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Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm There in Spirit

There is a reunion for current and former employees of WDAU/WYOU tomorrow night, at a restaurant in Scranton.  My work schedule prevents me from attending, and that troubles me deeply.

This is something only people who've worked there can understand.  We had our "challenges."  We also had some triumphs.  The ratings didn't fall our way, but I thought there were many nights when our look, presentation and story telling were as good, if not better than, the other guys.

By the way, that's really me in the above photo.  The year was 1992.  That was my desk in the old newsroom at 415 Lackawanna Avenue.  Note to my current co-workers:  my desk was exceptionally tidy, even way back when.  I still have that tie.

Below is Melissa Becker on the news set, with the great Derry Bird in the weather office.

Above is a picture from a very good day.  President Bill Clinton was in town.  It was a Sunday afternoon.  We blew out a lot of regularly scheduled programming to follow the president around Scranton.  This photo was taken as the president greeted fans on Court Street.  That's my hand, holding a WYOU microphone.  I had the chance to ask the president a couple questions on live TV.  Our coverage that day was outstanding.

Steve Chenevey took the photo you see above.  I'm not sure where Steve was working at the time, and he's now a big deal in the TV news business.  Steve is morning news anchor at FOX 5 in Washington, DC.  He has two Murrow awards and three Emmys.  On top of that, Steve is a nice guy.

I'm not going to totally sugar coat things.  There were many nights we got killed.  We didn't have the people.  We didn't have the resources, and years of neglect left the station with a horrible reputation.  We were in the process of slowly, slowly turning that around when we were sold.  You know the rest.  There's no need repeating the sad and sorry story.  I hope you're enjoying the infomercials.

Things have turned out well for me.  I've been lucky beyond belief.  It's great fun being on a winning team.  I'd been in radio and TV for 17 years when I started at WNEP, and I've learned so much in my time there.  The professional atmosphere means a lot.

My WYOU co-workers, and management back then were decent folk.  I miss them a great deal.  As the years pass, you still remember the bad stuff, but it seems less important, almost trivial. 

In spite of it all, I'm glad I worked there.  To my former co-workers, enjoy the party!