NBC12 morning and midday news anchor Aaron Gilchrist is leaving the Richmond affiliate station Feb. 26 to join WRC-NBC4, the network-owned and -operated station based in Washington, D.C. Gilchrist will co-anchor NBC4's weekend morning newscast with Kimberly Suiters and also will contribute reports during the week. Washington is a Nielsen top-10 television market.
Gilchrist, 29, is a native of Queens, N.Y., who moved to Richmond as a child. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and Richmond Community High School, he joined NBC12 as a desk assistant in 1998 and rose through the ranks to anchor the noon newscast in 2001. He began anchoring the morning newscast in 2004, and since then has been recognized as an audience favorite and TV man-about-town.
In his on-air work at NBC12, Gilchrist was quickly noticed by colleagues and other media professionals for his calm demeanor and quick reporting under fire -- literally -- during the March 2004 fire that ravaged the Broad Street area around VCU. Gilchrist also reported on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks and traveled to the Gulf Coast to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“It's sort of the natural order of things in television … to go to bigger markets,” Gilchrist says of the timing. Representatives from NBC4 reached out to him a couple of months ago, Gilchrist says, but “I wasn't looking for anything at that time.” Still, “the opportunity came up and it felt like the right time at this point in my life and my career to ... start looking at what else is out there."
It was a difficult decision, Gilchrist says: “I've been at Channel 12 for 11 and a half years and literally grew up there."
Matt Glassman, a spokesman for NBC4, provided a written statement from Camille Edwards, the station's vice president of news, on Gilchrist's hire: “We were impressed with Aaron's reporting and anchoring and look forward to him joining our team.”
Paula Hersh, marketing director for NBC12, says Gilchrist's work has helped raise the station's morning show ratings to a top position. “Next big snow they get I hope he does a phoner for us,” she says.
Gilchrist, in turn, has high praise for his NBC12 family and audience. “I've had people stop me and tell me, ‘You know, I wake up with you every morning,'” he says. People who watch “have high expectations, and they trust you, and I've always looked at that as a big responsibility, and that is something that made me focus on doing a really good job for our viewers.”