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A Terrible (Almost) Mistake (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

How I almost committed a huge faux pas on this date.

THE CALL THAT ALMOST WENT THROUGH

A behind-the-scenes TV story.  Clearly it pales in comparison to what happened on this date, but it's an illustration of how being unprepared almost got me in some trouble.

In early 1995 I was working as a reporter and weekend anchor at KRDO TV in Colorado Springs...I was 6 years into my career and I didn't really want leave my home town, but I was trying to move on to a better job.

I was also playing in an indoor soccer league one night a week with some old college buddies in Denver.  The games were late at night, usually 9, 10 or 11 pm.  We had one on April 18th and I crashed on a friend's couch in Denver for the night.  On my agenda for the next day (my day off) was to work the phones for a while, to try to make that new job plan come through.

I got up in the morning and drove home. I had CD's on in the car and hadn't paid any attention to anything news-wise. I got home and went straight to the phone.

The first call I wanted to make was to a News Director at a station in a top 50 market. I had an indirect connection and I thought that particular news manager might take my call. I had sent a resume tape a couple of weeks earlier and I was looking for some feedback.

I called the newsroom number.  A hurried voice answered, "K-blah-blah-blah..please hold!"

Newsrooms are always very busy places.  This wasn't too weird but it got me thinking just a little. My plan was, when the phone answerer took me off hold, to ask for the News Director by name.

As I waited I picked up the remote, flipped on the TV and turned to CNN. 

There all over the screen, was that horrible scene. "BREAKING NEWS, BOMBING, FEDERAL BUILDING, OKLAHOMA CITY"

I was on hold with a newsroom....in Oklahoma City.  As soon as my mind put two and two together I slammed down the phone.

News Directors don't like phone calls from job-seekers in general. If I had gotten through to that person, and stated my name and the reason for my call, all the while oblivious to what was happening in that city..I might well have been blackballed out of the business..and rightly so!

I've never been so glad not to get through to someone I really wanted to contact. 

I never did talk to that News Director..it would be weeks before any kind of a call like that would be even remotely appropriate.

A couple of months later I accepted a job in Louisville, Kentucky and things worked out fine.

That phone call was a close call.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

 

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