The first TV person I ever met was Dick VanValkenburg. I was 19 years old at the time and just starting my broadcast career at WCNA radio in Scottsboro. Cactus was the engineer for the radio station and had given me Dick's phone numbers in case I ever got anything "good" in Jackson County. We had a bazaar bank robbery in Stevenson and I called Dick. fast as lightning he drove from Huntsville to Stevenson. I met him on the road and guided him downtown to the scene. He and I spent several hours together that day. I don't know what he ever saw in me but for whatever reason Dick seemed to take a "likein'" to me. Over the course of the next 14 years or so Dick and I forged a strong friendship and he taught me most of what I know about spot news. He was truly the newsman's newsman, the one everyone strived to be nearly as good as, although nobody ever came close. After Dick's health declined and he couldn't run like he use to he would call me to be his eyes and go "check out" potential stories.
After Dick passed away in December, 1986 I received a call from Cactus that M.D. Smith wanted to talk with me. I can not describe the mixed emotions I felt. I was very sad at loosing my good friend Dick but I was being given the chance to live my dream to be "the" spot news guy for the #1 TV station in north Alabama. Over the next 12 or 13 years I met and worked with some of the nicest people in the industry...waay too many to name. I know at times during those 12 or 13 years I probably got on a lot of people's nerves including MD's and we all had out disagreements, after all we are all humans with our own opinions, but MD, Mark McGee and Cliff Windom were always there willing to listen to my ideas and take time to explain why they wouldn't work if they didn't think they would.
Having been away from "the family" now for almost 4 years I can truly say those 12 or 13 years were the very best years of my working life. Yes, the hours were long, yes it took me away from Lynn much too often, but looking back I'd do it again tomorrow if given the chance. I learned so much...how to get microwave shots from "impossible" places, how to do live traffic reports, underwater reports, live in aircraft reports. We tried and accomplished things as a team other stations are not willing to even attempt, even today!...That's what made us #1 and what made us a family!
Kim C. Albright
Here are some photos Kim sent in of a remote at Moultrie-Nissan where to get the live microwave signal back to Huntsville, Kim and John Hain had to climb a monster billboard structure and mount the antennas & transmitter-reciever equipment to make the hop. Shots also included of Gary Dobbs and Jamie Cooper hosting the morning show live. Also are various shots of the crew that morning. It was making the nearly impossible, possible.
|© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 6-26-2003]