Happy Birthday, WIBW-TV!

By Melissa Brunner

As WIBW-TV celebrates its 60th birthday today, I must say how blessed I am to be part of its rich history. It truly is a happy accident that it even happened.

In 1996, I was producing in Green Bay and looking to move on to either my ideal producing job or to a reporting position, which had been my original goal out of college two years earlier. I sent a tape to Mary Loftus at WIBW; we visited by phone; and she offered me a job. I accepted having never been to Topeka!

I remember walking into that old building up on the hill, thinking what a unique facility it was. I didn't hear the creaking newsroom floor, didn't mind when I was directed to the desk in the back corner - it was a joke that the new person got that desk that was half the size of all the others. I didn't care - I had my first reporting job! I was midway through a tour of the building when I was sent back to the newsroom to go out on a story about a Goodyear internship program. I was also introduced that day to the miles of hilly gravel back roads in our rural areas!

I was probably like many young journalists in that I didn't necessarily plan to stay here long, but I met my husband and have forged a life I love at a workplace that continues to challenge me. It's also been an honor to learn the history of WIBW and all the people who have walked through the doors before me and while I have been here. I've sat alongside so many talented people on the anchor desk - Ron Harbaugh, David Oliver, Ron Paradis, Mark Ewing, Greg Sharpe, Dave Relihan, Rob Peppers, Dennis Bowman, and others, in addition, of course, to my present-day partners, Ralph, Jeremy and JB. I also can't begin to list all the talented reporters with whom I've worked and all the wonderful behind the scenes people that you at home never see, but who make us who we are - the producers, photographers, production people and engineers are the most important people on staff! It's all been overseen by the three pretty great bosses - news directors - I've had in my time, Mary Loftus, Sally Baltes and, now, Jon Janes.

The most common comment I hear from people after they've left WIBW is how much of a family we all became. Our family tree stretches far and wide. Our 60th birthday has sparked many conversations of shared memories, some of which have the young people on staff wondering how we ever got a show on the air, I'm sure! They never experienced a mad dash down the halls, around a couple corners putting a tape in a machine (tape? What's that?!), hoping it's cued correctly and they don't miss their slot on the air!

It's an honor to be part of the WIBW family and know that, no matter where life takes us, we'll always be welcomed home with open arms.
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