Channel 4 morning anchor Victoria Hong is leaving the television station to work as director of communications at Delaware North Companies, a locally owned Fortune 500 company.
Hong, 50, said she had been considering a career switch for two years and that the timing is now perfect.
"My daughter is 14 and my son is turning 12 next week," Hong said Tuesday by telephone. "My contract with Channel 4 is up in January. If I did sign another three-year contract, my daughter would be approaching college [by its end]. You have to start thinking, how long will they keep me on the air?"
Hong is negotiating an exit plan with WIVB, which will also be her exit from broadcasting.
"I want to end on really good terms with Channel 4, and I think we are at that point," said Hong, who expects to stay at the station for at least two more weeks.
Hong will be in charge of a communications team of six people, among them Laura Gray, a former reporter for Channel 7.
Vito Buscemi, Hong's husband, works as director of marketing for Sportservice, a Delaware North holding that specializes in sports concession management.
Will they be working together?
"Hopefully not," she joked. "But at some point or another, I will have to work with him. It's not something where we would run into each other every day. I told him to walk right by me – as if he never saw me."
Hong started at Channel 4 in July 1993 as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. Prior to that, she worked at WLNS-TV in Lansing, Mich. Her first stint at Channel 4 ended after one year when Hong moved to Philadelphia to anchor "Inquirer News Tonight."
Hong would return to Western New York in November 1995 to join WGRZ-TV as a reporter. Two months later, she assumed anchor duties. But in January 2001, shortly after she returned from maternity leave, Hong was replaced by Maryalice Demler as Channel 2 co-anchor at 6 and 11 p.m., opposite Scott Levin.
Hong left Channel 2 in July 2003 and was back on the air at Channel 4 the next month, co-anchoring "Wake-Up!" with Lisa Scott.
Hong is the latest in a flurry of departures at Channel 4. Sports director John Murphy is leaving for a job with the Buffalo Bills next month, and sports anchor Paul Peck left this spring to work as a financial planner. Anchor Mylous Hairston ended a 20-year career working at Channel 4 in February 2011.
In addition, Melissa Holmes, who left in January, is now on WGRZ-TV Channel 2; Lorey Schultz now works in the press office of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Michele McClintock works part time for Upstate New York Transplant Services and Lisa Scott is thriving as a voice-over specialist.
Hong is a native of Neenah, Wis. and studied business marketing at the University of Wisconsin Madison before getting a masters in journalism.
"News is the best job in the whole world," she said Tuesday. "But there comes a time when you want to bow out gracefully. I wanted to do something that was as exciting as broadcasting, and now I have another adventure in front of me."