WBAY at 70: Kevin Rompa remembers ringing in the day with the morning show

WBAY's first morning news anchor: Trustworthiness is everything
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 8:45 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The year 1989 was a turning point in WBAY’s history and the career of Kevin Rompa.

“I remember I came for my interview and I was awestruck walking by Chuck Ramsay, there he was, this guy I had been watching and I really thought he did an amazing job on air, so it was great to see him,” Rompa remembers.

Kevin was soon named the first morning TV news anchor in Northeast Wisconsin.

“It’s great to be part of the Green Bay history that way, but I don’t think about it a lot. It’s a nice little thing to have. To me, Channel 2 was always the king. They were the top dog, they were the first station in Green Bay, they had these people who had been working there forever. They were very trustworthy,” Kevin says.

Kevin believed in building that trust. After the morning news, he dashed off the desk to report important stories.

In 2001, Kevin took over for anchor Chuck Ramsay on Action 2 at Noon. “I felt a great responsibility, being here to keep the standards that I saw before I got here. I never lost sight of that,” Kevin said.

He also knew the importance of being real and giving viewers a chance to laugh.

“Isn’t anything in life a lot more fun if you laugh your way through it,” he reminisces, “and if some bad bumps hit the road you just laugh your way through it as much as you can. I always found that to be the best way to live.”

What started as a 15-minute newscast developed over decades into what it is today: Two and a half hours of Action 2 News This Morning. The faces changed, but one was always there.

It came as a surprise to everyone at WBAY when Kevin announced his retirement in 2021. Many people thought he was kidding.

After 32 years of early mornings - he admits he’s still getting used to his new role, the retired Rompa: “Kevin Rompa in retirement is leading a very simple life, but a fulfilling and fun life. With the combination of volunteering, getting to play basketball three times a week, and getting to go to workout classes It did change a lot this last December because I brought my mom up from Minnesota and she needed some extra care, she’s been with us a lot of weeks and has to get through surgeries, so that’s kept me very very busy and kind of changed my lifestyle. I’m hoping to step it up and at some point and start taking some fantastic trips and things I can share, but right now I’m just enjoying life, I really love retirement, I do it’s a wonderful world to just pick and choose what you want to do and when you want to do it.”

The first voice you heard in the morning, was a fixture at the station. A friend to all of us who will forever hold a place in our hearts and WBAY History.

As Kevin Rompa puts it himself: “WBAY is just to me the standard for news in Green Bay. How they do it, and the quality which they present it, and the trustworthiness. I’ve been very proud to be part of this organization.”