Q: How long have your been working in the business?
Chris: My interest in broadcasting began at a very early age. It included doing mock weather forecasts on the living room wall and turning curtain rods into microphones around the house. Not a pretty childhood picture, but intriguing nonetheless. I broke into the business, like many do, by way of internships. Growing up in Chicago, I interned at a handful of radio stations (WGN-AM, WBBM-AM, WLUP-FM, WCKG-FM) throughout high school and college. I also interned at WLS-TV in Chicago, as well as WEWS-TV here in Cleveland while I attended John Carroll University. So, I've been involved (unpaid) in broadcasting for thirteen years. I've been paid to be part of it for nine years.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
Chris: I get a charge out of two parts of this business in particular: breaking news and feature reporting. Breaking news is great because you're there on the ground floor of a story that could keep the public's attention for weeks, months or years. Collecting reportable details, vetting off-the-record 'tips" to see if they pan out and talking to the key players right off the bat is hugely interesting to me. On the other end of the spectrum, feature stories - stories that delve into great emotion or struggle or success-- are very rewarding. Since I moved to Cleveland almost three years ago I've gotten to meet some people who live extraordinary lives. Being able to meet them and craft their story along-side them is also a treat.
Q: What other cities have you worked in?
Chris: My first on air job was in Traverse City, Michigan at the NBC station WPBN (www.tv7-4.com). In TV-talk, that is market 118. But I didn't work in Traverse City proper. I was a bureau reporter for the town of Petoskey. If you look at the map of Michigan, it is at the very top of the "lower peninsula". I was a one-man-band, a phrase that describes reporters that report, shoot and edit their own work. I had no photographer, no editor - you learn a lot about yourself when you work alone in northern Michigan in February. What I learned most was to appreciate having co-workers. After Traverse City (TC to the locals), I moved slightly south to Grand Rapids, Michigan (GR to the locals). I worked in GR at WZZM-TV (www.wzzm13.com) for four years and loved it. Great people, great friends were made there, and I was able to do enough quality work to become a blip on the radar screen at WKYC. I joined the team here in 2004.
Q: What has been the most memorable story you've covered?
Chris: Each station has opened doors to me that would have never opened if I didn't have a credential as a member of the working press. In Traverse City I was able to report on the engineer that replaces the lights at the top of the very, very tall Mackinac Bridge. The structure that connects the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula is a stunning structure. More stunning is seeing a man tie himself to the cables of the bridge and walk up and down it. We traveled to the top with him one cold March morning, it was fascinating.
In Grand Rapids I was able to interview the likes of John Kerry, Jesse Jackson and Gerald Ford. Hugely rewarding one and all. I also created a niche reporting franchise we called "Real Life, Real People". These are feature stories that introduced our viewers to some remarkable "everyday" folks. Like the man, at the age of 79 built his own home without any help or machinery, the blind woman who creates artwork that sells for thousands of dollars, and a family who used covert maneuvers to hide the fact that after three years, their serviceman son would be coming home from Iraq. Great stuff.
Q: Who in the broadcast business is your role model?
Chris: Growing up in Chicago I was a huge fan of Ron Magers. Ron was the principal anchor at WMAQ for many years, and then moved to WLS. I always thought he was very polished, very respectful and fair.
In the reporting ranks I remain a huge fan of ABC news correspondent Robert Krulwich (who now works at NPR). He always took an unconventional look at the ordinary stories. That is something I try, but don't always succeed at doing. Other role models include Paul Meinke (WLS-TV), Bob Dotson (NBC News), Boyd Huppert (KARE-11, Minneapolis) and Steve Hartman (CBS News).
Q: What is in your car's CD player?
Chris: I recently moved to the iPod. On the most played list are the bands U2, The Rolling Stones, Ben Harper, Buddy Guy and Sheryl Crow.
Q: What do you do to relax when you are away from work?
Chris: I love to play golf. Often when I work at night (3pm-11pm) I will try and play a round somewhere in Cleveland in the morning. I play with some co-workers and, on occasion, or with people who work the same shift at other stations. I also enjoy traveling and heading back to Chicago for visits with family.
Q: What's your favorite vacation destination?
Chris: I am a huge fan of Ireland. I am heading back to our family's homeland this fall for a golf trip. I also enjoy going back to my old stomping grounds in northern Michigan. It is a great place to vacation if you've never been.
Q: What's your favorite TV show?
Chris: The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lost and 24 top the list.
Feel free to email Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org