News & Politics

You Must Remember…the Women Anchors Who Changed Local TV

Maureen Bunyan, Renee Poussaint, JC Hayward and Meryl Comer.

(Left to right) Maureen Bunyan, Renee Poussaint, JC Hayward and Meryl Comer. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

“What Is She Doing Anchoring?”

—The Women Anchors

Not long ago, the anchors on TV newscasts were all white men. Then in the 1960s and ’70s, more women and people of color started delivering the nightly news. Here are a handful of local female pioneers, left to right: Maureen Bunyan, who in 1978 became coanchor of Channel 9’s 6 o’clock news; Renee Poussaint, coanchor of the 6 and 11 pm news on Channel 7 beginning in 1978; JC Hayward, coanchor of Channel 9’s 5:30 newscast starting in 1972; and Meryl Comer, who in 1973 became coanchor of Channel 5’s 10 o’clock news.

Hayward: “They didn’t have women doing anything—anchoring, sports, traffic. They had female reporters, but the anchor chair was saved for the kings. It’s nothing to see a woman on a newscast now, but in 1972 it was striking to see a woman in that chair. [When I first went on the air,] some people would call the station and say, ‘She needs to be in the kitchen, pregnant. What is she doing anchoring?’”

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.