I was thinking about that first job in tv at WOWL-TV15 in Florence last night. I forgot to mention that in addition to the $12,500 annual salary and 70 hour workweeks, we also had to drive our own cars to news stories.
The station had 2 news vehicles, old red station wagons. But it had a news reporting staff of 8, meaning 6 of us had to drive our own cars on news stories. At first, we all wanted to drive the news cars but the tires on those wagons were horrible. I remember telling the news director “they’re so thin you can see the air inside”.
One of our reporters, Jency York was driving one of those cars on a rainy news day when she slid across the highway and hit the wall on one of the dams that stretched over the Tennessee River. She spent a few days in the hospital but was okay.
The station also had 2 broadcast quality 3/4″ cameras which were crappy and in constant need of repair. So reporters ended up fighting over 2 other VHS home video cameras which also had to be used as edit decks.
The station manager didn’t like any news other than local news so he took out our U.P.I news service (we never had A.P) and forbade us from using any video or stories from the NBC news feeds.
Still… we came to work every day.