Friday, January 11, 2013

Texas Week's 100th Episode | Casey's Last Word

Today is not my normal Last Word.

It is, as they say in the Legislature, a “Point of Personal Privilege.”

As we noted earlier, this is our 100th edition of Texas Week.

After the first one aired, one of my daughters called to say she had seen it.

“You did pretty well, Dad,” she said encouragingly. “But what’s with the bobble head?”

Here’s what was with the bobble head:

When Bill Moll, who was then the CEO of KLRN, hired me to do this program, he understood that I was a newspaperman whose only experience in broadcast work was to serve as an occasional talking head.

So he hired, Stephanie Rickel to give me a one-day crash course.

Stephanie is a nationally known TV talent coach based in San Antonio.

She has worked from Hollywood to New York, coaching the likes of Regis Philbin, whose show was originally produced by her husband Larry.

One of the things Stephanie tried to impress on me was that I needed to put a lot more energy into my voice.

I tried, but the energy spilled out into other parts of me.

After the second program, my helpful daughter said, “You did pretty well on the bobblehead, Dad, but your legs looked like a 4th-grade schoolboy’s.”

Writing a newspaper column, which I did for 24 years, was a great job. But it’s pretty much a solo act.

Nobody can sit next to you and help you write a column.

So one of the things I enjoy about television is that it is a team sport.

About a dozen people here at KLRN seem to consider it part of their job to keep me from looking stupid.

I won’t name them all, but they range from Jessica Gomez, whose make-up skills cover my many blemishes, to Bruce Kates, the producer who, among many other contributions, instructs me through an earpiece during the program to “sit up straight.”

The first time he did this was during a rehearsal taping.

I blurted out, to the confusion of the practice interviewees around the table, “You’re not my mother.”

In his mellifluous tone, Bruce said, “Right now I am.”

My greatest enjoyment in working on this program is that it has enabled me, after nine years in exile, to plug back into San Antonio, a very special city.

It has always been a great news town with terrific political battles and whacky political scandals.

Who can forget the councilman who said at a press conference, “It couldn’t be my baby. And if it is, I’ll do the right thing.”?

(It was, and he didn’t.)

Or the councilman who was under bribery indictments by both the state and the feds at the same time – for separate bribes? And for embarrassing pittances.

I get the sense we have fewer such clowns these days, though I take journalistic comfort in the belief some will always be with us.

San Antonio’s leadership, both in the political and the business realms, is broader and deeper.

The city has become more mature, more complex and more ambitious, even as new generations of political, community and business leaders make their mark.

I am very grateful to the leaders of KLRN for giving me the opportunity to watch the workings of San Antonio close-up, and I relish the prospect of what we at Texas Week might see in 2013.

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