My sort of five year anniversary at News 9 slipped by earlier this month and I can't believe I missed it. Now, I didn't actually start work here until July of 2003, but I first visited Oklahoma City and News 9 just days after the May 8, 2003 tornado outbreak in the metro.
Oh, I have a very vivid memory of the day I flew to Oklahoma City for my job interview. Photojournalist Rick Kriegel picked me up at the airport and drove me to the station. On the way through the newsroom - I couldn't believe my eyes - but the high school journalism teacher I had back in Louisiana was sitting in the cubical outside the news director's office. Somehow Nancy Yoder's life took her to OKC, to News 9 and eventually back to the classroom right here in the metro.
After an interview and a walk through the building, I was escorted to Kelly Ogle's office. You know, the main anchor - the big shot - the man whose job I was supposed to take over in about 20-30 years. I wasn't sure what to expect when you're just hanging out with one of THE most recognizable names and faces in Oklahoma. There was nothing big shot about this man. I find myself talking to the most down to earth, as easy as they come people - who soon asked, "Hey bub, how ‘bout I give you a tour around the area?".
He wasn't just talking about the parking lot, but the area of Oklahoma City.
The tour was great, Kelly was incredibly friendly and informative - but I noticed something that just seemed out of place to this Louisiana boy. There were tree limbs down everywhere. I especially couldn't help but notice the big limbs in the roadway right in front of News 9 along Kelley Avenue. I was told a tornado had skipped right over the television station, the very place that I had just convinced myself I wanted to work.
"Cool", I thought, however "Really?" is the actual sound that came from my mouth. I'd certainly dealt with my fair share of hurricanes, but tornados didn't normally vacation down in DeRidder, Louisiana. I took the job and moved here anyway.
As I approach my real five year anniversary at News 9, I know I work with the best group of news gatherers, story tellers, decision makers, storm chasers, weather experts, helicopter pilot and just regular PEOPLE who could ever be found inside a television newsroom. Some days are great, others are pretty good, and only a couple of the people have ever been not-so-good to yours truly. That's not a bad average or a bad five years for a guy who's "References Upon Request" was sitting right outside the news director's office.
P.S. Hey Kelly, sorry about thinking I wanted your job. It won't happen again.