When I first started at WILX in 2000, one of the first things I heard from Ben Holden after a particularly wacky sportscast was, "You're not here to be Mr. SportsCenter, you're here to inform." It was a year-long butt kicking that had me worrying about my job every other day, but eventually got me on the right track of how to do this job the right way.
That said, I had never been more petrified on the air than the morning I sat between Adela Uchida and Darrin Rockcole on my first day as morning news anchor. Adela took it upon herself to break me down and build me back up as a "news" anchor. She helped show me how to recover from mistakes, how to relax when there was a moment of dead air, and how to make myself better on a daily basis. One of her rituals was force me to watch tapes of our shows every day of the three weeks we worked together. I hate watching myself and critiquing myself, but I learned that was a key to getting better. What you think was great or terrible live doesn't always look the same through the other end of the talking box.
Without that foundation, I wouldn't be the anchor I am now. And that's what I'll miss most about Adela leaving for a big job in Houston-- never hesitating to point out what is wrong or can work better by doing it another way. Actually, that's #2. The worst thing is not being able to call her husband John for a fun round of golf. I tell you, nobody sneaks in the Caddyshack lines better than Fitz. One time, after I sank a putt-- sorry, I digress-- this is a tribute to Adela! Anywho, those might take backseats to getting her to crack up when I sneak in something funny on the 11. She's also the reason I run in some 5k's now. My motto used to be: I only run when chased. She talked me into my first race, which turned into a second, and then I just ran a 3-miler on my vacation out east. And I'll be darned if I don't actually enjoy it a little.
We've had a few battles, too. But I forgave her for each one. ;)
As for her new job, it's a pretty awesome career move for Uch. It's the biggest jump right up there with Dan Ponce that I've seen here. Dan went straight to Chicago (market #3) from here to be a reporter. Adela's going to the 10th largest market in the U.S. to be a weekend evening anchor. Todd Klaassen didn't do too bad either going to #26 Indianapolis as weekend meteorologist.
I wouldn't be surprised if it leads to even bigger things in Houston or-- dare I say-- the national news. Like I said, the other stations there have some serious competition. Houston, some of you have a big problem.
Give 'em hell, kid. Of course... it's south Texas... so the weather is hell-like already.