Lacey Swope Catches Up With News 9 Legend Lola Hall
She is a pioneer in broadcasting and a News 9 legend. Lola Hall, known as the "Channel 9 Weather Girl," was the first woman in broadcasting in the American Southwest.
Lola is a living legend who is just as energetic today as she was when she began working for News 9 back in 1956.
"There was that particular morning that I got the station in trouble that I guess would be considered as me being a firecracker," Lola said.
When talking about her first memories at the television station, Lola said, "We had a general manager John Bernard. He held shooting practice every Friday afternoon outside my window and everybody had to come out and shoot. I always suspected raises were dependent on how well you shot."
Lola is actually an inspiration for what I do today. She explained what it took to do the weather back when the technology was not there.
"Our information came in on coded teletype and we had to draw our own maps and that was back in the days of Harry Volkman and Jim Williams," she said. "When something looked to be brewing, a big storm, Harry would get on the phone to Washington State Weather Bureau and say 'What are you seeing out of your northwest window?' And so all of that fancy equipment and so forth came out much later."
She isn't just an inspiration, Lola is also one of my heroes. I talked to her about my weather talks and how she was in one of my college weather books.
After telling Lola that, she said, "I'm delighted to hear that. Thank you. That perks up my day."
As the conversation went on, Lola, a true Oklahoman, recalled a time when she watched a tornado roar through her back yard.
"It was huge plate glass window and I got so fascinated with the colors and all that was there but I thought 'you dumb idiot. Why are you fascinated by the tornado when you aren't back there at least in the hall,'" she said.
There were a lot of firsts for Lola. She remembers when television was live all day.
"There was no video tape. It was everything was live. We had 5 or 6 announcers on staff because there were no recordings. Every station break, every commercial had to be done live," said Lola.
She recalls doing 15-minute weathercasts in the summer when there wasn't anything to report and also raising her family while on the air.
She said, "In those days women who were pregnant were not on television. It just was not done but there I was, standing in front of the map of the united states and all you could see was me and California." Lola added, "There had been times I would grab the youngest and when I didn't have any babysitting relief, I'd grab that kid and sit him at the desk and we would just carry on."
Lola loved reporting the most while at News 9, covering education stories and stories from the Oklahoma state Capitol.
"It's interesting when you see people in high places who are so humble like George Nigh when he was Governor. I'd call and say 'Lola Hall Channel 9' and he would say 'George, Governor,'" she said.
Lola also had fun covering entertainment, doing movie reviews and traveling to interview celebrities. She shared stories about interviewing Gregory Peck and telling Jim Belushi what she really thought of the movie "Animal House." She didn't have a problem keeping them honest despite their status.
Through it all, including three careers, Lola has kept a sense of humor, even when she met loyal News 9 fans.
"I remember one woman who came by, She said 'Honey we just love you because you don't seem to mind wearing the same old dress time after time, after time, after time.' I checked my wardrobe after that," she said.
She also had some simple advice for anyone looking to make a splash in their career.
"Enjoy what you do, love what you do, do it well and don't worry about the future or consequences. Just do your job. Concentrate on what you're doing now," she said.
Lola was inducted into the Oklahoma Broadcasting Hall of Fame back in 1988.