TV & Showbiz

I Just Celebrated 30 Years in TV!

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I reached a significant career milestone last week: I marked 30 years in TV. It’s been a wild ride I hope won’t end soon.

I knew the anniversary was last week. But it was such a busy week that I barely had time to mark 30 years in TV.

I find it hard to believe five years passed since I mentioned my 25th anniversary in this crazy business.

Back on an April day in 1991, a news director in Columbia took a chance on a college junior majoring in broadcasting. He hired me for a part-time job with two primary functions. First, I had to act as a liaison between the news and production departments to build graphics for newscasts. Then, during the newscasts, I sat in a closet-sized room and pressed “play” on giant videotape machines whenever an anchor pitched to a recorded story. (In the business, we call those “packages.”)

In three decades, just about everything has changed.

I’ve seen us go from videotape to digital files. I started in a newsroom still using electric typewriters. In today’s computerized newsrooms, you won’t find a typewriter.

Where we once recorded video in more-forgiving standard definition, we now shoot in hyper-detailed HD. (I’m glad I’m now on the backside of the camera. HD shows every wrinkle and every gray hair. I have both, thank you very much.)

In my 30 years in TV, I’ve worked at three television stations in two states. I’ve been employed by six different ownership companies in that time. I did everything from on-air reporting to directing to marketing to managing digital. I think I have worked under a total of 10 different TV news directors in that time.

It’s difficult to keep track of all of the changes. I suppose that’s true of every industry. But television seems to have a unique place in the world of change. For something that remains so ubiquitous in our everyday lives, the changes keep coming.

There will come a day — sooner than some of us would like — when local stations won’t be affiliated with networks as we know them now. Everyone wants you streaming their service (and paying for it).

But there will always be a need for local news and weather information, no matter where you find your favorite reality shows, game shows, dramas and sitcoms.

That much, I’m happy to say, won’t change.

Will I make it through another 30 years? Well, if I still am working at age 81, then I suppose I will.

Twenty years might be more realistic. That’d give me an even 50.

And I’d consider myself very fortunate to reach that milestone, too!

People attribute variations of a certain quote about work to everyone from Winston Churchill to Marc Anthony to Confucius. (I doubt the latter said it.) But the quote goes something like this:

Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Some days are definitely work. Some days can be brutal. But if I didn’t love it — even on days like that — I’d have never made it through 30 years!

2 Comments

  1. Congrats on your 30 years in the industry! Most don’t last that long! Don’t dismiss being 80 years old… I turn 82 this month and still enjoy blogging and the last six years in some pretty neat HBO tv series such as 3 seasons of Mr. Mercedes, based on a Stephen King trilogy and working again with Danny McBride and John Goodman in Season 2 of The Righteous Gemstones, both filmed here in Charleston.

    Season 2 of TRG was shut down by Covid but has restarted now and I played a senior citizen in a nursing home a few days ago! Yeah, a challenging reach! The sad part, I had to shave my snowy white full beard, leaving only my neat bushy mustache.

    Also, when in my seventies, I had a funny scene in Adam Sandler’s Netflix movie THE DO-OVER, filmed in Savannah and a few period pieces down there like LIZZIE and EMPEROR. Costume work is fun…but sweaty …with authentic wool 1800s clothing and 90+ temps.!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.