Saturday, April 22, 2023
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Bob Campbell (photo courtesy of Rick Gevers)
A favorite memory of Bob was him sitting at the turret, the control desk, of the television news department. It was minutes until we went on the air with our evening news hour- those are hurried, nervous, frantic moments. The floor crew in the studio, the director, producers and control room staff, the anchors and reporting teams are all in the last minute of preparation and script editing. Engineers and field technicians are tuning in microwave mobile or satellite truck units. All are in waiting and anxious.
Just around the corner from the horseshoe turret is "edit alley" where photographers and editors are in their spaces finishing the stories and one editor in particular is waiting for the Super Sneak script, he has to cut it. The Super Sneak was Bob's baby. It was the multi video, production sequence teasing the stories and reports that would air. It was a production razzle-dazzle that played immediately before the opening of the show. It was written as only Bob would create.
As usual Bob was playing beat the deadline, cigarette dangling from his mouth, his tie lose at the neck, banging away on the old Olympia typewriter as he concocted what he considered the powerhouse lead, and it always had to have "pop."
No computers yet, no digital editing, old fashioned script packs that split into 6 or 7 multi colored copies to be delivered appropriately and all of the recipients waited, watching the clock tick down to when it hit the air. Bob is furiously pounding the keys, clicking the roller bar up and back to read the "masterpiece" and tweak it until it satisfied him. At that point he'd slam the return handle, all the while chuckling, rip the script packet from the typewriter, hand it off to a production assistant, stand up, tighten his tie, pull another drag from the cigarette and walk back to his glassed in office to watch the hour about to begin. It was the stroll of an artist who had just cranked out another broadcast tool of "pop" laden prose.
Community Service Awards ceremony. Bob on the far right, Steve Starnes in the middle and this correspondent holding the plaque.
Bob presided as News Director of WTHR, the NBC Indianapolis affiliate in the '80s and '90s. It was a great age for television news and it was a growth industry. Deregulation had not yet transformed broadcasting into a bean counter's and money manager's investment scheme.
Bob was rare, a news director who came out of the office and a continuous progression of meetings with consultants and management, to "get his hands on the product." He loved the battle. News in those days was a battle. You fought the competition for every viewer minute. You wanted to be first with a story and as Bob said "be accurate, get it right!" He was a University of Missouri Broadcast Journalism graduate. At the time, University of Missouri, Northwestern's Medill School and Columbia University were the gold standards.
Bob literally had my back. That glass wall behind me was his office in the newsroom when I was senior anchor as well as investigative reporter.
Mike Hanks is also gone. Most knew him as Buster Bodine, who could be the antic Bo Honey, Bo or Jim Foxglove on WNAP. He was a radio star, indeed a legend. He and his brother Chuck, have been in your ears more times than you realize. Blessed with extraordinary voices they were voice over talent. When "Chuck
Thursday, April 6, 2023
The anticipated super bloom has begun.
California back roads are alive with extraordinary color and vitality.
See you down the trail.