We continue our little stroll down memory lane, as NBC 30 prepares to morph into NBC Connecticut HD in a new building. (It’s happening. Soon. Really.)
From 1977 to early ’79, I was trying to build a career in sports reporting/anchoring in radio and television. My home base and full-time job was at all-news radio WPOP ($200/week). I also did a Monday night sports program at the public television station in Fairfield (gratis, in exchange for the “experience”), color commentary on UConn basketball games on the Conn. Radio Network ($50/game. Big money!), and weekend sports at Channel 30 ($18.50/night, bumped up to $22).
So for the better part of two years, I worked seven days a week, hoping that Channel 30 would make me its first full-time sports anchor.
That did not happen. The station hired an anchor who once talked to Johnny Bench. This was apparently a big deal, because they took out an ad in TV Guide to announce his arrival, and the headline said, “He Talked To Johnny Bench!” I had never talked to Johnny Bench. So I remained weekend anchor.
He came with an alphabetized list of adjectives to insert into scores. (“Boston annihiliated New York,” “New York bombed Boston,”…) There was no “c” on his list, and he didn’t appreciate it in the least when I wrote in “castrated.”
Soon after the man who talked to Johnny Bench’s arrival, I decided to go where I had never gone before. To the office of the General Manager. I simply wanted to know what he thought of my performance, and whether he thought I had a future in television.
If I recall correctly, this man was 39, looked 59, and I’m sure he smiled, though I never actually caught him in the act.
I was informed that I was competent enough, but he didn’t see me advancing past my current station at the station. My future would not be in television, I was told. I thanked him for his time, and said a silent prayer that he be struck by a bus. I decided I would keep the weekend job at Channel 30 until I could find something to prove him wrong.
Then one night, I snapped. It was a Saturday night…(to be continued).