A face and voice that has long been a staple in the Northland signed off for the last time as Dennis Anderson delivered his final broadcast.

WDIO news anchor Dennis Anderson wanted Wednesday to be a normal day.

In reality, it was anything but.

On the last day of his 50-year broadcast journalism career, he went to a regularly scheduled Kiwanis meeting only to find everyone wearing a mustache in a nod to his trademark. Then the group roasted both Anderson and his replacement, Darren Danielson.

“I needed that,” Anderson said.

At the station, the atmosphere was charged with people who wanted to make sure everything went well for Anderson’s final broadcasts, said Jon Ellis, assistant news director.

“It has the buzz of an election with no election,” Danielson said of the newsroom.

Throughout the day, the jokes were flying.

“Your password will expire in eight days,” Anderson read aloud from his computer. “Do I want to change it?”

He then made a point of telling everyone that in 24 hours, he’d be at the cabin fishing.

A fake mustache sat on Danielson’s desk in a box marked, From: Dennis Anderson. To: Darren Danielson. “Your mustache.”

“It’s one of the sides of Denny we get to see,” Danielson said. “He’s a jokester.”

Meteorologist Justin Liles made a production out of asking Anderson how to fold a pocket handkerchief to achieve a fluff-like appearance. Anderson seemed to enjoy giving that lesson and a few other pointers.

In more serious moments, colleagues said their goodbyes and had Anderson sign publicity photos for them.

“You can come back and visit anytime,” reporter Katey Rusch told him.

“I’ll be back a week from tomorrow for my paycheck,” he said. “And sometimes for coffee.”

Anderson also spent time replying to e-mails and a stack of snail mail from those wishing him well in his retirement.

“I just appreciate the consumer,” he said. “That they’ve chosen us to get some information.”

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