Thanks for the Memories, Arkansas

As I leave Little Rock for the next chapter in my career with Nexstar Broadcasting, I’m at  a loss for words.   What’s the right way to communicate how I feel?  I’ve started a few blogs and then deleted them.  I’ve come up with a few concepts or themes that just don’t seem right.

Quite frankly, my legacy in the ten years I served as a news director will be the people with whom I worked.  Their success is my success.  My achievements are only because of them.

Earlier this week, Mark Moseley, whom I’ve worked alongside for the last nine years over two television markets, penned his thoughts about my transition through the story of his journalism journey.

The right way to communicate how I feel?  I’ll let him do the talking.  You can read his blog below.

Thank you, Mark.  Thank you, #Team20.  Thank you, Arkansas.

Saying thanks

Ten days after I graduated from the University of North Texas, it was time to head to my first ever big boy job interview.

It took a ninth semester of college for me to accumulate the credits I needed to graduate. That final semester included a class I expected to be an add-on at best, and a throwaway at worst: News Producing.

Four years of scattered radio, film, and television classes had left me somewhat aimless. I had come to realize I wasn’t going to be the next Voice of the Texas Rangers. The only other useful skill I’d picked up was DJing for UNT’s radio station, and I knew spinning jazz records wasn’t going to be a serious career option for me.

With time running out to pick a path, I had little idea of what I wanted to do… other than the fact that I knew I did not want to work in local news.

On day one of producing class, that changed.

Maybe it was desperation setting in. Maybe it was the professor’s assurance to us that learning to produce would guarantee us a job one way or another. But probably, it was the realization that news producing required skills and attributes that were tailor-made for me. I was hooked.

So when my teacher, Phyllis Slocum, told my class of 12 one morning that she had a job opportunity for anyone interested, I jumped. She told me a former student was running the news department at a station in Abilene, Texas, and had a producer opening.

After a quick Google search to figure out where in the hell Abilene was, I weighed the idea, talked to friends, talked to my parents. They encouraged me to go for it – on the condition that I wear a suit to my interview. When I explained that probably wouldn’t be necessary – and that I didn’t have one that fit – they made me go to Men’s Wearhouse and buy one.

austin-and-mark-2012

A couple of emails and an overnighted DVD of my resume reel (yes, a physical copy even though YouTube existed at the time) connected me with Austin Kellerman. Our initial contact gave me no indication of who he was, so when I arrived at KTAB/KRBC on a chilly December morning, just days before Christmas 2008, I was a little surprised to see a 27-year-old bald man wearing a stylish tan leather jacket come to greet me in the lobby.

I was overdressed, but not intimidated.

Over the next few hours, Austin proceeded to sell me on Abilene, Texas with Mexican food, Starbucks, and a car ride around town. He hired me before the day was over, and I got to hold my head up high the entire four hour drive home.

Within a month, I’d start my professional life, with no idea of where it would take me.

Click here to continue reading Mark’s blog.

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What a squad! Farewell, #Team20! ✌️

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