Get to Know Team 3: Tim White
This time around, I chose our main male anchor, Tim White. He's not only a good friend to me, but his military duty has been an inspiration to us all over the year here at WKYC.
Therefore, I hope you enjoy a little look up close and personal with Tim.
Question: You started your career in radio at the age of 14 in your hometown city of Clare, Michigan, doing high school news. Can you remember what you were thinking when the on-air light went on that very first time?
Tim: I was all of 14 and a freshman in high school when I did my first radio show. The town had one small radio station that was on the air from sun up to sun down. I talked my way into the job of being the "high school reporter". I wasn't sure what that meant, but I wrote out about 10 pages of notes on a yellow legal pad and had my Dad drive me out to the station Saturday morning. I had on my only tie, and sat in the waiting room in terror.
After a while the disc jockey working that morning came out to get me and put me in the little news booth - a cubicle with acoustical tile on three sides and a window that looked into the control room. I watched the clock tick down toward 11:30. I felt like time was frozen, and I was sweating and hardly breathing.
At 11:29, the disc jockey came on the intercom and said "Okay kid, one minute. "What's your name?". I couldn't answer. The second hand took an eternity to move from one black line to the next.
At ll:29:50, the disc jockey opened his mike and said something about "The Pioneer Pegboard with our high school reporter".
I couldn't breathe, I wanted to run. The guy on the other side of the glass pointed to me....I opened my mouth ...and nothing came out.
I started to read. Did I wet my pants?
A half hour later, it was over. I have no idea what I said. I was wasted. I staggered out of the news booth and walked to the parking lot where my dad was waiting in the car.
I cried and said I wanted to go home.
I was hooked.
Question: Let's fast forward a "few" years to your time with us at WKYC. What sets Cleveland television news apart from the other cities you worked including Washington D.C., Boston or Baltimore?
Tim: What struck me when I arrived in Cleveland, and strikes me still, is that television news here is very personal. People relate to the anchors and reporters more than in most other markets where I have worked. At best, they are an extended part of the family -- and people in the newsroom feel personally connected to the viewers.
Question: What does our slogan "Report the Facts, Respect the Truth" mean to you?
Tim: Slogans don't generally mean much to me. But when "report the facts..." emerged as Ch.3's motto, it quickly became more than that. It's on the walls of the newsroom. People say it to each other - sometimes with humor - but those words became a credo, a code of ethics, that has been adopted by all of us. We believe it sets us apart. People on the street say it to us. My only disappointment is that we don't use it more broadly than we do.
Question: How did your involvement with the Air Force Reserves come about?
Tim: I was in ROTC for four years at Michigan State. When I graduated, I was commissioned in the Air Force and went on active duty. After five years, I left active duty to join the US State Department as a foreign service officer. But I missed the military environment, and went back into the Reserves. For the next 20 years, I did duty in war zones, stateside, and at the Pentagon. I retired from the Air Force Reserve in 2006. My service in the Air Force is among the most meaningful things I have done with my life.
Question: What has been your best TV news, on-air blooper?
Tim: When I was doing a live interview show in Boston, I leaned back in my chair --- and kept going ass over tea kettle. The camera man panned down to me sprawled on the floor. I smiled, and assured the audience we would be right back after the break...
Question: We get asked often what you and Romona talk about during commercial breaks. Care to share?
Tim: During breaks, Romona and I usually talk about the stories. Or the weather. Or what she is wearing. Or politics. Someone said we act like an old married couple, and I suppose we do. So there you go...
Question: We know you are quite a golfer. How much time do you spend on the links? And what is your favorite place to play around Cleveland?
Tim: If there is no snow on the ground, I try to get out to play golf two or three times a week. My game has kind of stalled the past few years at the "he's okay, but not very consistent" stage. There are so many great courses around Northeast Ohio - among my favorites are Little Mountain, Thunder Hill, Manakiki and Red Tail out on the West side. I also like to hunt and shoot skeet. I used to fish a lot when I was a kid, but haven't done it much in Ohio.
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