Oralie Tyson - 1989 Airport Road Tornado

Reflections of my years at WAAY -TV bring back many humorous anecdotes, but none is appropriate for public disclosure! However, the one continuing memory I do have, that can be documented, is the sense of "family" we all enjoyed-- (yes, families DO have internal disagreements, so we qualified!)

This sense of family was most clearly illustrated during the BIG tornado that went down Airport Rd, killing more than 20 people. Everyone in the station pulled together to help each other, the community, and keep the public informed in a time of crisis. EVERYONE- producers, admin folks, reporters, salespeople, engineers, etc rose to the occasion. People went into the storm and returned drenched from head to foot, only to go out once again into the rain and snow to what resembled a war zone on Airport Rd., dedicated to keeping the shocked Tennessee Valley informed and calm.

Through the years, those of us lucky enough to work at WAAY -TV came to appreciate the "family spirit" of the station- along with the sense of encouragement to grow and excel that was Ch 31's style of management.

What other company would have a "Grape" or "WAAY Too Late"?- or encourage the employees to give feedback on so many important issues, ranging from which syndicated shows to buy, to specifics on how to better run the station.

And now as the years go by, I appreciate even more those extraordinary years spent at WAAY TV- an incomparable and unique experience marked by many highs (remember when our news numbers EXCEEDED the combined numbers of 19 and 48, and we celebrated with ice cream cups!). WAAY-TV made a difference in many of our lives.

Thanks for a great ride, MD!

© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 7-22-2003]