First three letters in news
In June 1999 my career in TV news came to a screeching halt. After nearly two years in Florence, Alabama, the owners of the TV station decided to switch from an NBC affiliate to a UPN affiliate. Most of you probably know UPN had no news and so on a Monday morning, we were all informed the previous Friday had been our last newscast.
I spent six weeks desperately searching for a new job and broadened my original search area in larger part because my wife was four months pregnant with our first child. I was offered a morning show producer position in West Lafayette at the CBS affiliate and only station in town, WLFI. I did not want this job. The hours and the duties did not appeal to me in the least. But as I mentioned, there was a baby on the way and it’s not always about what you want.
About two months after I started, station management announced changes to the morning show, which included the hiring of a new male anchor. I’m not going to lie, I was highly disappointed when this new role wasn’t offered to me. Instead, I’d still produce the newscast and work with the two anchors, Amy Flech and Ryan Gerding.
Amy was in for the short haul though and left soon after the change. Reporter Gina Quattrocchi stepped up and filled in with Ryan. Together these two ended up teaching me valuable lessons that I can honestly tell you I still use to this day, nearly 20 years after our first meeting.
But it wasn’t an easy path. I resented Ryan at first and when he told me how he preferred I write his scripts, I resented him even more. I was too stubborn at the time to realize Ryan was making me a better journalist too. I eventually got over my resentment and came to value Ryan’s opinion. My favorite line from him that I still use with my current coworkers is ‘What are the first three letters in news?’ when it comes to not having fresh content in a show.
I’m friends with Ryan on social media and I’m happy to see the success not only in his own career but his children too. He’s a great dad and journalist and I’d like to think had we both stayed in West Lafayette we’d hang out and wear ‘fat pants’ together.
I eventually transitioned from behind the scenes writing and producing to reporting. I firmly believe GQ as we called her had my back the whole time. She helped me become a better storyteller and played a role in me finally earning a chance to co-anchor a few shows. She even went so far as to come in on her day off under the premise that I would be anchoring with her.
Both Ryan and Gina made a huge mark in my professional life. I’m grateful for having met them and the role each played in my career. I didn’t ask them to do what they did, they stepped up and provided that nurturing I needed at the time. I hope I’m paying it forward in my current job and making a difference for someone like these two did for me.
I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.