NBC 30, aka WKNB, WNBC, WHNB, and WVIT over the years, is now NBC Connecticut HD. Think of it as a digital bar mitzvah. And now, we return to our little house at 30 Memory Lane.
After spending the better part of fourteen years at 3 Constitution Plaza in Hartford, I returned to 1422 New Britain Avenue in West Hartford on December 2, 1993. (Now that I look at the addresses, didn’t anyone have the pull to get the street number changed to 30? Huh?)
I had not set foot in the building since that fateful night in January, 1979. (As detailed in the previous post, I had left Channel 30 in a blaze of glory or a fit of demented rage, depending on your interpretation.)
Now, I was returning as a news anchor, ready to begin what turned out to be a marvelous 13-year run with the very same person who had been news director when I was sports director at WPOP. I would mention her by name, but since she retired on December 15, 2006 at 11:32 pm, she has had her name unlisted. (She is quite happy, damn her.) But I digress.
As I walked into work that day, I had the very strange feeling that I was walking into a time warp. That little brick shi building seemed exactly the same as I had left it 14 years before. Even the receptionist, Jo Simeone, was still there, wearing the same all-knowing smile on her face. The colors, the sounds, many of the people, exactly the same and just as I had remembered it and them. (Was this a good or bad omen?)
It was, of course, a good omen. Because a television station, like any other business, is really about the people. And there have been so many good people who have passed through 1422 New Britain Avenue over the years, I wouldn’t even try to name names. Except one.
I’ve picked Joan Martin to represent all of those people. Joan did a little bit of everything at Channel 30 for years and years. She was everybody’s “Mom.” She loved that little brick shithouse (there, I said it!) and everyone under its roof. She was a woman of extreme and intense faith who could still take a filthy joke and even top it. (I called her my “slut for Jesus,” which sent most people running for cover.) Her faith served her, and all of us, when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She stretched “terminal” out longer than anyone could imagine. But terminal is, well, terminal.
I choose to believe Joan is looking down on all of us, under our new roof, as we begin this new era as NBC Connecticut. She’d love this place.
Yes, a television station is about people, not bricks and mortar. But lemme tell ya, “we the people” of NBC Connecticut are mighty happy to be in this fabulous new home.
Today, we began writing its history.