Archive for July, 2007

Robin’s Battle
July 31, 2007

I decided not to blog about this topic until I had a full day to digest it.

You have no doubt heard by now that “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She made the announcement Tuesday morning on GMA. She did it as she has done everything in her life — with style, with class, with grace and even with humour. Still, you could tell there was fear in her face – a fear of the unknown.
You also know by now that Robin discovered her illness completely by accident. The death of a colleague led her to take the unusual step of conducting a self-exam. That is when she discovered the lump — and her battle began. She will go in for surgery on Friday to remove the lump and her treatments will begin soon after that.
Her story hit me on two fronts. Like you, I learned of her condition while watching GMA at 7:30. We had no advanced word that she would break the news on the air. It hit me like a punch to the gut. I was shaken and I was scared for her. While Robin and I have never met face-to-face, we have built a modern-day relationship — through satellite connections and TV technology. Kelly, Robin and I speak almost every morning — and our discussions are real and that is why they are the most popular portion of our morning broadcast with viewers.

The second way this hurts is because of my connection to the Race for the Cure. Channel 4 does more than sponsor the event, Michelle Wright and I serve as emcees and honorary chairs. This event – and the race to find a cure for breast cancer – has become a passion of ours. It’s no longer about making a public appearance, it’s about making a difference.

If you tuned in at 6:30m, you saw us speak with Robin for the first time since her announcement. I hope Shannon and myself were able to convey all the love and good wishes you have for her. I know she appreciates every kind wish that was sent from western Pennsylvania to the GMA message boards.

We also sent her a more tangible sign of support. The morning show crew made this card that we sent to Robin this morning. While it’s just us in the photo, we hope we are representing all of you in wishing Robin all the best and a speedy recovery.

On a personal note – I wish Robin much love and good health. She has the right attitude to beat this and strength to not only win, but also show others how to defeat this terrible illness.

( Robin Roberts photo courtesy: ABC News )

Love Does Conquer All
July 31, 2007

It might have been the greatest ending to a football game I have ever seen. Remember the Fiesta Bowl game between highly-ranked Oklahoma and upstart Boise State? Maybe you don’t remember the game, but you may remember the ending. Ian Johnson scored the game-winning touchdown — and then scored once again. Moments later, he ran over to his girlfriend-cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, went down on one knee and proposed — and she said yes! It was a moment scene on live TV by viewers nationwide. A real Cinderella story .. but reality threatened to turn this storybook ending into a nightmare.

As you can see, Ian is African-American and Chrissy is white — and they attend Boise State in Idaho. I do not know if Boise is a racist town, but I do know it’s conservative — and Ian and Chrissy have felt the brunt of that feeling — with as many as 30 letters written to their school and a few phone calls. They voiced their displeasure — at best — and a few outright threatened the couple. Ian even had to hire extra security for the wedding this past Saturday and that’s quite an expense for a college kid.
I guess I’m sharing this story with you because it hits a nerve close to me. You already know what I look like – and if you have seen any previous blogs relating to my wife, Sharon, you realize she is white ( actually her officially ethnic heritage is Serbian ). It hurts to hear of the slings and arrows thrown Ian and Chrissy’s way because that was my biggest fear when I considered marrying someone outside my race. I feared it would not be easy and we would have to deal with racism and stereotypes from people who are short-sighted and ignorant. I worried that if we chose to have children, they would have to face the dilemma of being a part of two races and perhaps not being fully accepted by either one.

To my surprise, we have faced very little racism. We live where we want to live and have a public marriage and have faced almost no criticism or bias. Of course, there is always the occasional look from people who know Sharon Stockey’s name but do not make the connection to me. That’s OK. I would also not make the connection. Then again, I have always believed that it’s hard enough to find someone to love you – and eliminating a race of people as a possibility is just stupid. I think my life has been enriched because I married someone who brings a whole new dynamic to the relationship.

As for Ian and Chrissy? As you can see, their wedding went off this weekend in Boise without a hitch. They were all smile and excited to begin thier lives together. I wish them not only happiness, but also a life as normal as the one Sharon and I share together. A life where they are treated – and viewed – like every other married couple.
( photos courtesy of AP photo )

Now I may not have proposed on national TV and my wedding went off without incident – in St. Thomas – but

Closing Time & Cookies
July 30, 2007

This morning, Shannon Perrine was filling in for Kelly .. and she started getting nostalgic. That’s because we soon realized were anchoring the final show from our set as you have come to know it over the years. While I can’t get into details, our set will be going through some “changes” in the coming weeks with our look. I promise it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, some photos from this historic last show in that studio as you have come to know it. I guess it’s up to us to turn out the lights.

Also this weekend, Channel 4 faces Ashley DiParlo, Demetrius Ivory, Gus Rsendale and myself took part as models in the McKeesport Hospital Fashion Show — what’s become a tradition here at Channel 4. I was told during Sunday’s show at Youghiogheny Country Club that this was my 9th time walking down the catwalk — can you believe it? We’ll have some photos from the show a little bit later today on our website.

We also did something different for this year’s show – we added a couple of our interns. Kristen and Haley looked just wonderful in their evening gowns. Haley turned out to be more than just an aspiring journalist and model. She is also a wonderful cook. Just take a peek at these cookies she made for the newsroom today.

And yes, they taste as good as they look. Thanks Haley — and good luck in your endeavor to be the “next Sally Wiggin“.

Saved on a Screen
July 27, 2007

I’m not one of those people to put a whole lot of personal mementos and pictures on my desk ( even though I bear my soul everyday in cyberspace ). I guess I have never felt comfortable about having my family and personal life on my desk, even though I do it on-line everyday ( Like I said, my thought process makes no sense ).

Sharon is not like that at all. She doesn’t decorating her workspace with pictures and having a stuffed version of Boobaloo on her desk. Of course, I always hoped she had a picture of me where I had my eyes open and I don’t look fat. So much for that.

The other day, she sent me the screen saver she uses at work … and much to my dismay … I look like a goof. Of course, you are always hardest on yourself, but take a look at this goofy photo:

Sharon says it’s a way to keep an eye on her “two boys” when she is at work. I look fat and kind of dorky — and I’m sure Boobaloo is not crazy about having those “devil eyes”. What do you think? I’m sure the ladies out there will say it’s a “cute” photo, but I think the guys are on my side with this one. I mean imagine if the shoe was on the other foot – and I had a bad photo of her on my desk?

OK. I’m done venting. Have a wonderful weekend … and I’ll see you all bright and early Monday .. and thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web.

What’s Good About Our Town
July 26, 2007

This blog was inspired by a conversation I had with a viewer while shopping. He asked me what my career goals were – and to be honest – I said I did not know. I wasn’t being evasive, I just have not thought about it much recently. The viewer went onto say I hope you don’t leave town anytime soon. A compliment if there ever was one.

Leaving Pittsburgh is not in my immediate plans ( or in my contract anytime soon ). I like what I am doing, who I am doing it with and where I live. As the years go, my admiration for western Pennsylvania grows. I have always been impressed with the possibilities of Pittsburgh when it comes to it’s rivers, it’s communities and it’s people. But now, there is an excitement about this town as it begins to fulfill it’s potential – at last.

It started with two new stadiums – and has continued with the development of the South Side and now the boom in city housing options. It’s skyline is dramatic — while it’s people remain down-to-earth and act like common folk. While we are between bigger cities like Chicago, New York and DC, we are somehow an island to ourselves – not influenced by the spectre of those larger towns.

One of my favorites websites ( aside from the Pittsburgh channel ) is I recently learned it’s written by Lindsay Patross – a young woman who has one rule for her site: be positive about Pittsburgh. I could not agree with her more. While we do have our issues ( taxes, parking and a bad baseball team ), we also have so much that makes us unique.

I’m sure the time will come that I will leave Pittsburgh – and it will be a sad occasion. Knowing full well that I will likely never live in a place quite like our town. The good news? There seem to be Pittsburghers everywhere – and they take a part of the town to whatever city these now call home. I’m sure I will do the same.

Taking You Out to the Ballgame
July 25, 2007

Child porn .. friends dying .. Presidential debates. Even I have to admit I’ve been blogging about some pretty depressing and down things the last few days. But, as you know, I am naturally an upbeat person so it’s time to bounce back with something sure to warm your heart on a summer day.

If you are one of those people sick of the Pirates and the losing, let me take you out to Hopewell. That’s where some kids — and their enthusiastic parents — are playing the great American past time and building their field of dreams.

Saturday, I took part in their all-star tournament — which featured teams from McCandless, Washington and Center as well as Hopewell. The tournament also turned out to be a fund-raiser for Hopewell baseball – which is raising money to complete a massive field renovation.

I tossed out the first pitch at two games, ran the bases before the all-star skills competition, helped sell raffle tickets and posed with Hopewell’s 11-year-old championship baseball team ( see the photo above).

Having been a former little leaguer myself,I forgot how much fun it was to be at the ballpark and watch kids compete. We all complain about the greedy millionaires of sports – and closer to home we complain about the Pirates pathetic play on the field. I think it would do all us jaded sports fans good to go see these young people play. Little League is still one of the lone bastions of true amateur sports – where winning and money are not part of the equation.

Makes me wish I was coaching youth baseball — or even had a child in the program, although after seeing the league commissioner multi-tasking which included watering the fields between games, I don’t know if I have the time to really make the kind of commitment these parents have.

Learning Too Much .. and not learning enough
July 24, 2007

There are two things on my mind this morning. Let me start with the more pleasant of the two topics on the table.

I watched a good part of the CNN/You Tube debate last night. While I found the format exciting, intriguing and perhaps the dawn of a new age of political debating, I was also worried as well. I found the format created great television and great theatre, but did little to expand my knowledge of the candidates.

While the questions from viewers were up front, honest and creatively done, the responses from the candidates quickly turned to talking points and canned answers. The problem with the You Tube debate format is that there is no follow up — and CNN’s Anderson Cooper did little to push the candidates for more compelling responses. Truthfully, it seemed more like an episode of Cooper’s former ABC series “The Mole”, that a real exchange of ideas. Then again, we are still seven months away from the first primary vote.

Now, to the more serious matter. From my years of covering sports, I’m guessing the buzz at training camp among the assembled media was not about Troy Polamalu’s new contract. It was about the indictment of local radio personality John Duffy on child porn charges. The only reason I mention this is because like many members of the sports media in this town, I know John Duffy — worked along side of him for years. It was a shock to hear about the charges facing him.

“Duff”, as he is known, was the one guy in the press box you actually pulled for. Physically challenged since birth, he walks with braces and crutches. Somehow, he did not let his physical limitations keep him from becoming a successful radio sports reporter for ESPN local and national and several other networks. Sitting next to him at Pirate games for years, I always found him sharp-witted and funny.

Telling you all this, you understand why it’s hard to hear someone you think you know so well is accused of such a heinous crime. You feel shock, disgust and anger — all at the same time. I guess it just proves that we really don’t know the people we think we do. I’m sure all of us have secrets – but I could not have imagined that this seemingly innocent-looking man could be involved in one of the most dreaded crimes against children – pornography.

I will not serve as judge, jury and executioner in this case. I just thought I would share my feelings. It’s difficult to learn someone you think you know may not be that person.

Losing a Friend & Teacher
July 23, 2007

Last year, one of my first blogs was about my likes and dislikes. Among the things I said I hated was death. Of course, I don’t anyone who’s a big fan of dying, but still it’s one of those things that I hate to see, hate to talk about and hate to deal with ( and I’m in the news business).

This morning, while I was going through my e-mail before I went on the air, I got a message from a friend that brought death to life. A woman who had been our teacher at Ohio University when I worked at the campus radio station WOUB had died. It was such a shock because of how young she was, 50 ( see the picture below from 3 years ago ) and how suddenly it had happened ( the paper there said it was after a short illness ).

Jan Sole was more than a teacher to me. She was a friend and someone who seemed to have it all and yet was very happy with what she had. She hosted classical music programs on our FM station with a voice that was made for radio – so smooth and so soft and yet so authoritative. She had a loving husband and when I returned to campus back in 1995, I met her beautiful baby daughter, Olivia. Jan was also so kind and so talented, she could have become a star anywhere but preferred to teach, educate and get to know her listeners.

I got her obituary from a friend this morning – and was stunned. It took all my strength not to break down in the newsroom before the show. It was even more sad to learn while reading that her daughter had died three years earlier ( in an accident ). It was a double blow and I cannot begin to imagine what her husband Jon is going through right now.

I know she is in a better place because my faith tells me so, but that does not make it any easier to deal with the death of a friend – especially one who had an impact on you during your formative years. The funeral is today in Athens, Ohio and I cannot make it, but I plan to send a card of condolence to her family.

I know death is the natural order of life, but that offers little solace when one so young, so talented and so full of life is taken way too soon. I speak of both mother .. and daughter. I guess the one thing we – as the living – can do, is life our lives the way Jan lived hers. That would be the best tribute and a result of what she tried to teach us.
( photo courtesy: WOUB/WFIU )

The Problems with Vick
July 20, 2007

Every know and then, I like to offer some commentary on what’s going on in the sports world because it’s still what I know best and often it’s a reflection on the larger issues facing our society. The latest sports issue to enter the mainstream conversation involves NFL quarterback Michael Vick and his indictment by a federal grand jury on charges of taking part in a dogfighting ring.

You probably have heard the details of this case – and the public outcry for justice, or at least suspension for one of the NFL’s most high-profile accidents. IMHO, this story actually opens up the discussion for two other issues — our sometimes overdeveloped passion for pets and the role of the African-American athlete.

First — to the pet issue. I am constantly amazed that no matter how many stories we do about men and women being shot and killed, there is never quite the passionate reaction that we get when there is a story about an abused animal. Women are raped and sometimes killed by spouses and boyfriends, and yet when we hear about the neglecting of dogs and cats, the outcry is almost deafening.

Look, I am a dog owner and I abhor anyone who abuses or injures a pet — and believe they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law — and that includes Michael Vick. Still, let’s not look at the abuse of pets as any worse than the hurting of human beings. There are animal lovers out there who actually believe the life of a pet is more important than that of a human … and that makes no sense to me. I wish some of those people had the same passion for all the women who suffer from spousal abuse .. or those children who die in drive-by shootings.

Then, there is Vick giving black athletes a black eye. Another story about a young African-American athlete with millions of dollars in his pocket reverting back to the behavior and attitude that he may have grown up with as a child. I understand many African-American children grow up in less-than-ideal conditions and face many hardships on the road to success, but once they achieve that success — they need to grow up mentally.

As a black man, here is my advice to all you young black athletes who have pro potential and aspirations:

There is no reason you should be involved in illegal activity, no reason you should be in a strip club and no reason you should put yourself in situations that can lead to nothing but trouble. I know these are your friends, but once you reach a certain status it’s time re-evaluate those friendships to determine whether they are in your best interest. And if those friends call you an “Uncle Tom” for doing this, then it’s time to find new friends. You can be an inspiration and a contributor to the black community and still live a life not guided by the dark side of the “hip hop” culture.

Check This Out!
July 19, 2007

First, I apologize for not blogging Wednesday. I got busy with a story that took the whole day and since I do not have a Blackberry, I could not blog on the run.

But I’m back today — and pimping something I do every Thursday night that I think you would be worth your time to watch. For those of you who watch in the morning, you might not be aware that every Thursday night for the last 8 months, I have hosted a segment of the 11pm news called “Check It Out”.It all came out of a conversation from the powers that be asking me what was missing from our newscast. I have always felt that – given our slogan “where you come first” – we need to address something that everyone needs. In this case, information about what’s happening in western Pennsylvania this weekend. It’s not fluff, but real information about a city that is changing.

Pittsburgh has seen a boom in the number of restaurants and clubs as well as showplaces and entertainment venues. No lie – every week there seems to be a new place cropping up and if we don’t tell Pittsburgh viewers about these places – and take them there – they will look to some other source for information.

So each week, I pick three things that you may want to “Check Out”. It’s been a successful segment – a hit with not only viewers but also the entertainment community in town. In previous weeks, we have shown viewers a bank vault that was converted into a restaurant, a play where patrons are actually showered in blood — and Allegheny county’s only drive-in theatre.

I hope you will tune in tonight at 11pm to “Check It Out”, but if you can’t don’t worry. We will replay the segment on Channel 4 Action News Saturday morning — and, of course, you can find it here on our website.

“Check It Out” tonight, if you can! You won’t be disappointed.

A Team Member Departs
July 17, 2007

At the end of the month – a key member of the morning team will be leaving us.

I know, you are wondering who: Kelly? Marcie? Demetrius? Melanie? Maybe, even me? No. None of the above. None of the faces you have gotten to know is taking off.

However, the person who has become the leader of the morning broadcast is going. Her name is Dana Brown and I’ve blogged about her in the past. She is the executive producer of “Channel 4 Action News This Morning”. Dana has been with us – in this position – less than a year, but she has done so much to make our show the best it can be.

Here’s a picture of Dana and I at the Race for the Cure this past Mother’s Day.

Broadcast news is a lot like football. It’s a team effort and if Dana can be compared to a position on the field, it would be quarterback ( but please don’t call her Big Ben). Dana sets the tone and the path for the show each morning, coming in before midnight and working with our producer Nick to plan, format and write the show — as well as determine what stories will be featured prominently over the two-hour broadcast.

For me, personally, she has helped me to trust the role 0f producer and realize that without her considerable talents, I would likely not be as successful as a broadcaster. She also has a passion for news. More than a news junkie, all you have to do is realize her dog’s name to understand her love of news. “Brokaw” is the official mascot of the morning show.

Dana’s heading onto the next step in her career — a career that will hopefully get her to her ultimate goal of producing news at the highest levels of broadcasting. While I wish her all the best, I know I speak for everyone on the morning show when I say that I will miss her considerable talents and fun personality. I just hope when she reaches the big time, she won’t forget us little people and perhaps give an old, gray-haired broadcaster from Pittsburgh a job.

A Late Night Stroll Through the City
July 16, 2007

A late night traffic jam Saturday afforded me the opportunity to see Pittsburgh in a whole new way this weekend.

I met a former WTAE employee – who’s now working in New Orleans – for drinks at Station Square and it was a chance to catch up and talk about what’s new in our lives. Once I left and headed back to my car, I found the sight no one wants to see when they are ready to go home after a night on the town — a car back-up that guaranteed it would take a half hour to get out.

I could either sit in traffic — or use the time to do something constructive. I chose the latter. I decided to do some walking. Having never really taken a walking tour of the town in which I work, I started walking. I went from Station Square, across the Smithfield Street bridge into downtown. I walked through Market Square and through Gateway Center to PNC Park. Mind you, this was all happening about 11pm.

So what did I see that would be so different from what you would witness if you were walking down the street at 11am. I saw how beautifully illuminated the city is at night, how few people are walking downtown Pittsburgh but how many are in restaurants having drinks or enjoying pizza at one of the small pizzerias in town. I saw couples holding hands as they strolled between bars – the women in sundresses to take advantage of the warm summer night. I saw a group of people who had just finished dinner and posed for photos in front of the water display at PPG Place.

Most of all, I saw a city that has a different feel and flavor and sound than it does during the daylight hours and during the early evening when people are going to shows in the cultural district.

I must have walked a few miles before I finally returned to the Station Square parking garage. I was able to get into my car and leave now that the traffic had dispersed.

I know this is hardly “breaking news” and probably wouldn’t lead off any channel 4 news broadcasts, but sometimes the most revealing things on life are the simplest. Sometimes, you need to take time to smell the roses and notice your surroundings. What I noticed is how beautiful this city is at night — when there are not a lot of people. When you feel as if you have the city to yourself, that’s when you learn the most about the city in which you live.

The Tradition of Kennywood
July 13, 2007

Traditions die hard in western Pennsylvania. While our region is growing and changing daily thanks to an influx of new people and newer technologies, we still hold on to traditions that make us unique.

WTAE Kennywood Day is one of those traditions. For 41 years, moms and dads, sons and daughters, grandparents and grandkids have come to Kennywood to ride the rides, eat the food and spend the day with their familiar faces on channel 4.

I attended my first Kennywood Day 13 years ago – and I have to admit that, at the time, this tradition seemed a little strange. I mean going to an amusement park to sign autographs and ride in a parade seemed kind of hokey to someone who did not grow up on Kennywood.

Now, 13 years later, I see the “Kennywood magic”. The faces of people who come up to you in the autograph booth wanting your autograph but also wanting to meet you. Folks who were born years before you were even born wanting to pose for a picture and tell you the stories of their favorite channel 4 moments. There was a man who had an old WTAE hat covered with Sally Wiggin autographs from years gone by. One woman had autographs from previous Kennywood day with the likes of the late Paul Long. Then, there is the parade where parents are sitting with their children – waiving to you and shouting out “Good Job” or “We Love You” as you drive by in the vintage convertibles.

Kennywood Day is a chance for one generation to spend time with another and pass on a tradition – a tradition that just happens to include channel 4. And for us, we become part of a tradition that began years ago with the likes of Joe DeNardo, Ed Conway and continues with Sally Wiggin and Mike Clark and now has a new generation of talent like Ashley DiParlo and Demetrius Ivory. No matter where you go – or what you do – you will always be part of the WTAE fraternity and a part of precious Kennywood memories for someone.
Maybe WTAE Kennywood Day is not about WTAE. It’s about a tradition 41 years in the making.
WTAE just happens to be connected to that tradition – and when people think of us, they think of Kennywood and they think of the good times and times spent with family. It’s wonderful that WTAE is connected to that memory and that tradition — a tradition that hopefully will continue for another 41 years.

Near Miss … and a Direct Hit
July 12, 2007

You might have read reflections in the local papers about the Pirates season of 1997 – the one bright moment during the current 15 years of baseball futility. For those who don’t remember, the Pirates used a $9 million payroll to nearly win the division and make the playoffs that season.

The high point of the season was this day 10 years ago — July 12th — when two Pirate pitchers combined to no-hit the Houston Astros for 10 innings. Then, the Bucs won on a home run in the bottom of the tenth. It was a great moment — and a rare moment. Rarer than a lunar eclipse. Rarer than a day without a Paris Hilton story. A no-hitter — and I missed it. Sort of.

That night was Jackie Robinson night and I was asked to serve as the MC for the pre-game ceremonies. Also that night, I had a black tie fund-raiser to Nevillewood. I managed to work it out so that I could handle my duties at the stadium and still get back to enjoy the event. Well, 44-thousand people decided to go to the game as well — and I just barely beat the traffic and arrived just in time for the event which featured the daughter of the late baseball pioneer. Of course, wearing my tuxedo, I felt a little overdressed.

Immediately after that — it was back to Nevillewood for the charity event. At evening’s end, my date and I stood on the balcony of the clubhouse and we could see the fireworks from Three Rivers Stadium. I wondered aloud if the Bucs had won. On our way home, I turned on the radio and heard the final account of the game. A no-hitter. To this day, that’s the closest I ever got to seeing – or in case not seeing – a no-hitter in person.

Enough about the missed opportunity. If you were watching this morning’s news, you saw a direct hit. Kelly and I wearing the same type of suit — a black pinstripe. We didn’t even notice this until we sat down next to each other on the set. It’s the second straight day we’ve worn virtually the same outfit. No, we don’t call each other in the morning to discuss outfit choices but it’s scary how well we seem to know one another. As long as we don’t start looking like each other.

July 11, 2007

Steeler fans … you have some competition.

NASCAR Nation showed its colors Tuesday at the Waterfront when four-time champion Jeff Gordon made a special appearance. He was there as part of the 25th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Grand Prix .. and his major sponsor in also located in Pittsburgh ( Glaxo Smith Kline ).

I have covered NASCAR before — having worked in Mobile during the early 1990’s, but it’s been a while since I was at any sort of NASCAR event — a race or otherwise — and I had forgotten how rabid these fans can be.

To begin with, there were about 2,000 people out there – traveling from all parts of western PA — to meet their hero. They ranged in age from small children to grandparents, all dressed in the colors of Gordon’s “Rainbow Warrior” vehicle. While it’s OK to be a fan, I have to admit their passion was more pronounced than I had seen for anything — maybe Steeler fans being a close second. I met a couple who vowed not to get married until the guy got to shake Jeff Gordon’s hand. I met a man who got out of his hospital bed after hernia surgery to get a sneak peak at his racing hero.

Why were they so passionate of Jeff? Their response was the same – he’s the greatest driver on the NASCAR circuit. That was the universal response — and while I do understand the sport — I am at a loss to explain the passion bordering on fanaticism these people have for their racing hero.

The other thing that struck me while doing live shots from Gordon’s guest appearance — the advertising. It should shock no one that sponsorship “drives the bus” in every sport, but never have I seen so much and so blatantly. If there was an empty space on Gordon’s car, I could not find it. No less than five business representatives gave me their business cards as well as items carrying their logo – everything from umbrellas to note pads to tension-squeezing balls.

It gets to be overwhelming — and a little too much — as you try to tell a story and not have advertising in it. That is the challenge of today’s journalist — trying not to let every story become one big commercial. However, I believe the viewers are almost immune to it now. There is so much advertising, with so many messages, it becomes a blur.

BTW — that’s me inside of the car. It was so cool being in Gordon’s car and turning on the engine.