Ben Boles

Ben Boles, wife Erin Dacy Boles and daughter Ansley (born 5-20-02)

Before I came to work at Channel 31, I worked at WDBB in Tuscaloosa - and got the two stations to share election night newsgathering costs in 1994. So as Fob James defeated Jim Folsom on the heels of landing Mercedes in Tuscaloosa, our Tuscaloosa crew went to Montgomery to work with the "big station" in Huntsville.

Well the big station had two big people - Cliff Hill and Jeff Raker covering the story. I did not know Cliff, but everything you hope a good news man would be - he was. To those who worked with him in the newsroom - you knew Cliff never did anything quietly - both in an investigative sense and when he was "in the field."

As with any election night, it is a fluid situation - but when Fob James decided to declare victory 30 minutes before Clifford had lined up an exclusive interview with Candidate James - I met Cliff Hill for the first time.

He was rounding the corner at the Holidome in Montgomery - Raker in tow - and both were hollering "we're f%$^ed!!!" He's declaring early!!!"

I was 21 years old, and thought it was the funniest thing ever.

They disappeared into the production truck that Donny Seymour had driven down - which was patched into a Crawford uplink truck from Atlanta. They emerged moments later and still got their interview (which we stole in Tuscaloosa thanks to the satellite) and all was well. But I learned then that "Cliffy and Jeffy" were tough customers - and I was glad to work with both of them full time less than two years later.


Dick Clark's bloopers and practical jokes - seeing Gary Dobbs on the key wall with that fantastic shot of the bridge in the background. He's rattling off current conditions, and then the bridge is destroyed in a demolition blast! His reaction was priceless! Hope to see that clip again ... along with "picture perfect panoply prognostications."

© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 6-26-2003]