News 3 Neighbors: Former WRBL Anchor Dick McMichael - WRBL

News 3 Neighbors: Former WRBL Anchor Dick McMichael

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   In tonight's News 3 Neighbors segment, I visit with a former WRBL-TV anchor and news director Dick McMichael who felt like a neighbor to thousands of viewers for decades.
   
   Dick's career at WRBL started in radio.  But when TV was added in 1953, Dick was attracted to the new medium.  He recalls, "I was here for the early television programs.  I would sit in the booth and when they did studio programs, I would operate the audio board.  There was a microphone there and I would do station breaks and commercials.  I reached the point that I wanted to learn a lot about television.  I liked it."

   In the early days of TV, Dick says the station management was willing to let you experiment.  "I told them I wanted to do some directing.  At that stage they were more open for things.  You told them you would like to do some directing, they'd let you do some directing.  And I had a lot of fun!"

   Dick was given a shot at directing a musical program called "The Spec and Doyle Show."  Dick recollects, "They would stand in front of a backdrop of a barn and play their guitars and sing.  We called it hillbilly music back then."

   Dick saw opportunities to make improvements to the telecast.  "They had flat lighting...just big scoops.  That's not real TV.  We can light it better, so I did.  And I started producing individual songs.  Instead of just having them stand there in front of that backdrop, I started doing it sort of like they did on the networks, The Hit Parade, and so forth."

   McMichael says the show resonated with viewers.  Spec and Doyle used to tell him, "We have listeners coming up to us on the street saying, 'We watch to see what you're going to do next.'"  

   Dick admits, "I learned a lot that way and that's why I wanted to do it."

   Little did folks realize that one of WRBL's TV booth announcers would go on to become one of the most respected news anchors in the Columbus viewing area.  

   On a personal note, Dick interviewed me for a TV news reporter's position in the summer of 1976.  I did not get the job.  Instead, Dick hired a young man named Steve Beverly who worked in this market for a number of years and remains a good friend of mine.  Dick called me in November of that year and offered me a sports anchor position which I accepted.  It was my first on-air TV job and I owe Dick a heartfelt thank you for giving me that opportunity.  

  

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After taking 16-year break from broadcasting, Phil rejoined WRBL as a news anchor where he has been ever since. More>>

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