Friday, Sept. 17, marks the last day longtime WFIE anchor Dan Katz will sign off from 14 News’ Sunrise show. After almost 40 years covering Evansville news — 27 of them on Sunrise — Katz is riding off into the sunset of retirement. The team at Evansville Living has long been a fan of Katz’s career — and even his hair! — and our sunrises won’t be the same without Katz catching us up on the news. We caught up with Katz as he was winding down his last week on the job and asked him five questions about his career, family, and post-retirement plans. His answers are funny, touching, and classically Katz.
Evansville Living wishes Katz a long and happy retirement. Cheers to you, Dan!
What is the first thing you plan to do when you retire?
On Sunday, the family is heading to check out The LUME experience, an exhibit with paintings of Vincent van Gogh in a digital immersive gallery, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (My wife) Beth is a huge Van Gogh fan, so we’ll be there.
Post-retirement, will your famous head of hair have a new styling routine?
No new styling routine, but I won’t be getting haircuts as often. They used to be about every two weeks, now a month maybe, and I’ve also been dying to grow an actual beard, more than just the 10-day vacation variety, so we’ll see how that plays out.
What has been your favorite news assignment to cover, and why?
Covering the 1996 Summer Olympics at Centennial Park in Atlanta is at the top of the list. Never saw an actual event, but as part of a huge media circus, sending stories home for 24 straight days was exhilarating and exhausting. The only downer was the bombing in Olympic Park, which turned a fun event into serious news. I also got to cover the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, and although I didn’t see the game, it was great to be part of the atmosphere and the coverage. I also covered Evansville native Bob Griese when he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1990. I loved doing many feature stories as well.
In 1994, I started as co-anchor on Sunrise, and it’s been quite the long haul, but I’ve enjoyed it and hope the viewers have, too. I’ve had some amazing co-workers, like Byron Douglas and Shaelie Clark, and my other Sunrise teammates, who are like family to me, and I’ll absolutely be staying in touch with them.
With ties to Southern Illinois University, Ball State University, and Indiana University, which school’s sports teams do you root hardest for?
Well, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Giants and 49ers fan, but when I was just 13 years old, the family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1968, and I needed teams to root for that I could watch, so I was, and still am, a huge University of Illinois Illini fan. I was only at SIU for a couple of years, so the loyalty wasn’t quite there. My son Noah went to Indiana, so it was a bit difficult putting on an IU shirt, but I did when we went to their games. My other son Jonah went to Ball State, so I did root for them because of that, but it was a rather quiet version of #chirpchirp! I do root hard for the Chicago Cubs and was thrilled in 2016 when they finally won the World Series, and I’m a Chicago Bears fan as well.
We know you and your wife Beth are huge Steely Dan fans. How many Steely Dan concerts have you attended? What is your favorite song by The Dan?
Well, she loves them, but I’m the one who is die hard. I’ve been to four of their concerts, and still listen to them loyally. (Best group ever.) “Aja” is my favorite Steely Dan song, one that I would consider an anthem.
Photo of Dan Katz provided by WFIE.