For more than two decades, Ron Matz has appeared down in Fells Point bright and early every week, hosting guests and strangers belting out the Bangles’ “Manic Monday” live on-air for WJZ-TV.
But this morning marked the final edition of the zany weekly segment, with the Channel 13 news crew and Matz announcing he’s retiring soon from the station.
Matz, a reporter for the CBS affiliate since 1993, was joined by a crowd of guests to celebrate his run. Among them: Don Scott, the station’s former anchor of 40 years who retired in 2014; ex-WJZ producer Mark “The Blade” Brodinsky; Nick and Jimmy Filopidis, the father-son team who hosted Matz and co. outside in Fells for years at their now-former diner Jimmy’s; and in what appeared to be a surprise cameo, local activist and artist Duane “Shorty” Davis, who stood with them and others for a champagne toast at the end.
Local singer-songwriter Gina DeLuca had the honor of the performing the final televised cover.
Anchorwoman Denise Koch also jumped in to present Matz with a proclamation from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young celebrating his quarter-century of time at WJZ, which included an Emmy award and four nominations. “On behalf of the citizens of Baltimore, thank you for more than two decades of outstanding reporting, and best wishes as you begin the next chapter of your life,” it read.
Matz is the latest longtime talent to leave WJZ-TV. Friday marked general assignment reporter Alex DeMetrick’s final day after 35 years there. In May, anchorwoman Mary Bubala, there since 2003, was let go days after asking a poorly worded, racist-sounding question about Baltimore’s black female mayors in the wake of Catherine Pugh’s resignation.
Ratings reportedly dropped after the scandal among viewers ages 25 to 54, a key group for ad sales.
Matz, who has not returned a voicemail left Monday morning, joined the station in 1993 after working for local radio news stations WCAO-FM and WXYV-FM (now WCSR’s 102.7 “Jack FM”). He’s a proud graduate of Baltimore City College, as he noted on the air today, and lives in the city.
Station general manager Audra Swain has not responded to a request for comment on his pending departure.
Matz told viewers this morning he’s “heading into retirement in a couple weeks,” so they should still expect to see him around through mid-July.
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