Sunday, April 24, 2005

Cordes Lands In Indy

The New Orleans TV blog is reporting that former WDSU news director Margaret Cordes has been named executive producer at NBC affiliate WTHR.

Margaret is responsible for directing me to Peoria as you can read in an earlier post, but in recounting this story to Josh recently, he found the detailed version rather amusing so I'll share it.

So as the post says, I'm home in Milwaukee for Christmas, trying to figure out my next move. I had gotten to know Margaret while she was a producer at WISN. At this point, she was the assistant ND at WDJT, the CBS back home. After looking at my tape, she suggests having our mutual former co-workers help me towards Green Bay or Madison. Those markets are traditionaly feeders for Milwaukee and the managers at my old station all had pretty good connections in those markets.

Then she happens to mention that she used to work in Peoria and I should call Duane Wallace. I was supposed to go to Chicago the next day to spend some time with my friend Colleen (who coincidentally ended up moving to Los Angeles a few years after I moved to Peoria). I called up Duane, told him I wanted to get back into news and that Margaret suggested I call. He didn't have an opening, but I told him I could "swing by" on my way to Chicago anyway.

Keep in mind that I had been to Peoria only once before, seven years before this to visit Bradley. Having not looked closely at a map, I seriously thought Peoria was like Rockford in terms of time to Chicago and didn't realize how far it was from Milwaukee.

But the next day, I jumped in my dad's Jetta and headed down. Unfortunately, the radio was busted, it had no tape player and at some point I stopped to make sure I was headed in the right direction. So more than four hours of silence later, I end up in Peoria.

I meet with Duane. He says he likes my tape, doesn't have an opening, but he'll keep me in mind. I honestly never thought I'd hear from him again. So I headed up to Chicago. Seven hours of driving later, Colleen and I are out. We went to see Dracula, Dead And Loving It, which I only remember because about 10-15 minutes in, we look at each other and decide it was horrible. Only movie I've ever walked out of. A few days later, I end up back in LA, convinced that I'd be staying and to be honest, starting to feel a little better about it.

It was a Friday night, a couple weeks later. I had a great time out with some friends in Santa Monica. I finally felt at home. When I got back to my apartment that night, there was a message from Duane. He had received approval to hire a new reporter and wanted me to come back for an official interview with Gene Robinson, the GM at the time.

Of course, I got the job and when I got back to LA again, I called movers. My end of the conversation went something like this:

"I need to find out how much it's gonna cost to move from LA to Peoria, Illinois."


"It's kind of near Chicago, yes."

"Am I the only person that has ever asked about moving from LA to Peoria?"

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