Times are Tight Down On the River, Where’s the Love for Those Flood Victims these Days and What ARE You Doing With All of That Wood in Your Hand?

Budgets are tight these days. Time was, when I had errands to run, I’d jump in my old Pathfinder and race off to where ever without a thought about it. Nowadays, my wife and I discuss our travel needs and try to coordinate when and where we are going so we can stretch our traveling dollars. I even try not to speed except when I’m on the Shelby County Autobahn (Bill Morris/Nonconnah Parkway) and then I don’t dare to drive 55. So it stands to reason that everyone is watching their dollars. We’ve seen cuts in staff at WPTY and I guess Dave Brown is hoofing it after they gave away his ‘Vette.  I’ve even heard that travel trips for WREG have been curtailed because it’s so expensive.  In fact, I have it on good authority that one news crew is traveling/has traveled out of town to a major city for a story but the reporter and videographer wouldn’t be staying in a motel. Instead they would stay with family/relatives to hold down costs. Folks, that just goes to show times are indeed tough and tight.  I guess this also explains why I’ve heard less news chopper traffic around Midtown Memphis.  Hey, Jet-A fuel ain’t cheap.

The flooding along the upper Mississippi River reminds me of how it used to be all about helping our neighbors to the North who live along the Mighty Mississippi. Of course financial times were better for everyone back in 1993 when similar flooding hammered the upper Midwest.  Our news director at the time pushed a program (heavily promoted by WREG) to raise supplies to struck to the flood victims.  After the supplies were loaded into an 18-wheeler, WREG sent a news crew to Illinois to see the supplies handed out and to report on the flood victims.  That crew consisted of Scott Sutherland (now Chief Videographer at WREG) and me and we drove to Springfield, Illinois where the supplies were off-loaded and then we traveled west to where the supplies were being shared.  The flood waters were still up but receding, the spirit of the townspeople was still as high as one could expect when most of what they had was lost and the smell of rotting grain along with the swarms of flies was overwhelming , at least to the two of us.  Folks, the only thing nastier than the smell of rotting soybeans is to step about shin-deep into that rotting mess and have to deal with it for the rest of the day.  I’d rather hug a mean skunk.  Anyway, SS and I stayed up in the Illinois area for a couple of days, shooting video, and then racing back to Springfield where we edited and then uplinked from the “capital bureau” of the CBS affiliate.  I think both Scott and I were happy to be headed home after that assignment.  I guess if any stations sent crews to cover the flooding up north they’d have to either take some camping gear or plan  to stay at the Red Cross Shelters.

Finally, I was scanning Shoptalk last Friday and ran across a name that seemed to be vaguely familiar. I had to do a search and discovered that yes, that person had indeed worked at WREG when I was there. I ‘m generally pretty good about remembering crossing paths with someone especially when I worked with them but on this occasion I thought I was suffering a serious case of the dreaded “Old Timer’s Disease”. The woman’s name is Giovanna Drpic and she is now working at WWOR up toward The Big Apple. The story from the NYDaily News featured in Shoptalk was cracking on her because she had a prop that seemed rather odd, according to the TV critic.   She was apparently carrying a piece of two by four and the TV critic wasn’t really sure why.   After seeing her picture I remembered that yes she was at WREG after having arrived there from the sister station WHNT in Huntsville, AL. But she didn’t stay at the station DOTR for very long before moving on to a gig in Orlando. She has somewhat exotic looks and was supposedly fluent in Spanish and had a funky name which in itself can be a huge thing for viewers. (If you don’t believe me, check out the Nashville market). But I was racking my brain about having spoken with her and I’m drawing a blank. I know she worked nightside which would have meant our paths would have never crossed since I was working early mornings. I know we received phone calls on her (as we always did when a new, good-looking female reporter showed up in the newsroom). But I just don’t remember that much about her. Part of it was the fact that she and I had polar opposite schedules (she worked nights and I worked mornings) so our paths rarely crossed. Oh well, I’d bet she knows even less about me and probably even cares less. She has gone on to bigger and better things. Just be careful if you’re on camera NOT to have a fist full of wood unless there’s a reason for it.

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4 Comments on “Times are Tight Down On the River, Where’s the Love for Those Flood Victims these Days and What ARE You Doing With All of That Wood in Your Hand?”

  1. Doug Johnson Says:

    Heh heh… he said “wood.”

  2. JAC Says:

    Cancel that link Joe,,Your link is working on my computer now

  3. sudsy Says:

    Hey Jose, that was an interesting trip to Illinois with all the stank and pestilence. I’m surprised we didn’t catch a fatal disease breathing that foul air. I’m pretty sure in all the souvenir crap I’ve kept through the years I’ve got a can of water supplied by the local Budweiser brewery for the locals to drink (the water along with the air was spoiled). Good times my friend! ss

  4. joelarkins Says:

    Sudsy, I had forgotten about the cans of water supplied by the beer makers. Although in retrospect, I think the locals probably would have appreciated some ice cold brewskis to help them forget about their misery. To this day, I have never encountered as many flies as we did on that trip. And don’t forget about that rather laid back bureau chief working out of Springfield at the time. He was a trip too.
    Regards


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