For Dave Barras, the timing was right.
The longtime Carmel resident is retiring Dec. 1 after 37 years as a reporter and anchor at WISH-TV Channel 8. Barras’ wife, Kathy, retired from the Department of Defense this summer.
“We’ve been kicking it around for the last year-and-a-half,” Barras said. “I’m going to turn 65 in November, and it’s a good time to start the next chapter of our lives.”
Foremost is spending more time with their three sons, all Carmel High School graduates, and two grandchildren.
Barras’ oldest son, Nathan, lives with his wife, Sarah, in Fishers with children Olivia, 6, and Braydon, 4.
“Olivia has a little show she is going to be in the day after I retire, so that works out great right there,” Barras said. “Those are things we are looking forward to, to be able to go to their activities. That will be a lot of fun.”
Barras has two sons, Adam and Michael, who live in Los Angeles.
“We hope to have extra time to visit them and not do it for just two or three days, but for a couple of weeks,” Barras said. “Now we can go out there when they have some time. We’ll travel a little bit. We love Carmel and love being here. We intend to stay here. We’re not going to move or find a warmer climate. When you watch the snow fall, it makes the winter not as bad as when you have to get back in it every day. We’re looking forward to spending a winter here and enjoy it and not think, ‘Oh, no, we got to get the car started and go out.”
Barras said he worked every shift possible during the years, including 21 years as morning show anchor on Daybreak. About 10 years ago, Barras moved to doing noon and evening broadcasts. Now Barras does the 6, 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts.
“When we started CBS Morning News, it was not big because Captain Kangaroo had been on for so many years. We ended up from a bad No. 3 to No. 1 in a couple of years,” Barras said. “That was a nice accomplishment. It wasn’t just me. But my good friend and meteorologist Randy Ollis and I really clicked. We’re great friends on the air and great friends off the air. We got lucky we were so far behind everyone else. We clicked, and the viewers liked it. So we were able to go from worst to first. That was an accomplishment I’m very proud of, and Randy is, too.”
Ollis arrived at WISH in 1984.
“Dave has been like a big brother to me over the years,” Ollis said. “We both respected each other tremendously. We laughed together. We could read each other’s minds, which might be kind of scary. We really did click and we always had fun together. We knew when to have fun. We knew when to be serious. He’ll be missed. He’s just a great friend.”
Barras said he is proud of some stories he has helped break.
“We were able to confirm the Colts were moving from Baltimore before anyone else,” Barras said. “I was able to break the news that Subaru and Isuzu was coming to Indiana. We did a lot of reporting on Tim Durham, who is in jail now (for defrauding investors). Reporting has been a big part of my life as well as anchoring.”
When he was hired in July 1980, Barras laughed it off when the human resources representative told him his anticipated retirement date was Dec. 1, 2017.
“It’s amazing to me that turned out that way,” Barras said. “It boggles my mind 37 years have gone by this quickly.”