By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published May 07, 2010 at 11:00 AM
Watch Tim Cuprisin's On Media on Time Warner Cable's Wisconsin on Demand Channel 411, with new episodes posted Fridays.

Mike Miller, the only person to have anchored at Channels 12, 4 and 6, will anchor his final Channel 12 weekend newscast on Saturday, May 29.

Miller, 58, tells me he's retiring after  three decades in the anchor chair -- or chairs.

"It's just time," he said. "My wife's been a kindergarten teacher for 35 years. We just decided, while we're both still healthy, it's time to hang it up."

Miller calls it a retirement -- but only a retirement from TV news.

"I might still keep my hand in somewhere, voiceovers or whatever. I've been thinking about it for a while, it's just time now.

"There are no plans. I just wanted not to have to do what I've been doing all this time. What I'm going to do, a little free-lance work -- maybe. But I don't want to do much of that; have my band play more often on the weekends, which I haven't been able to do; travelling, volunteering, just a whole bunch of stuff," he said.

One thing the Oconomowoc native isn't planning is a move out of the area.  "I've been here my whole life," he said.  "I hope to be here the rest of my life."

He joined Channel 12 in June 2003, as his Channel 4 contract expired. He had been anchoring the morning news since joining the NBC in 1990, after leaving Channel 6.

"It was totally unexpected," he said of Channel 4's decision not to renew his contract. "The way it turns out, it was a godsend. I was waking up at 1:30 in the morning. I'd have to go to bed at 7:30. You have this constant jet-lag experience."

Channel 12 snatched up the likable Miller, making him a weekend anchor -- and a promotional tool in a smart move by the ABC affiliate. He was one of a series of familiar faces recruited by the ABC station, including former Channel 6 anchor Joyce Garbaciak and Channel 4's big dog, Mike Gousha.

"I was here within an hour after leaving Channel 4," he said. "And they had a promo on the air on the 'Oprah' show the same day, three hours later.

Miller's biggest Milwaukee TV achievement is the triple crown, anchoring at the market's big-three TV news operations.

"That is a fact, and I don't think that'll ever be done again. Well, I had to beat one no-compete clause to do it."

That rare achievement came in 1990, when he made the move from Channel 6 -- where he had started in 1978 -- to Channel 4.

He had begun at La Crosse's WKBT-TV before coming home to southeast Wisconsin. His career began in the days before videotape.

"In La Crosse, we were still film," he recalled. "Those were the days, no teleprompter, just a script."

Reporting has continued to be a part of Miller's duties. At Channel 12, he anchored weekends and did reporting several days a week.

Miller prides himself on telling stories -- whether as a reporter or an anchor -- without offering any of his own opinions.

"I remember way back at Channel 6, I'm gonna guess late '70s, early '80s, when the first abortion clinics started up around Milwaukee," Miller said. "I did a story on one of the first ones, and the big protests."

"Ten people called me about that story," said Miller, noting that viewer calls on a specific story are rare. "Five of them thought I was pro-abortion, five of them thought I was anti-abortion.

"I was right down the middle," he said.

Here's a look at Miller from a quarter century ago on Channel 6. He pops up at about a minute and three quarters into the newscast:

Bart Adrian moving on: In case you missed yesterday's blog post, Channel 6 has announced the departure of weatherguy Bart Adrian at the end of August. He joined the station in 1982.

News director  Jim Lemon says the decision was "mutual." Adrian hasn't commented.

Talking with Ted Perry: The latest edition of the weekly TV version of the OnMedia column features a conversation with Channel 6 anchor Ted Perry. Among topics we cover is "Ted's Take," the regular opinion piece Perry does on the 10 p.m. news.

Time Warner Cable digital customers can watch the on-demand program  on Wisconsin on Demand Channel 411.

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.