Dirk Van Retires from First Light and Westwood One

Dirk Van
Dirk Van

Westwood One announced Wednesday, that after 35 years, longtime "First Light" host and Westwood One News anchor Dirk Van will retire from the network on Thursday, July 30. Van leaves after spending 26 years as the original and only host of the early weekday morning program "First Light." He also hosts "The Week in Review" news program and has anchored morning drive newscasts throughout his career.

Van said, "Radio is all about people, and I've had the great fortune to work with the best in the business, following in the footsteps of my father, Lyle Van -- a radio legend at NBC and WOR -- and others greats like Lou Adler, Nick Verbitsky, Tom O'Brien, Ron Nessen, and Bart Tessler. Hosting our morning magazine, 'First Light,' has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to work with talented broadcasters for more than a quarter century."

He continued, "Talking to listeners on a daily basis has kept me grounded, and hopefully provided a window into what America is thinking. And to think -- we started way back when talk radio was 'new.' Helping to create an exciting, new product, Westwood One News, has been especially rewarding, and being a part of its success is a great way to cap a career."

Van traded a career in physical anthropology for broadcast journalism in 1978 when he became News Director of WGCH/Greenwich, CT. He then became a reporter for WCBS and then News Director of WHN, which was acquired by Westwood One. Throughout his news career, Van has been honored with numerous awards, including the International Radio Festival's "Personality of the Year" award, an Edward R Murrow award, and an Ohio State award.

Westwood One News afternoon drive anchor Evan Haning will be succeeding Van as host of "First Light" and as the morning anchor for Westwood One News as of August 11. Haning has been on the air in Washington, DC. for more than 30 years. For nearly a decade, he was a reporter and anchor for WTOP. More recently, he anchored afternoon drive for CBS's WNEW-FM and has also worked at WRC-AM. Haning also previously was the regular guest host for "First Light."

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