Remembering Sam: TV5 studio named in his honor - WNEM TV 5

Remembering Sam: TV5 studio named in his honor

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

It has been one year since the community was shaken by the loss of longtime TV5 anchor Sam Merrill.

Sam's brother Kevin visited TV5 for a ceremony to rename the studio in honor of the late anchor. He sat in the chair where Sam used to deliver the news for almost two decades.

"This was such a part of his life for 15 to 20 years. It's exciting. It feels like a happy story for me. To see that chair. To see you guys again. I know he liked coming here. He liked his job. It warms my heart to know it was a place that welcomed him and he enjoyed being here," Kevin Merrill said.

By looking at Sam's face you could tell her was born to spend his life in a newsroom and studio. A self-proclaimed news junkie, Sam thrived on his passion for the big story and uncovering the truth.

"He liked fighting and asking questions. I hope if there is any part of him that is still here it's the part that drives you guys forward to cover the news in a way that needs to be covered," Kevin said.

Anyone who walks into the TV5 studio will know Sam Merrill was there and his legacy will live on.

"For years to come new employees that come to the station they'll say, 'who is this Sam Merrill guy?' We'll be able to tell Sam Merrill stories for years to come," said Al Blinke, general manager at WNEM.

The WNEM-TV5 studio is officially known as the Sam Merrill Memorial Studio.

"In sports we have halls of fame. We retire jerseys. In broadcasting, we don't have anything like that. When we thought of the best way to honor Sam, we decided naming the studio in his honor made the most sense," News Director Ian Rubin said.

However, Sam christened the studio a long time ago. So what would he think about the honor?

"He would not take it too seriously. He would recognize it as an honor, but know there's another story, another day, another newscast. So let's get on with the business," his brother said.

Sam was always looking to stay on task and get ahead of the competition.

"He loved to read, interview people. He never wanted to have anyone put one over on him," Kevin said.

Sam's sister Debbie said he definitely liked getting the last laugh.

"He and my brother Kevin always were at all of my parties. When I would have a party my friends would say, 'are your brothers coming?' They were the life of the party. My friends loved them. They were funny. It was like two of the three stooges," Debbie said.

It was that humor and Sam's down to earth demeanor that endeared him to viewers. That's why so many invited him into their home night after night.

"I can't tell you how many people, when I said, 'I'm Sam's sister Debbie, how did you know my brother?' They said, 'I didn't know him. I watched him on TV.' Hundreds of people said that to me and it was amazing to me. He touched so many lives," Debbie said.

Sam will touch many more lives for years to come.

Read more on Sam's legacy:

Baseball pavilion to be built in his memory

Katy Merrill speaks of their life together

Katie O'Mara remembers Sam

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