WTAP has always been John Fortney's hometown t.v. station. John was born at Marietta Memorial Hospital, grew up in Vincent, graduated from Warren High School and received his associate's and bachelor's degrees from Ohio Valley University and Marietta College.
He was a junior at Marietta College when WTAP hired him during Christmas break as a production assistant. He ran studio camera, did dubs on the old TR-70 two inch tape machine and covered air shifts running master control. A few months later there was an opening for an 11pm weeknight weather person. John was anchoring the Monday night newscast for Marietta College's t.v. station WCMO. He did an audition for WTAP and was hired as the weeknight 11pm weatherman. "It really was my big break. I thought I made it, and I worked to make the most of it." From there John learned from long time broadcaster and legend in the valley Glenn Wilson. John worked his way up through the news department under the supervision of news director Roger Sheppard, covering news and sports and started full time anchoring in 1994.
John made the leap into Columbus, Ohio in 1996. He became the first anchor of the Ohio News Network. He spent nine years anchoring weeknights there, hosting a nightly call-in talk show and weekly political show. Then in 2005 he walked across the hall and went to work for WBNS, anchoring and reporting. He specialized in politics, covering the 2004 and 2008 Republican and Democratic national conventions. He moderated or served on the panel of several debates ranging from races for governor to U.S. Senate.
John covered big stories, including Hurricane Katrina, the Shell Chemical Plant explosion in Belpre, Ohio and spent hours on the air taking phone calls from viewers and interviewing key leaders and experts during the 9-11 terror attack.
Then John's career headed west to a station that started with a 'K'. KOLN in Lincoln, Nebraska hired John in 2010. John served as the main anchor there. He enjoyed seeing that part of the country. "Nebraskans reminded me often of the kind friendly people back home in Ohio." The company which owns KOLN also owns WTAP and when John saw the opening for News Director he applied. "This was also my big break. My break to move back to the Ohio Valley." "I'm looking forward to making a difference in how we cover news and serve the public in the valley."
John has two daughters and is happy to be back close to them as well. "Its been a good run for me." "Now it's time to focus on quality of life again."