Monday, April 07, 2008

Gosh, I'm Glad They Noticed

I was on the local TV for a long, long time. In 2004 and 2005, I toiled mostly in a management role, but occasionally anchored a newscast. For 25 years before that, I was a sportscaster. I have not anchored a local TV sportscast since September of 2003. Three things have happened in the last couple of weeks that either affirm my impact or illustrate how superfluous I really was.
I have been invited to speak to a local civic group. I wasn't sure what topic they were thinking about, so I asked. The program chairman wants me to talk about basketball, but said I can choose any topic. I have acccepted the engagement, and I'll probably talk about mid-life career change. It can happen. The man who invited me obviously thinks I'm still a full-time sports person. If they want to hear about sports, I guess I can talk about Arena Football.
Twice in the past week, I have run into guys who were once high-profile local athletes. Each greeted me warmly. The first one said, "I still enjoy watching you." The other said, "You don't see me much anymore, but I see you all the time."
Really? Are they stalking me? I appreciate their attempts at being nice. They always have been nice guys. It's nice to know nothing has changed.
Last week at The Church, a lady congratulated me on the hire of a new anchor at the TV station. It was awkward, because for thirty seconds or so I had no idea what she was talking about.
With these strange but true stories in mind, I thought I'd share something I recently ran across, a billboard circa 1987: Two people on this board are still in local TV, at different stations. Another is on the radio every morning. The other is anchoring in another city. The meteorologist, on the far right above the word "watch," was out of television for a couple of years before emerging on the other station.
That photo was made a long time ago. I hope everybody's happy.
We all looked happy, back there in the 80's. I had hair and cheekbones. I wonder where they went.

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Workman said...

I don't know if it's reality of perception, but the anchors back then looked so much more grown up than they do now.

Those are full grown adults on that billboard, but when I was working at the ol' KTAL, it seemed like everyone was extremely young.

Perhaps a change in the industry, or a change in my age, which makes everyone look younger.

Darrell said...

Well, Let's see. At the time, Sherri was 28. I was 27. Dale was in his mid-30's.
Al and Ron were a little older.
So, I don't know. Take the raw data and draw your own conclusion.

Workman said...

And I was 35 when I started working for the KTAL, older than any of you.

This makes no sense at all.

Anonymous said...

Being an old face on the tube, when it comes to speaking engagements regarding my TV-land experience "back in the day"; you can always expect that folks want to hear some clever or humorous anecdotes about your TV experiences opposed to the local TV perceptions vs reality. So pepper your talk with something funny that happened to you back in the day and reflect on "the good ol' days" as I've found that's really what people prefer to hear.

For me, two questions I get most is: "Where's Becky?" and "Why did PM go off the air?" I sometimes tell people ( jokingly) that my former co-host is doing nicely at Rehab and that her sentence was commuted.... now you know that goes over really well ; )

Break a leg!

Seth said...

That was a good lineup...Mr. Young will live on forever in Steel Magnolia reruns. The better half, who has only been to Shreveport twice, has tired of me pointing him out everytime we see the movie.

Shreveport was lucky to have three really strong lineups in the late 80s/early 90s. I haven't lived anywhere since where all three stations had such strong lineups at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Seeing that picture brings back a lot of recollections of sitting on the floor in my parents house in Northeast Texas after adjusting the rabbit ears on top of the television so I could find out when the fishing would be SUUUPER. I mimicked you on a regular basis as if you were this older figure, but in actuality you were younger than I am now. I do not regret my decision to get out of the television business, but the people in that photo are the ones that originally created the dream in my young mind. Thanks for sharing that picture.