“Goodbye, Mr. Carey.”

11 Aug

The first time I met Bill Carey was in 1997 while waiting for a verdict outside the Onondaga County Courthouse. I don’t remember the story, but I do remember the moment. He was a well-respected, seasoned Channel 9 reporter, and I was a cub anchor/reporter for Channel 5, humbly about five seconds into my new morning show job.

It was a sticky fall morning when Bill showed up with a lazy tie, rolled up sleeves and cigarette in hand. He was thinner than I expected, and probably would have found it ridiculous that I was impressed by his thick, wavy hair. His signature voice was gritty, commanding, and confident.

He didn’t say much to me, which was good, because anything I would have said back would have been dumb. And, as a grasshopper, I didn’t disappoint.

Courtesy of News10Now

Courtesy of News10Now

“Hello, Mr. Carey,” I said.
“Bill, please,” he replied.
“Yes, sir,” I responded like an idiot. ‘Sir?’

Intimidated, I jotted down every thought in my head so I’d have enough material to fill my live hits and so he’d think I was paying attention. It didn’t take long to realize my predictive questions were no match for his proficiencies. His conversational style was unencumbered by pen and paper. Live hits are often best unscripted – facts often change – so it’s a good idea to never get completely committed to copy or a story you already wrote in your head.

Something he obviously knew and I was oblivious.

I committed. The story changed. I fumbled.

I couldn’t see Bill, but I could hear his signature voice in the distance. He was confident, flexible, flawless, and experienced. Over the next decade, after some big stories under my belt, I spent many hours alongside that signature voice. Bill’s knack for telling stories made it look easy, when in reality, it takes years to tell the right story, connect with the right people, ask the right questions and put it all together cohesively and quickly under pressured deadlines.

No one in Central New York, then or now, cared as much, or told a story as good, as Bill Carey. He was a gentle giant with a “just the facts ma’am” style. He was your worst and best competition. Worst, because he’d kick a** on ANY story. Best, because by his very skill and nature, he made you WANT to be better.

He could make grass growing, interesting.
He could make paint drying a lead story.
And if politics or election night was on the board, forget it.
You might as well take a seat.
Bill Carey was untouchable.
He was that good.

Any reporter who had the honor of standing in reporter row alongside Bill, learned.
You couldn’t not learn from him.

Bill would not approve of my grammar in that last sentence.

He was a man of few words in the field.
He was a man of the right words in the field.
If he said it, it was fact.
And if you got a smile, a hello, and a question along the way, it was a sign of respect.
And it was enough.

Central New York has lost its signature voice, its lead storyteller. A man who loved his family and community and honored the stories that poured from every corner. And if you think that doesn’t matter, it does.

Like Ron Curtis, Bill was a trench coat journalist. He was an iconic gift to Central New York because he stayed on the front line where bright lights don’t often shine.

Above all else, Bill Carey was fair and the best interviewer, bar most. Every question had purpose. If he didn’t get the facts he needed from one angle, he’d flawlessly slide in from another angle.

It’s hard to say goodbye to a person you thought would always be around.

We say goodbye to a style that only he could bring. We say goodbye to decades of integrity, knowledge, and experience. We say goodbye to a big piece of broadcasting excellence colleagues and viewers were privileged to know only because Bill chose not to leave for brighter lights and bigger paychecks. He’s a void that cannot be filled.

Perhaps his greatest gift, as an Emmy and Murrow award winner with 40-plus years covering stories, was setting the standard for every reporter who stood in reporter row alongside him. So in a way, his excellence is ubiquitous.

I don’t know where you go when it’s your turn to go, but I want to believe there’s a corner for news people in the Heavens…and while their mics are down, I want to believe Bill Carey, Andy Brigham, Joe Galuski, Ron Curtis, Sheryl Nathans, and Donna Speez are having a few brews sharing stories that matter. Intro. Pkg. Tag.

Goodbye, Mr. Carey. RIP Bill. You will be so missed.

Super Bowl, Sex, and Super-sized Spots

1 Feb

While I’m disappointed, once AHHHHGAIN, my SD Chargers didn’t advance to the Super Bowl, I do take great interest in a good championship game and great commercials. Coming from a rich news background, I can appreciate the value of commercials, because without them, there wouldn’t be television news. Ad revenue pays salaries. It’s that simple.

The Super Bowl is the one time of year, millions of football fans are tethered to their television sets actually craving commercials. Advertisers use this mid-Winter Sunday night to take full advantage of our weaknesses, knowing exactly what tugs at our amygdala. Fast cars, food, cute babies, talking animals, sweaty men, and sexylicious women will round out a number of the 70, or so, Super Bowl Super-sized spots. More than a hundred million viewers is quite a sexy audience.

The usual big guns are on the front line again this year for Super Bowl XLIX, spending up to $4.5 million on a 30-second spot hoping to gain your buy-in: Anheuser-Busch, McDonald’s, Doritos, VW, Coke, Pepsi, E-Trade, Calvin Klein, GoDaddy.com, Taco Bell and newcomer Carnival Cruise. And, oh goodie! Expect to see the Victoria Secret’s sultry divas twisting and turning their assets at the two minute warning. Furniture crawling and eating air are life skills and much harder than they look. I’ve tried both. Gawd, they make me feel so…FAT.

I digress.

Each 30-second spot is a bit of a mini-Hollywood production about a story with a surprise ending as viewers hang on to the edge of their seats. Of course it helps that each year, companies pay big bucks to seduce top talent to endorse their products and play bit part roles. This year’s A-listers include: Pierce Brosnan, Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Mindy Kaling, Snoop Dog who’ll be, not hungry, but hangry…and of course the Clydesdales (personal fave) saving a pup. There’s even Wix’s super-bowled ‘fantasy team’ of Brett, TO, Franco and Emmitt.  Good stuff.

So I’d thought it’d be fun to share some super facts about Super Bowls, super commercials and super bowl foods, so you can sound super smart at the water cooler tomorrow.

The FCC sanctioned the first television commercial in 1941.

Watchmaker, Bulova, paid $9 for the world’s first television commercial which aired on WNBT in New York in July 1941. The 10-second ad ran during a live broadcast of the Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies.

Kids watch 30,000-40,000 commercials a year, about 100 a day.

By the time you’re 65, you’ll have watched nearly 2 million commercials.

In 1967, a 30-second Super Bowl commercial cost $37,500 with an audience of more than 24,400,000.

In 2013, a 30-second Super Bowl ad costs about $3.8 million, talent not included, with an anticipated audience of more than 111,000,000.

It’s estimated 50% of the Super Bowl viewers this year will be women.

Women make up 80% of the buying power in the home.

Yet, 35% of Super Bowl ads are steered toward men. The remaining are mostly gender neutral.

Go figure GoDaddy.com.

It’s believed ‘super’ Super Bowl ad fever started in 1984 when Apple ran its “1984” commercial (based on George Orwell’s novel) campaign ad introducing the Macintosh computer.

Anheuser-Busch enhanced the fever in 1989 with its “Bud Bowl” campaign where small bottles of Bud beer made football plays. Men + beer + beer making football plays = makes total cents.

Every commercial has a title.

Anheuser-Busch’s “911 Tribute,” which aired only once, in Super Bowl XXXVI (2002), is one of the most popular commercials to air. It’s one of my personal favorites. Like most commercials, it’s an illusion, but it still gives me chills. Never forget.

Roman numerals began being used by the NFL with Super Bowl V.

Super Bowl XLV – Green Bay Packers (31) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (25) – was the most watched program in television history, knocking out Super Bowl XLIV, which knocked out the final episode of Mash, which held the title for 28 years. It was one of the only Super Bowl games that had no cheerleaders.

In 1954, the Baltimore Colts was the first NFL team to have cheerleaders.

26 of the 32 teams in the NFL have cheerleaders. The Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, NY Giants, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers do not have cheerleaders.

NFL cheerleaders are not allowed to date/fraternize with players. This is not the case in college or high school.

NFL cheerleaders make about $75 per game.

The average American does not have the body or stamina of a cheerleader because while the ladies burn off about 10,000 calories during a Super Bowl game, the average American eats 1,200 calories during the game. Our favorites:

1.2 billion wings

37% will eat those wings with blue cheese, unless you live up north, that increases to 50%

11 million pounds of chips

70 million pounds of guacamole (70 million is not a typo)

14 billion hamburgers

50 million cases of beer

So, I guess it’s no wonder 6% of us won’t be sharing any of these super facts at the watercooler Monday because that’s the percentage that call in ‘sick’ the day following the Super Bowl.

Now, time to go get ‘supered’ up for the big game!

Go Chargers!!!! Help a sister next year.  Which by the way will be called Super Bowl 50, not Super Bowl L.

You CAN Get Rid of Your Fear of Public Speaking for Good

20 May

fear_of_elevatorsWhen the doors close, my world stops.

I can’t think, can’t breathe, my stomach pings, my wide-eyed glare transfixed on the blinking numbers above the doors.

Until it STOPS.

As soon as the doors open, I’m the first one off.

That’s my life with elevators. I’ll go to great lengths to avoid them even when it means – which is usually – climbing 318 steps daily steps to my 4th floor office and my 5th floor apartment. I’ve showed up at doctors’ offices, events, parties, and interviews, breathless. I’ve convinced my high rise friends to ride down to get me, ride up with me, and, yup, ride back down. I recently annoyed the hell out of my daughter as we rode 30-something floors to visit friends near the top floor of the Viceroy in Miami.  Along for the sketchy, jerky ride was a popular NBA basketball player perplexed – or entertained, I’m not sure – by my panic ‘routine.’

Actually, I’m not really sure if it’s elevators I’m afraid of or if it’s falling hard and fast into the bowels of the earth tumbling in its dark center trapped and buried with bitey bugs and slimy worms and silence where no one can hear or save me and I’ll be alone and that’s…The End.  

Sounds pretty rational to me.

Continue reading

Find Your Voice

12 Mar

Earlier this week, my friend Angela was preparing to give a talk to aspiring journalists at her alma mater, which is also my alma mater, Utica College of Syracuse University*.  Angela put a shout out on Facebook asking if any journalists had advice worth sharing.  Angela, a well-respected producer at the top of her game in the number one market in the country, New York City, didn’t really need the help.  But that’s what trained journalists do – consider every source, every angle, and leave no stone unturned.

Her request, to no surprise, solicited a mix of solid advice, a bit of lark, and a good dose of professional sarcasm.  All in good fun.  All true.

Her request got me thinking about the first time Angela and I met.

Continue reading

We All Fall Short on Something, Literally

21 Nov

We all fall short on something.   For each of us, there are some things in life we just don’t ‘get.’  Literally.

Some people are short on cash.

Some on courage.

Others, are short on patience.

Sadly for some, life is short-lived.

But for me…well… I’m just plain short.

So when my acting coach, Nick, recently told me to bring my own monologue to my first advanced acting class, I wrote about what I knew best.  It went something like this:

Continue reading

Ten Things to Do at 2:00 a.m…..

28 Aug

I dedicate this blog to Jim Meech, former colleague and talented CNN nightshift live truck field logistics engineer dude, who’s up all night, tonight.  

I have no idea what woke me up at 2:03 this morning and I’m too tired to think about it.

Actually, I’m not even sure I ever really fell asleep.  I think I did.  Maybe.

If I was paid for every time I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d be retired on Sanibel Island with a frothy fruity drink in my hand next to him.

Continue reading

HOT yoga is HOT

10 Jul

Yoga people are always so…fit.

It’s so annoying.

Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,226 other followers