We are just a few days away from completing another winning year at KATV!!! The ratings, attitude and people couldn't be much better.
TV is all about four months - the ratings months: February, May, July and November. If each month in the year is a game, these months are the four biggest games for us. The goal at Channel 7 is to sweep the big months. Mission accomplished. Our viewers made 2012 a great season for the KATV team.
If you've ever attended Celebrity Karaoke, you are aware of all the talented performers in the KATV newsroom. Ned, Scott, Christina, Beth, Barry, Janelle, Matt, Roger, Justin, Melinda, Todd, Alyson, Katherina, Jeannette and the undisputed king of Christmas Karaoke: Jason Pederson. I'm reminded daily, just watching them, how talented they are.
Another fun aspect of working at KATV is watching people do things that I can only dream of doing. Our photojournalists, a blend of old and new, are the ones who make Friday Night Touchdowns an award winning show. I've also had a fun time watching our rock 'n roll editors crank out stuff that's taking our station to a new level.
Deadlines, breaking news and those gremlins (technical issues) can make for stressful times in the TV business, but one thing you will seldom see in the KATV newsroom is an unprofessional outburst. It's a newsroom that doesn't dwell on one mistake; it's always about not letting it happen again.
I would compare our General Manager, Mark Rose, to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - a player friendly boss. Our News Director, Nick Genty, is no Bill Belichik. Nick doesn't wear a hoodie and does smile. He is a quiet leader who plays to win every day. Nick's best move this season: he shipped one of my all-time Channel 7 favorites, Chris Kane, from weekend sports to a hosting role on Daybreak.
The only downside to the 2012 season was losing some good people. Three Sully favorites - Stephanie Simoni, Heather Crawford and Pam Smith - left for better opportunities. Stephanie is now working in Connecticut, Heather in Florida; Pam left TV to make a difference with the Little Rock School District.
We also had to say goodbye to our social media producer, Sarah; a talented morning producer, Alyson; and two photogs - Casey and the chief Tim Hamilton, a Channel 7 legend. This is a business where you see roster changes on a yearly basis.
2012 was a great year in the sports office. My weekend anchor, "Big Shot" Bob Burton, is a future star in the TV world. Bob is up for anything....as long as it starts after 11:00 a.m. Late in the year, we added Gene "The Intern" and a real intern, Josh Smith, to the mix. We get some weird looks when my posse follows me to the studio for the 6:00 show. Gene has become the third man in the sports department and Josh will be remembered for capturing two of the greatest finishes in Arkansas high school football playoff history.
I would like to thank all the people who helped me survive another year on air. Tony Ranchino is my Razorback go-to-guy. Any Hog stuff from Lou Holtz to John L. Smith, Eddie Sutton to Mike Anderson - he has it. Chris Scott is our sports specials producer. This past year, we had Razorback baseball, football and basketball specials. We also had an ASU football special. Throw in the Landers Award and it makes for a lot of special programming which means lots of work for Chris. Evan Hoffmeyer is my "Sully Says" editor. He doesn't change the message. Evan's goal it to make my blogs more readable.
It was also another great year for my former Razorback friends. Kevin Scanlon, JJ Meadors and Anthony Lucas all helped with specials. Pat Bradley showed everyone that he is still one of the best shootahs as he schooled local high school stars, including Kentucky's Archie Goodwin, in our new segment "Shootout With The Shootah." Clint Stoerner provided interesting QB commentary in his role as the "Tuesday Night Quarterback." Speaking of commentary, I think this was year 14 for David Bazzel and Bruce James. They get better with age.
It was a year that started with a celebration in Dallas, and included an historic hiring in Jonesboro, a meltdown in Fayetteville and the craziest coaching day in Arkansas sports history.
So what was the best thing about working at Channel 7 in 2012? It had to be watching all the young guys who hang out a lot in the sports office pursue their TV dreams. Chato Wilson has gone from sports intern to Ned's "Friday Night Tailgate" photog. Chris Kane has developed into Channel 7's most versatile anchor. Robert Burton has become a guy who can handle even the most stressful situations with ease (that wasn't the case a year ago).
I can't wait to see what happens in 2013.