NBC10 anchor and former Philadelphia Eagle Vai Sikahema will retire from his morning news post later this year, the station confirmed Thursday.
After more than 25 years, Sikahema plans to say goodbye to viewers in November. While he has worn many hats at the station, he now anchors the 4-to-7-a.m. news show alongside Tracy Davidson, as well as an 11 a.m. broadcast.
“We will miss his presence on the anchor desk and in the newsroom,” an NBC10 spokesperson said in a statement. “We congratulate Vai for his many years of service to our team and his commitment to our community. We look forward to celebrating Vai and his many accomplishments with our NBC10 family.”
Sikahema started at the station in 1994 as a weekend sports anchor. He later became a news anchor and the host of “Wednesday’s Child,” a weekly segment that highlights local children who are up for adoption. Over the years, he became known by viewers not only for his reporting but also for his affable personality and the banter he exchanged with his colleagues on the air.
He has received national and local accolades for his work, including two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards, an induction into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame, and a commendation from the Congressional Caucus of Adoption for his dedication to “Wednesday’s Child.” Philadelphia City Council named him a “Philadelphia Living Legend” for his work on TV and across the region.
He is heavily involved in community outreach and in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a local leader of the church, presiding over 13 congregations in New Jersey. He also helped secure the Center City property for Pennsylvania’s first LDS temple, which opened in 2016.
Prior to joining NBC10, he spent eight seasons in the NFL. The two-time All-Pro played for the Eagles from 1992 to 1994, primarily on special teams.
Sikahema was born in Tonga, and his family later moved to a suburb of Phoenix. He attended Brigham Young University, where he studied broadcast journalism and played football.
Growing up, he wanted to be a boxer like his father, but football took him down a different path.
In 2008, his father beamed as he watched him take on baseball player Jose Canseco in “the War at the Shore,” a celebrity boxing match in Atlantic City. Sikahema won by a knockout in the first round, and donated his winnings to the family of Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, a Philadelphia police officer who was killed in the line of duty earlier that year.
Sikahema, 57, lives in Mount Laurel with his wife, Keala. They raised four children there and now have several grandchildren, which he has said makes him especially passionate about telling Philadelphia’s stories.
“This is where I’ve raised my family. I played for the Eagles. Our children attended public schools in South Jersey and private schools in Philadelphia,” Sikahema wrote in his NBC10 biography. “We live here, have friends and family here. We shop, cheer for the local teams and worship here, so what happens in Philly matters to me.”