John Roland, Longtime New York Anchor, Has Died

John Roland (l.), Rosanna Scotto and Bill McCreary of WNYW in 2007
Former WNEW/WNYW anchor John Roland (l.) with former co-anchors Rosanna Scotto and Bill McCreary at a party for the 40th anniversary of the station’s 10 O’Clock News in 2007. (Image credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage)

John Roland, a longtime anchor at WNEW New York, which became WNYW, passed away May 7 at the age of 81. He became the station’s main 10 p.m. anchor in 1979 and retired in 2004.

Years before he worked in New York, Roland reported at NBC News in Los Angeles starting in 1966, then moved to KTTV Los Angeles. Late in 1969, he shifted to the East Coast, joining the Metromedia station WNEW in New York. That station became Fox-owned WNYW in 1986 after Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition. 

Roland was on the political beat at WNEW during the week and in the anchor chair for the 10 p.m. weekend news. He took over as the main anchor for the weeknight news in 1979. 

Roland anchored alongside Bill McCreary, Cora-Ann Mihalik and Rosanna Scotto. 

“Sitting next to John was always a learning lesson,” said Scotto, now the co-host of Good Day New York. “He took pride in his writing and his down-to-earth communicating. It was never more evident than anchoring next to him during the 9/11 attacks.”

In 1983, Roland and a friend were having dinner at the restaurant The Racing Club, across the street from Fox 5, when three armed men entered the restaurant demanding money. Roland wrestled with one of the robbers, disarmed him and shot him in the leg. The other two attacked Roland, hitting him over the head with a gun. 

Roland retired in 2004. He spent his last years living with his wife Zayda in Florida. 

“He taught me about fairness in presenting the news,” Scotto added. “I felt his passion and respect for the audience who watched his nightly broadcast."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.