Friday, November 05, 2004


The central coast of California may be one of the most beautiful places in the world. I was hired to be part of the new weekend anchor team at KSBW, the NBC affiliate there. This is the dominant station in the market, even more so than WEEK is in central Illinois.

The market is about the same size as Peoria, but the station had two live trucks and a sat truck, three bureaus and a VHF signal. The sports (Dennis) and weather (Jim) guys had been there forever, the main male anchor was incredibly engaging and I was arriving just after the anchor, Dina Ruiz, who married Clint Eastwood had left the station (although she continues to fill in from time to time).

This is my one funny Clint Eastwood story. Many of my co-workers had met him at some point or another... but I never got a chance. I had only been there a short time, when after a newscast, Dina called. My co-anchor Libby had read something that was wrong and she wanted to make sure we changed it for the late newscast. But she goes into it by saying "Clint and I were watching..." I thought to myself, "Wow... Clint Eastwood was watching... me." There's a switch. I still remember paying for one movie and sneaking over to see "Tightrope" when I was a kid.

This station pushed reporters much harder than any of the stations in Peoria and this was a good thing. Instead of one or two live shots a month, I was doing as many as nine or ten a week. It wasn't uncommon for a reporter to do a package and four or five other shorter stories in the course of a day in addition to fronting their main story live. I first arrived as the El Nino storms hit and it seemed to me this is what it would have been like to cover Noah.

That spring, after traveling back and forth and hourse on the phone, Shannon and I got engaged. As hard as it was for her to leave home, the move was a good one for her. She got work at KSBW, as a reporter and producer. Working at there was a great experience for us. It pushed you to think faster, juggle more and work harder and the sense of accomplishment was great. We learned so much about tv news and life from Dan Green and Erin Clark (including a lot about kids as we would sometimes babysit Erin's on our days off).

When Shannon's dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was hard being away. In the summer of 99, months before our wedding, he was to start chemotherapy. That summer, Shannon got a job at WEEK. We got married in the fall and in November, I was hired to anchor weekends.