How honest should I have been about the TV News business?

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself since last Friday afternoon. My wife Bethany and I flew to Bowling Green, Kentucky on our way to Louisville to visit my son, daughter-in-law and eight month old granddaughter. We landed in Bowling Green to visit a friend of almost 30-years who still teaches at my alma mater, Western Kentucky University. We went to lunch and my friend, ever the mentor, had asked a Broadcasting student who was graduating the next day, to join us. My friend asked me to share with him my view of broadcast news and perhaps offer some encouragement. My wife and my friend both cautioned me to go easy on the young man who wore that same look of enthusiasm that I had when I first got into radio and television news back in 1978. He wants to be a reporter and be in front of the camera. He told me he didn’t want to be a producer and work behind the scenes. I talked with him for about 30-minutes about the television news business and how it had changed so much, even in the last five years and how he probably wouldn’t recognize it in ten years. I told him what I thought was good about tv news and what was bad. I told him to be willing to work long , hard hours and to suck it up when he has to work holidays, weekends or overnights. I told him to jump in and be willing to take the crap assignments and make them sing. I told him to try not to become cynical. It’s easy to do in the news business. I then told him of a TRUTH that I had discovered over the years. That truth is this: Many people who are NOT in the television news business want to be in it and many people who ARE in the business want to be out of it. I told him he would not believe me now and would pass this off as the rantings of a jaded former newsman. But, I told him one day down the road, he would remember this conversation and he will smile the smile of one who has discovered a truth about something. Later my wife told me I was too honest. My friend told me I told him just what I should have. I wish I had told him to be extra nice to those in the business. Too many on-air people think they have to treat people they work with like crap and I’ve never understood that. Just be nice.
I hope this young man does well. He gave me a tape to critique. I haven’t looked at the tape yet, but I’m sure I will see some good work. I do wish him the best of luck.

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6 Comments on “How honest should I have been about the TV News business?”

  1. bishop Says:

    Why did you really leave Channel 3? I understand about the getting up early and I do believe that you should have been switched to the five o’clock news but did you and Markova get along?

  2. Joe Larkins Says:

    Actually, I plan to address the reason I left Channel 3 in an upcoming post. It will be around December 24th, which happens to be the anniversary of my departure from “down on the river”. Stay tuned, and perhaps you will get the answer to your question.
    (Sounds like a tease to me!)

  3. Tif Says:

    I sorely miss watching you in the a.m.! But it sounds like you’re glad to be out of the business for now. I can still hope that you return, though, can’t I?

  4. bishop Says:

    What are you doing now since you’re not on TV?

  5. Joe Larkins Says:

    Since I left the news business, I’m been working with my wife in her business, Bethany L. Smith Marketing Services. I’ve also done some freelance voiceover and video work that was not for broadcast (my one-year non-compete clause ends December 31st), worked around the house on “honeydo” projects, been able to travel to help my mom and dad (my father was diagnosed with cancer back in April) and I’ve annoyed some of my close friends daily and weekly with phone calls.

  6. bishop Says:

    What’s next since your clause will end?


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