Like many in broadcasting, Bob Koop worked at a number of radio and television stations during the course of his career. After joining WIVB, Channel 4 in 1981, Koop told The Buffalo News that he hoped it would be his last job. After retiring from Channel 4, Koop wanted to teach, travel and cook. He wanted to go to school in France. Unfortunately, that time never came. On New Year’s Day 1995 at the age of 47, Bob Koop died after a ten-year battle with leukemia.
It was John Beard’s departure from WIVB to Los Angeles that opened the door for Koop’s arrival in Buffalo. He joined Carol Jasen at the anchor desk for the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. His knowledgeable and professional delivery resonated with viewers. For much of his time behind the anchor desk at WIVB, Koop was battling a serious illness. At a news conference at the Western New York Chapter of the Leukemia Society in 1993, Koop announced he had been suffering from leukemia for the past ten years.
His friends say he changed in the last years of his life. Koop never lost his will to fight the disease. He engaged in experimental treatments. After being off the air for several months while undergoing treatment, Koop returned to the anchor desk as the host of a new half-hour program called 5:30 Live. It lasted for seven months until he was too ill to continue. Koop’s last broadcast was on Good Friday in 1994. The cover story and his final interview were about the death and resurrection of Christ.
Following his untimely passing, Koop was remembered by TV critics and his viewers alike for his high journalistic standards. As one letter to the editor in The News said, He was a journalist with a capital J.
His parents, Inez and Eric Koop of Lovell, Maine made a generous donation to St. Bonaventure University in 1998 for the creation of the Bob Koop Broadcast Journalism Lab in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Koop was a Long Island native. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1969 and worked at radio and television stations in New England, South Carolina, Texas and Florida. Prior to his arrival in Buffalo, Koop was a news anchor at KVTX in Salt Lake City.
Bob Koop is buried in Lovell, Maine.