That’s the question I get after someone asks “why aren’t you on tv anymore?”
The truth is, I thought I’d really miss television news. I do in a way, but not as much as I thought.
I figured, like a lot of tv people probably think, that I’d miss the “hey you’re on tv” comments and the little wave of celebrity that goes with working in the television medium. I’ve never been one of the big local celebrities like the primary weeknight anchors or the weathermen. But even reporters get treated like a celebrity every once in a while.
I remember working as an anchor in the 192nd market. That’s 1-Nine-2!
There weren’t many stations as small as the CBS affiliate in Anniston, Alabama. I was pretty new to the business and had not really been noticed anywhere I went. But one day I was at a Wal-Mart doing some shopping when I heard “hey…aren’t you that guy on the tee-vee?”
Well I was flattered, proud, downright giddy. It was my first “hey aren’t you that guy on the tee-vee”! After I gladly shook the man’s hand there was a woman, and then another and another. Geez-A-Lou I couldn’t breath. I started sweating and probably had some sort of panic attack.
I made it through the line, got out to my car and thought “that was awful…but then again… Cool. ”
That was when I knew I kind of liked being on tv. Being a celebrity, even a “minor-local-tv-reporter-celebrity” can be pretty good sometimes. I’m not saying that’s why tv news people do it, but they’ve got to admit it can play to their advantage. Sometimes a police officer gives you a warning because “you’re that guy on tv”, sometimes the lady at the coffee shop gives you a large and charges you for a medium. Sometimes (when you’re single) some good looking girl is interested in you (because you’re on tv). Your friends who are attorneys, accountants and doctors think you’ve got the coolest job (because you’re on tv).
That was all been true for me. But life after tv hasn’t been as bad as I thought.
TV was what I did, not who I am. I don’t miss getting the “hey” comments at Wal-Mart so far I still get some occasionally. What I do miss abotu television news is the storytelling, but I started missing that part of the business years ago.
I’ve been out of the business for 8 months now, and every now and then (like last week) someone will say they had no idea I was gone. They admit they never watch local television news. They don’t make an appointment to watch local news. In the evenings they’re too busy, at night they’re watching something else, and in the mornings they’re not paying attention to what’s on tv. They get their news from cable (national), newspaper (local) and the internet (whatever they want and need). And industry experts say the viewers who’ve left local news, aren’t coming back.
So no I haven’t missed local tv news, but apparently many viewers are.