Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm Not There

Too bad they haven't invented functional teleportation yet. If they had, perhaps I'd be in Great Falls this afternoon and evening celebrating the 50th Anniversary of KRTV. It was a pivotal time in my life (one of several, anyway) and I have some distinct memories of that time - the threads of which remain interwoven in the tapestry of my life even still.

Of course, I have special memories from each of the stations I worked throughout various western small markets. Today though, is a day set aside to remember forecasting and reporting around the Golden Triangle.

Some of my KRTV colleagues will remember the guy who would regularly drive all the way to Great Falls from Seattle just for a long weekend (and then arrange for me to receive a dozen roses there at work the day that he left). They might be pleased to know that three television stations and several years later, we finally married and settled here in the Seattle area.

One enduring memory from KRTV would be the struggles I always had trying to wear the battery belt for the light when out shooting news on my own. Being considerably smaller than the regular photographer, the belt was way loose, and with my hands full carrying the light stand, the camera, the deck, and the microphone bag, I always had a tough time keeping it from slipping off my waist.

I also remember one of the first times I edited a story on my own, it took me so long that I had just enough time to run it up to engineering and then sprint out onto the set (think Broadcast News) just as we were coming into the weather segment. I was so out of breath from running up the stairs that one woman called the station to inquire whether I was feeling okay. To say that I was mortified would be an understatement.

Professionally, I learned a great deal about broadcast journalism from the news director, Mack Berry, and everyone else there at KRTV that I was able to then take successfully into stations in El Paso and Omaha where I did health and science and environmental reporting in addition to weather.

As just one example, one day at the police station briefing, the only item of particular note was the theft of some 14 cases of diet bars from the weight loss clinic. Not sure how to make that newsworthy, Mack sat me down and taught me that anything can be written funny and so that’s how I wrote that story. That knowledge (along with some understanding of when to use it) has served me well for many years.

What I remember most, however, was how much everyone at KRTV and so many other people in and around Great Falls took me into their hearts and homes. One elderly couple even drove 75 miles one day just to come to the station and visit with me for a bit, showing me their book of family history in case we might be related. It touched me so much that I was making that kind of difference in people’s lives that I stayed working in television for 5 years until I finally came home to get married.

Thank you all for teaching me so much and for being such wonderful friends while we were together.

What memories of today will stay with you?