As a kid growing up in North Florida watching television coverage of major news events like the Kennedy assassination, or the triumphs of our space program, I knew early on that television news was a dream career. I get to live out that dream every day, with more than 40 years in radio and television now.. half of that time here at WIBW-TV. I had already landed my first radio station job in Gainesville and the University of Florida in the early 70s, just before my high school graduation.
I spent five wonderful years at WRUF Radio during my college years, spinning records, running the board for the Florida Gator football games on Saturday, and hosting my first talk show on Tuesday and Thursday nights. The highlight of that time was receiving the station's top student honors from famed sportscaster Red Barber. Another highlight was talking with Soon-to-be President Jimmy Carter as one of my talk show guests for a full hour.
In the mid-70s I entered television with my first job in Jacksonville, where the anchorman said I had a knack for telling feature stories about interesting people. I moved on to try news and sports in Orlando, even covering the early months of the shuttle program before it launched at nearby Cape Canaveral. I tried my hand at anchoring the evening sports for Channel 8 in Richmond, Virginia.. then back in radio, as the basketball sidekick for Merle Blair as he called the Washburn Ichabods games. I also anchored news during the first few months that V-100 became a rock station in 1978. It was just like Gordon Jump running WKRP in Cincinnati at the time that show was airing in Topeka on Gordon's alma mater, and my future home.. WIBW-TV.
After my first trip to Topeka, I returned home to Gainesville, Florida for my first official news anchoring job for WCJB-TV, the only commercial station in town back then. From there it was on to the Springfield/ Branson, Missouri area where I met my wife Sheila. She was one of my guests on their Live at Five interview show! Returning to Topeka and moving to WIBW in 1990, we now three wonderful grown children of our own. Two of them, I'm proud to say, are native Kansans! One of my daughters is about to begin a career of her own in marketing, while my son (now taller than any of us!) is working toward his degree in business.
In our social media age of reporting news in an instant, I still enjoy going back to the basics and helping this new generation of outstanding journalism students graduate and arrive at 13 News to begin their television careers. Melissa Brunner and I marvel at the technical wonders of high-definition television, Facebook, Twitter and the internet while sticking to our news principles of being fair, being right.. and sharing stories with you that captivate our viewers.