Monday, January 1, 2018

When Did You Know You Wanted To Go Into Broadcasting?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
I started watching TV local TV news when I was probably around five or six years old, back when I was growing up in Kansas City, and Larry Moore anchored the news on KMBC-TV, Channel 9. Some of my earliest memories of local news are from the 1977 Brush Creek floods, and fortunately, Channel 9 archived a newscast from their coverage.

The research tells us weather is the number one thing that drives people to TV news. It certainly did for me. The Queen Mother will unhesitatingly tell you that I loved it when we were under a severe weather watch because the weathercasters would break in all over the dial with warnings. She always thought I would go into the meteorological side of the news biz.

Other things came along to divert my interests -- namely, personal computers. I learned how to write programs, and I thought I would end up working for Microsoft. That was, until I learned the challenges of programming a Macintosh. Journalism and broadcasting started pulling me back.

But I still can't understand, sometimes, why I chose the news business. I remember talking with a freelance newspaper writer back in high school and telling him I wasn't thrilled about doing work on a deadline. Conversely, he thought deadlines made his product better.

Still, I had my boyhood fantasies: playing reporter and broadcaster in my bedroom using an old, cheap, broken Realistic microphone; doing parody newscasts with my best friends into an audio tape recorder, doing the afternoon announcements over the intercom in high school. I couldn't walk away from the drive. I sometimes don't know if I still have it, some 25 years after I started down the path in college. So much has changed, some for the better, some awful.

If I had to make the same choices again, I don't know if I would choose TV news again. Perhaps I'd get more into the technical side, like directing, audio, or editing. I get to do some of that on the side. But back in 1992, I wasn't really sure where I wanted to end up. I think producing worked out all right, although I still wonder how I would have done as a software engineer.

Even though I love living history, I probably wouldn't have cut it as a historian. Too much reading -- not enough doing. And I never had a desire to teach.

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