Tag Archives: Work

Why Allyson Left the News Biz and My Memories of a Duopoly

Another interesting article that touches on some of the challenges facing those who work in local news.  I can relate to a degree.

Texasize was two, two, two stations in one
Texasize was two, two, two stations in one

I miss being on the morning show terribly sometimes, but my job certainly changed when my CBS station entered into a “cooperative work agreement” with the ABC station in the market.  A duopoly before duopolies were cool!  This was the late 1990s.  Here is what my typical day looked like after the “merger.”

I would get in about 3:30 to work on weather graphics and go through scripts.  At around 5:15 I would record weather cut-ins.  At 5:30 I anchored the local CBS show until 6am.  Then I would walk across the newsroom, dump those scripts and pick up scripts for the local ABC show that I anchored from 6-7am (while my recorded weather cut-ins aired on CBS).  After the ABC show it was back into the CBS studio where I anchored 1/2 and 1/2 with the network including local interviews and what not from 7-8am.  From 8-9am I did the local weather cut-ins live during the CBS Morning News.  That all finished at 9am at which time I would rewrite some of my scripts and record three radio newscasts for our radio partners and ftp those to them.  9:30ish am it was time for lunch.  When I got back from lunch; about twice a week I would go with a photog or shoot my own feature story that would air in the evening news.  Sometimes I would fill in as anchor or weatherguy on the Noon.  Additionally I was the web site manager, so I would also be posting stories to our web site.  I also managed one other person who worked the evening shift updating the web and I trained reporters and producers on posting their scripts.

It was very hectic and of course no extra money for any of us for the extra work.  I tell you though, the experience was amazing!  Lots of reps doing lots of things equals a lot of experience in a short amount of time.  All of this was before the social media explosion.  I actually would have LOVED interacting with viewers on the morning show.  We were a fun loving bunch in the AM :-)

I do know that reporters and anchors these days are required to be on social media constantly while they are increasingly shooting their own stories and producing their own shows (respectively).  News shows are cheap to produce and launching a 4pm news (for example) adds local avails without having to hire more staff.  Just have the anchors anchor another show and have the reporters do a different version of their story.  Very attractive to GMs; meanwhile news staffs get stretched even thinner.

So, for the few of you still reading here is Allyson’s story who left the newspaper biz.  She was getting burnt out while staying broke.  What do y’all think?  Is part of the local news story the inability to pay and keep good people like Allyson?

Why I Left News, by Allyson Bird

Learning to Be Content

Philippians 4:10-12

10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  (NLT) (emphasis mine)

It has been an exceedingly tough year and a half for me.  I have wrestled with many things and I have wrestled with God about many things.  The biggest challenges for me have been trying to find goals to aim myself toward and the other has been even tougher.  Being broke.  So broke that I was spending even more money that I didn’t have on late fees on late rent and insufficient fund fees to the bank (automatic withdrawals to pay bills is not always wise!).

There have been some extraordinary occurrences in the past 18 months as well.  Successes and challenges in the political arena and extraordinary success with some of my videos.  I even had one story make it on Glenn Beck!  Amazing!  And even though all of that notoriety is fun, it doesn’t pay.  I am trusting that it is all leading somewhere, but in the meantime it was discouraging to be on national TV but at the same time having to walk to work because I couldn’t afford gas for my car.

But God has been showing me some amazing things in the middle of all this struggle for money and goals.  The main message has been, quit struggling, trust and wait.  To say that is not easy is an understatement.  How can you not struggle when you feel like you are a chunk of taffy in a taffy machine?!  The best answer to that has been in the period of my want and need God has shown up in many extraordinary ways.

The biggest and best is the way he has used my friends and family to help support and encourage me!  Especially some dear friends of mine who hired me to do work, fed me when I was hungry and spoke life and encouragement when inside I felt like I was dying.  God Himself is constantly reminding me that He is with me, that He hasn’t forgotten me and that He has a wonderful plan for my life.  Just trust, wait and be thankful.

Lately I feel like I am turning the corner.  I am still struggling with my finances, but at least my rent and car payments are now on time.  I’ll take that victory.  My dear friends are now like family.  Another great gift.  My family is closer then ever.  And I am learning to be content with less.  Granted I still haven’t arrived, but as I struggle less and trust God more I continue to see and feel Him encouraging me.  I have learned so much in the last year and a half.  Lessons that will serve me well in the future.  The blessing of friends and family and God’s Love are more precious then a winning lottery ticket.

“Things” are coming a bit more into focus for me.  I am blessed to be a blessing even if that has nothing to do with cash on hand and for that I am thankful.  Still waiting on some things, but wrestling less with God and trusting Him more.  After all, He has the master plan!


Last night was the second Tucson Fall Banquet.  The banquet series takes a break today before resuming for three nights in the Phoenix area.  (you can find out more here)

As you probably know, Teen Challenge of Arizona is my employer.  I maintain the web site and do some YouTube videos.  It is a very rewarding job as you can imagine as we see literally hundreds of boys, girls, men and women set free from drug and alcohol addiction every year.  My small role of support allows me to tell some of the amazing stories of how God is saving lives through the ministry of Teen Challenge.

This years banquet theme is Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say, Rejoice!”  The banquets are more then just our major fundraiser for the year.  They are also an opportunity to share the amazing things that God is doing and to Rejoice! in them.

One amazing story I got to tell after Fall Graduation is that of Karami’s and how God not only saved her life and changed her forever, but also changed her Dad and her entire family!  Karami and her family shared from the stage last night.  While I didn’t record that, I can share part of their story with you via this YouTube story I put together at graduation in September:

Reasons to Rejoice! indeed.

April Foolin’

In general I’m not big into April Fool’s Day.  Those that know me pretty well are usually surprised to hear that.  I tend to be a fun-loving guy who likes to laugh a lot.  I guess it can be surprising when I say that I have a tough time coming up with April Fool’s pranks, or jokes, that are good.

Sure, stoopid April Fool’s jokes are a dime a dozen.  Usually it’s based on a lie that isn’t hard to detect as a lie.  Everyone has an uncomfortable laugh and then gets on with the day.  Worse yet is a made up tragic story that causes wailing and sobbing only to be replaced by fists flying when the truth is revealed.

However, I do have one story of a joke that I actually planned out and pulled off that wasn’t half bad.  This is that story.

It was years ago in Roswell, New Mexico.  I was the main Weather Anchor on the 6:00 and 10:00 news on KBIM-TV.  I brought my son and daughter to work with me on April Fool’s Eve along with the suit and tie that I was going to wear the next night.  I used a photog to shoot the video.  By the 6:00 o’clock news on April Fool’s night, I was ready.  I instructed my director to mess with the clipping on the weather wall shortly after I started my weather and then roll tape once I walked off camera.  It worked brilliantly.  Here’s what the viewer saw that night in 1993:

We came out of the commercial and I got 10 or 15 seconds into the weathercast when I started to fade in and out on the air.  I turned to the camera said, “something’s not right, I’m gonna go check this out.”  I then walked off camera and out the studio door with the camera following behind.  I walked into the control room and up to the “director” and it was my 4 year old son and 10 year old daughter.  My son had the headsets on and my daughter was at the controls of the switcher.  I looked at ’em and said, “I know it’s your first time directing and all, but can you please try and get it right?”  They said in unison, “OK Dad.  NOT!”

I then walked back into the studio shaking my head and went on with the weather.

Fun times!  Great team work between a news photog, director, tape op and my kids.  My only regret is I didn’t save a copy.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother Chris!  Seriously.

So, you want to be in TV News

Hilarious video a couple of my friends posted on Facebook.  The lure of bright lights and adoring fans draw so many to the business, but it’s in the trenches of busted equipment, long hours, working every holiday, annoying consultants and small towns that separate those that are truly talented, and driven (and few that are clueless but strikingly beautiful) from the those that thought it was gonna be all fun and flowers.

After you hang in for awhile and make it to a big market (or stay in a smaller one) then you can make a decent living and have folks stop you in the store asking you when it’s going to rain.

Hahaha! I remember getting so embarrassed when my gear would break down while interviewing a Congressman. Or working several Christmas’ in a row. I was poor, but I had a dream and I worked through it. I finally had a house and a nice contract and THEN I left. What is wrong with me?

Don’t answer that!

Texassize Weather

Keith Monday tells me this picture is 1999ish.  That fits about right.  This is the combined ABC28 and CBS13 (Texassize) weather team at the time.  Good times!

Keep it here.  We'll keep you advised.
Keep it here. We'll keep you advised.

Matt Hines, Matt Miller, Keith Monday, Ron Roberts, Mike Shaw and David Young.  There are a few folks here I don’t remember their names.  My apologies.  I’m not good with names.  I really need to work on that.

Fall Back if You Must

"When the little hand is on the 2...."

Welcome back to Arizona time, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, part of Idaho, part of Oregon, part of North Dakota, part of South Dakota, part of Nebraska, part of Kansas and Far West Texas.

If it seems kinda early, I suppose it is.  It’s only been two years since the Congress voted to extend Daylight Savings Time.  Starting in 2007 Daylight savings time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.  In 2009 that’s November 1st, and that’s just a few hours away!  You can stay up until 2am and set your clock back then and relive that hour.  You can “Fall Back” when you go to bed tonight and get up extra early.  Some choose to sleep the extra hour, which is always a good option.  Others forget and show up for church early.  Always good for a laugh.

What is the history of Daylight Savings Time?  I don’t really care, but you can read more about it here.

Of course living in Arizona, the time doesn’t change for us (except for the Navajo Nation, apparently).  We have the wisdom to stay on Mountain Standard Time year ’round.  People ask me sometimes why Arizona opts out of Daylight time and I always answer, “Because in the Summer when it’s 108, you want the Sun to go down!”   Essentially I believe that is why, but again, I am too lazy to look up the “real” reason.

One affect it does have on us here in AZ is TV programming. During the Summer we are Eastern Time minus 3 hours.   In the Winter, -2.  That means Monday Night Football will now start an hour later for us, etc.   This was really “fun” when I worked at Family Life Radio.  All of our programming shifted an hour to accommodate the rest of the network.  It caused a few scheduling headaches, but mostly it made me an expert on where Arizona stands time-wise with the rest of the country.

Enjoy your extra hour of sleep if you are falling back tonight.  Those of us in Arizona will carry on as usual.  Maybe we’ll call our east coast friend a bit more now too, since they won’t be going to bed when we get off work…. at least until March.

New and Improved Blog!

WordPress Button

The content is the same, except I added a bio page.  Otherwise it’s just a face lift.

I decided on the change after helping a client install and customize WordPress on his site.  If I can help someone else, I decided I could work on mine too!  So, I browsed through some of the Word Press themes and settled on this one.  I liked the banner pictures at the top, but thought it would be even better to feature my own photography up there.  So, I switched theirs out and put mine in!

I really really like WordPress.  They really do make installing a blog easy.  I know just enough html and php to do some tweaks, and there you have it.  After helping my friend, and making a few bucks doing it, I’m thinking there might be more opportunities in using WordPress as a template for designing web sites for folk.  It could happen!  If you want to hire me, leave your contact info in the comments!

Can’t Sleep!

Rockstar Energy Drink

I had a “Rockstar” energy drink when I left Yuma this evening at about 5:00.  I can’t fall asleep, so I got up to blog a bit.  Since I don’t have a lot of readers of the blog (yet I insist on entering entries!)  I hesitate to say that I’ll put “someone” to sleep  :-)

Hopefully, it’s me!

I am heading back to the Midnight shift August 12th foe who knows how long.  I’m thinkin’ I might try “Roskstar” in place of coffee as a midnight wake up drink.  Instead of getting up at 11:00 p.m. to drink coffee I could get up at 11:45 and drink “Rockstar” on my to, and at, work.  I’ll give it a shot in a couple of weeks.

Hike Interrupted

a.k.a. the joys of management.  I was minutes away from leaving on a half day hike to the top of Pusch Peak when my phone rings.  The wrong weather is airing in Jackson, Michigan.  Today is July 4th, so we are running “Holiday WXs” which just means they are assigned a different number in the automation system.  Since everyone has the day off, the announcers are voice tracked and there is a holiday playlist in place and everything should be wonderfully on auto pilot!  Apparently, not so much.

Having received the call, I go in to work to redo the WXs.  I also e-mail Robert to make sure he did them to begin with.  He did.  He also resent them, even though he is no longer an employee as of yesterday!  I recorded new weathers as well and sent them.  Jackson, MI July 4th WX has been sent three times now!  If there is a problem, it’s technical, which means I had to skip my hike for no good reason.

It’s an hour later than I wanted to leave and already 83 degrees.  If I left now, I’d be hiking down with the temps near 104.  I think I’ll ride my bike :-)