Jason DeRusha, the longtime WCCO-TV morning news anchor and co-host of "WCCO Mid-Morning," announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the television station he's been with for nearly 20 years.
From asking Minnesotans "Good Questions" and covering the I-35W bridge collapse on the then-new social media platform Twitter to delivering the news of Prince's death, DeRusha has been the affable man behind the news, delivering it all with his trademark wit and good nature.
In a May 24 social media post, DeRusha said, "I've made the decision to take a leap and try a new adventure."
We caught up with DeRusha to hear more about his decision to join the millions of Americans in the Great Resignation.
Q: This is a major move for you — from the moment you invented Twitter with your award-winning coverage of the 35W bridge collapse.
A: That's it. That's my new job. Since Elon Musk backed out, I'm buying Twitter.
Q: You've spoken about how you've wanted to be a TV journalist since you were young and still in school. What would you tell that Jason, who just discovered the AV room and started dreaming about this job, about this move?
A: I think little Jason could never have imagined that I could walk away from this. I get to do the job that I dreamed of doing. So, in that respect, when I told my family that I was thinking about stepping away from TV and doing something new, they were like, why? All I've ever wanted to be in was broadcasting. I homed in on TV news pretty young — there were only so many game show hosts available. At a certain point you have to play the odds.
Q: You would make an amazing game show host.
A: There comes a point when ... I've been struggling to explain the why. I think so many people went through the pandemic realizing it was time for a change.
It's been incredible. It's been incredible to see all the people who have reached out. There's a guy who writes for the Washington Post who said he grew up watching me. That I was the one who inspired him to go into journalism.
There comes a time when it's time to take a chance. There have been several people who have left TV recently — Eric Perkins, Dave Schwartz. Every circumstance is different. And I know when I hear about people leaving TV, I always think, "What's the real story here?" I'm always skeptical.
It is weird to walk away from a job you love. But ... what if there's another job you'll love? I do know that I'm not going to leave Minnesota. I'm not leaving for another market.
I will not miss getting up in the middle of the night. I won't miss that part.
Q: But your kids aren't little anymore. They don't need — and mostly don't want you — waiting for them when they get off the school bus anymore.
A: The morning schedule has been a gift. The timing has given my family everything. I've been able to be there for my family. I was able to coach school debate this year. Alyssa [DeRusha's wife] has always said this schedule is great for everyone in our family, except me.
Q: You dreamed a big dream — a huge dream — and you got to live it. Maybe it's time for a new dream?
A: I think that I sort of maxed out. My job is a great job. I've done mornings at CCO longer than anyone. I mean, how cool! My personality is interested in hard news, breaking news and ridiculous news. Mornings are perfect!
We got through COVID together. We got through the murder of George Floyd together. We went through the social justice reckoning and watched some of our favorite neighborhoods burn. I was on the desk when we found out Prince had died. I have had a front-row seat to living in our state. What a privilege.
It's been a validation. I love this place. Walking through the doors to WCCO television, looking at the downtown Minneapolis skyline, I always think, "How cool is this?" And now, I'll get to do that again in a few weeks, I'll walk out that door, see that skyline and think, "How cool is this?"
I get to reinvent myself. What a gift.