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Jeff Glor reaches for the sky, lands in anchor chair at 'CBS Evening News'

A few weeks ago, Jeff Glor went up 49,000 feet in an airplane for a story about the attempt of NASA engineers to lower the sound of the sonic boom.

After footage of the flight's aerobatics were illustrated in an upside down maneuver, Glor went on the set of the CBS morning show and told his colleagues that "there was nothing like it."

He had a similar Cloud 9 experience this week when he was named the anchor of "The CBS Evening News," where the former occupants included such broadcast journalist legends as Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer and, most recently, Scott Pelley.

CBS is expected to do a media blitz before Glor starts sometime after Thanksgiving, but for now he agreed to an exclusive telephone interview with his hometown newspaper.

How "Buffalo" is Jeff Glor? Here he is at the Taste of Buffalo in 2002 with his future wife, Nicole. (Robert Kirkham/News file photo)

Asked if getting the job matched the flight experience, Glor succinctly said: "Better."

It is a culmination of a 20-year journalistic journey by the Kenmore East and 1997 Syracuse University graduate who has been groomed for the job by doing stories from around the nation and the world, as well as anchoring in the morning, on weekends and occasionally as a substitute on week nights.

I wasn't surprised by the announcement by CBS News President David Rhodes. I was right and wrong at the same time when I wrote about Glor's chances of getting the job after CBS announced in June that anchor Scott Pelley was going to be replaced.

At the time I speculated about other candidates, detailed Glor's history and wondered if his age – he is 42 -- might be an asset considering the success ABC's "World News Tonight" was having with 44-year-old anchor David Muir or if it argued against Glor getting the CBS job this time around.

I ended the piece by asking "Why not Glor?"

The ending was right. The thought that his youth might be held against him was wrong. It might even be why he got the job.

On the day it was announced the job was his, Glor said he "had a very nice lunch" with CBS morning anchor and PBS host Charlie Rose. Surely, some advice must have been exchanged.

"I've been learning from Charlie for years," said Glor, who is the substitute host for Rose's PBS talk show. "All of the advice he gives me I take to heart."

Glor also spent much of the day responding to numerous congratulatory texts, emails and phone calls.

Jeff Glor on CBS This Morning in 2012 with Charlie Rose. (Heather Wines/CBS)

His mother, Karen, who still lives in Western New York, was on a cruise and called from overseas.

"She is very happy and a little emotional," said Glor. "I said, 'Mom keep it together or I'm going to lose it, too.'"

His father, Bruce, who lives in Indianapolis, was "thrilled." His wife, Nicole, was proud.

"Jeff has been working for about 20 years for this," she said. I met him when he was morning anchor in Syracuse. I thought he had something special then and I still think he does."

The couple has two children, Jack, 7, and Victoria, 2. How did he celebrate on announcement night?

"I'm celebrating by changing a diaper and reading a book to my son," he cracked.

New man in the morning ; Buffalo booster Jeff Glor is eager to anchor CBS' "The Early Show"

In hindsight, he seemed to be auditioning for the job this summer and fall as he was involved in the coverage of Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shootings and also found the time to do feature stories like the one on the sonic boom.

"I’ll let others assess that," Glor said of whether he was auditioning. "I was working as hard as I could, doing whatever I could doing stories that hopefully would make a difference. That's always been what I've been focused on."

He has been doing that for a decade at CBS, working in Syracuse and Boston before joining the network in 2007. But he credits growing up in Western New York with having a significant impact in his success.

"Everything," said Glor. "A lot. Where you grew up and how you grew up, the people you grow up with that's what shapes you. And Western New York and Tonawanda have shaped me. I hope in the right ways."

Growing up, he watched Carol Jasen, Van Miller, Don Paul and the late Bob Koop on the local CBS affiliate, Channel 4 and then "The CBS Evening News" when Rather was in the anchor seat. He also watched "The Charlie Rose Show" on PBS.

Since joining CBS, he has done several Buffalo-related stories. He covered the devastating crash of Flight 3407 in 2009. He interviewed Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly about his battle with cancer. And he did a poignant feature on Bills and Sabres Owners Kim and Terry Pegula for Showtime's "60 Minutes Sports" about keeping the teams in Buffalo.

Terry and Kim Pegula talk to Jeff Glor about their purchase of the Bills and Sabres on “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime.

He is a big Bills fan and watches games Sunday with his son on The NFL Sunday Ticket. He has been encouraged by the team's success and even feels a little "greedy" thinking about them being 6-0 instead of 4-2 if a couple of plays in the losses to Carolina and Cincinnati had been successful.

"You can't predict anything in sports," said Glor."It's been thrilling to watch."

Would he ever have predicted getting this job?

"Whatever position you are in in broadcasting or in football, if you are doing your absolute best you can every day, I think good things will happen," he said. "Luck is very important, but do your best."

He will need some luck to change the news fortunes at CBS' network newscast. It has been in third place nationally in the nightly news race starting with the end of Rather's reign and continuing through Couric, Schieffer and Pelley.

The newscast is No. 2 in Buffalo behind "The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2).  The lead-in from local newscasts has a lot to do with ratings for the national newscasts. CBS is second here because it gets a strong lead-in from Channel 4 while ABC gets a weak lead-in from WKBW-TV (Channel 7).

But CBS could and should do better here considering Channel 4's lead-in. What message would Glor like to send to fellow Western New Yorkers?

"I'd love it if they gave me a shot," said Glor.

That's a reasonable request since he is making some Western New York history. Once in the evening news anchor seat, he will be the biggest broadcast network news star from Buffalo since the late Tim Russert. (Wolf Blitzer is on cable).

Glor seemed uncomfortable with being called the closest thing to Russert now.

"No, Tim is a legend," he said.

The area can have more than one broadcast network news legend. Could it be Glor when his career is finished?

Why not?




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