What, And Give Up Show Business?
WE ARE DOWN IN TEXAS FOR A SHORT VISIT. Not only is that a good thing in and of itself, but the weather is certainly better than up north – no snow and I’m actually going around clad in the season’s first outings for my Hawaiian shirts. I look like a tourist.
Another difference, whether we travel to Texas, Ireland, or wherever is local television. Local television outside of your major markets is where you can see careers beginning, careers flourishing, and careers ending – sometimes all within the span of a few days.
Those people on the tube in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “I wonder if they’re hiring at Best Buy?”) are mostly in entry level positions. Some of them make it and move on to bigger cities. Some of them will be selling insurance before the Fourth of July, and some of them are the nephews and nieces of somebody with influence and they’ll be there until someone with more influence sees them On-Air and pulls the plug. It’s kind of like being the guy who works for the circus cleaning up after the elephants. When asked why he stays in such a crappy job he responds with, “What? And give up Show Business?”
Local TV down here in the Corpus Christi, Texas area is a couple of baby steps up from back home in Indiana. The On-Air personalities here learning how to be cheerful and hold onto a smile while telling you about a school bus accident or a mass murder. It will be several jobs in bigger markets where they will learn how to look appropriately somber and do “Nodders,” – those little video cutaways during interviews where they silently nod their heads while the tornado victim tells how their house is now two states away.
Just a couple of weeks ago one of the Terre Haute Channel Two reporters left for a new gig as the “Evening News Anchorman” in San Angelo, Texas. He has taken the first step in his career. The next thing you know he’ll start getting a better haircut and losing about 30 pounds. I think his wife has been doing his haircuts, while holding the baby in her arms.
San Angelo is a step up from Terre Haute. I find that depressing – his step up is to a town I’ve never heard of. I’m sure that there are young hopefuls doing the morning announcements in their high school somewhere who are dreaming of stepping up to a job at the TV station in Terre Haute. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. To the minnow the goldfish looks like a whale.
What I like the most about the local TV down here in south Texas is the preponderance of Latino On-Air personalities. Most of them were probably born and raised in Wisconsin or Indiana, but once they hit Texas the roots begin to sprout. Those “R”s start getting rolled until they begin to sound like the front wheel of a bicycle with a baseball card stuck in the spokes. I love it. That will disappear again by the time their careers take them to Chicago or Boston, but for now it’s – “RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRigo Chacon rrrrrrrrrrrrrrreporting frrrrrrrrom Corrrrrrpus Chrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrristi.”
This now concludes our broadcasting day.