SAN ANTONIO – From the courtroom to Willie Nelson’s tour bus, for almost five decades Paul Venema has been capturing KSAT viewers with his stories.
After 47 years, Venema has announced he will be retiring this spring.
“My decision to retire was based primarily on my desire to spend more time with my family who have loved and supported me through my career,” Venema said.
Venema started as a weekend anchor in 1969 and later anchored the 5, 6, and 10 o’clock newscasts, but his true passion was working as a reporter in the field.
“I fell in love with the legal system and that’s what I enjoy most,” Venema said.
Venema has reported on many historic stories throughout his career including the trials of the Branch Davidians, killer nurse Genene Jones, and the quad mom murder trial of Allen Blackthorn, who was found guilty of hiring a hitman to kill his ex-wife.
“I’ve had an amazing trip through the legal system but I’ve also covered everything from national political conventions to a half dozen hurricanes and other natural disasters,” Venema said.
His career also led to a close friendship with music icon Willie Nelson. Throughout the years, Venema and Nelson would catch up on his tour bus or at Nelson’s ranch.
While viewers will miss seeing him on-air, his KSAT colleagues will miss him, too.
“Believe it or not I grew up watching Paul on KSAT and now he’s considered the dean of the courthouse where he is the most respected reporter by all of the judges and not just in Bexar County but statewide. What a career and to think I have been able to witness it first-hand is quite the honor for me. Congratulations Paul!” said KSAT sports anchor Greg Simmons.
“Paul is a legend. KSAT viewers have witnessed his professionalism and journalistic excellence, but I also appreciate his friendship. Paul has a great sense of humor and just a genuineness to him that I will miss greatly. I wish him nothing but the best,” said KSAT anchor Steve Spriester.
“In a world where it’s all about relationships, Paul has been able to develop great relationships inside the station and across the community. He’s a legend at KSAT, as well as at the Bexar County Courthouse and the Justice System. Through his reporting, Paul has made all of us smarter – turning complex legal issues into easy-to-understand stories that our audience appreciates. But that’s the professional stuff. Personally, Paul is a true Renaissance Man… yes, he knows the legal system, but he also loves music, can strike up a conversation with anyone and is a real jokester! I call him Tio – I don’t even know how or why I started that – but I think it’s probably because he’s kind, interested in learning about people, and the kind of guy who’s ready to lend a hand, no matter who’s asking or what’s needed. I’m going to miss having Tio around the newsroom, but I know his family is going to be thrilled to have him all to themselves!” said KSAT news director Bernice Kearney.
“I’m still shocked that Paul is actually retiring. He is an institution here at KSAT. I can’t tell you how many times when we were at the courthouse people would come up to him and say that they grew up watching him. It was like he was part of their family. I want to wish him the best in his retirement. No more phrases like “it cuts like butter” when we were editing our story. He was just an all-around great person to work with. Easy going and he got along with everyone. He will be truly be missed.” said KSAT photojournalist Misael Gomez.
While he hasn’t set an exact date, Venema plans to officially sign off later this spring.
“As for what I will miss the most, it’s the people,” Venema said. “I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way whose friendships I will always treasure.”