There’s one good thing about working in TV news (no, not the free lunches at Kiwanis and other meetings in small markets, although that is a sweet perk). It’s the friends you make. I know you make friends in any job, but even with the often transitory nature of the news business, you’re spending time with a lot of like-minded people.
In the past few months, I’ve had the good fortune of encountering some former news friends. A couple of the meetings were CNN-related.
Mike Scully worked at the Nashville Tennessean when I was the managing editor at WTVF. A couple of years after that, we were both writers at CNN. If it weren’t for Mike, I wouldn’t have know there was a giant Civil War cyclorama at the Atlanta Zoo. He’s shaping young minds as a college professor now.
When CNN hired Soledad O’Brien to anchor their morning show, she spent a couple of days at the Atlanta HQ, mostly meeting with execs and filling in paperwork. In 2003, the network was still in the midst of mega-coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the production of many of the shows was still being done in Atlanta, so show teams (writers and producers) were spread out wherever there was desk space. My team was stuck in some office space away from the newsroom, a couple of desks away from where they had O’Brien filling in forms.
Fast-forward to the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards in 2016. Since FedEx is a sponsor, Pam gets to go, so she dresses me up and takes me along. O’Brien was a recipient that year. After the award, but before the dinner, I reminded Soledad of the 5 minutes we spent together at CNN. She was very nice about it (although I could tell she had no memory of it).
Back in April (the 22nd), Pam and I rented out the Halloran Centre (next door to the Orpheum) for our wedding and reception. We were joined by family and friends, even though some invitees couldn’t make it (they were heading to Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters convention). We still had a good gathering of former WREG co-workers.
My wife (who I met when I got a TV job in 1990) recently had to go to Phoenix for work. I had some time, so I went out to join her after she was done with work. While we were there, we drove a ways out of the city to visit my good friend Lynda (who I met in J-school at Ohio State in the 80’s). The TV courses at OSU were like lab courses – you worked with a partner. You worked the camera for their story, they did the same for you. So she and I spent a lot of time working together to get into the business – and only managed to lose one piece of equipment (a light and stand, and we still have no clue what happened to them).
We both worked our way around the country, doing news, until we found better things to do (we both married people we met at TV stations we worked at). Her husband and my wife had to listen to me and Lynda reminisce about our time growing up in Central Ohio. It’s always good to see old friends (although I’m much older than she is).
I’ve mentioned her work before. Not her bodybuilding (which took me by surprise). Lynda is one of those people who enjoy picking through other people’s junk at garage sales (yes, I’m being judgmental). But, she’s found any number of great deals for herself and even did a newspaper column for several years, She calls herself “The Garage Sale Gal” and turned her knowledge into a book (that I’ve mentioned before): “The Garage Sales Gal’s Guide to Making Money.” Go to her site and check your online bookstores, I’m sure there are still copies out there.
It was hot in Phoenix. It was a dry heat, but damn, it was still hot.
Speaking of hot, I wanted to get some work done at the house. I had some landscaping done last year, and they put in boards on the deck. I was saving for the wedding, so I didn’t have enough to have balusters put in.
The best man at my wedding, former WREG stalwart Joe Larkins, flies a lot (he’s a pilot), but is at home when not in the air. He also works with wood (Not Jeff Woods, whom he used to work with, but woodworking).
I had been over to his place to help him document his rib grilling technique (he and his brothers put that contraption together). Anyway, he had recently put some balusters in on his deck, so I called and asked him if he could swing by and give me a hand. Neither of us knew how much free time we’d have later, so we decided to do it the following week.
Turned out to be about the hottest week of the year in Memphis. We estimated a half-day, but the heat was so intense that it nearly took the entire day. We had a fan and lots of water, but there were still heat cramps. Yes, there was a lot of sweat, but the deck looks a lot nicer. And it will eventually be cool enough to actually use it.