Thursday, November 11, 2010
Keeping up through 9
I’m not a big TV watcher.
I do enjoy ball games, of course, and the local news.
I can’t recall the last time I positioned myself in front of the TV and watched an entire show or movie.
Growing up in rural Alabama, I did not experience cable television. We received only about three channels – all based in Birmingham, Ala.
I recall very well those news and sports anchors on those stations – even making me consider a career in broadcasting instead of print journalism.
I did a little radio work while in high school, but the writing and the ink won out as far as a career goes.
I got cable TV for the first time while in college at the University of North Alabama – almost too many choices for this country boy.
When I moved to Mississippi (Fulton) in 1986, I had my “own home” for the first time, a rental, and again hooked up to the local cable. I had to change my news choices – and the logical choice was WTVA, based in Tupelo.
As a newspaper reporter/editor, I showed up at many of the same places as the TV folks. We developed a good working relationship.
Over a 13-year span, while in Fulton and then Aberdeen, I watched Channel 9 news, sometimes at 6 p.m. (if home in time) and more often at 10 p.m.
We moved to Laurel (way down in South Mississippi) and I did my best to keep up with things “back home” but TV was not an option.
Then on the move in 2001 to Holly Springs, I initially had WTVA, then made the switch to satellite and learned I could not get the Tupelo station, so later made the move back to cable.
The shift back to cable wasn’t entirely because I missed being able to keep up with news from the Fulton and Aberdeen areas, but it played a big part in the decision. Particularly on Friday nights, when I get home in time to catch all the ball scores from teams in Itawamba and Monroe counties – schools I once covered at the newspapers there.
A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Debayo Moyo, chair of the Department of Mass Communications at Rust College, was kind enough again to invite me to the seventh annual Mass Communications Week luncheon program. It’s always hard to pass up a great meal at Rust College. Those ladies can cook.
But I also wanted to meet the keynote speaker, Sunya Walls, a recently-hired news anchor and producer at WTVA (Channel 9) in Tupelo.
Little did I know that Dr. Moyo was going to sit me at the table with Sunya. And it was really a pleasure to talk journalism with her and find out the 1993 graduate of Rust College is living in Holly Springs.
Her father, James Walls, was born in Holly Springs. Her mother, Peggie, was born about 50 miles away in Ecru. Both moved to Chicago in the 1960s to find better job opportunities. They met in Chicago and had four children. Sunya was raised in Chicago but decided to attend Rust College in her father’s hometown.
She has high praise for Rust, and the college, no doubt, is very proud of her.
She had worked in Indiana, Chicago, Ill., Memphis, Tenn., Greenville and Davenport, Iowa. Now she’s glad to be back close to family.
Hopefully, we can feature Sunya in our 2011 Profile Edition next March.
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