Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – Carlos Williams was an education major at Fort Valley State University back in 1977, but he was having trouble finding a teaching job. He was 23 years old when he knocked on the door at WRBL.
“I still remember the first day I walked through the front doors at WRBL. (edit) They said, well, you don’t have any experience but we’re going to hire you anyway,” said Williams.
Carlos was hired as a parttime film processor. We shot our news stories on 16mm film back then. Longtime WRBL news anchor Dick McMichael saw something special in Carlos.
“Dick was the one that gave me the opportunity. He was news director at the time. He hired me. Took a chance on a country boy being able to learn. That was the key ingredient. He felt like if he was a college graduate he could learn it. He took a chance and I seized the opportunity,” said Williams.
Phil Scoggins came to work for WRBL as a sports anchor nine months before Carlos was hired at News 3. Phil says Carlos’ expertise as a film processor and photographer was invaluable to him.
“I remember the nights, especially the high school football nights, when you and I would go out and film football games, probably 3 or 4 games apiece. And we had to come back and process the film back then. That’s where the saying ‘film at 11’ came from,” said Williams.
Carlos didn’t stay parttime very long.
“I went from film processor to news photographer, and boy, that kept me on the go. You had your sports aspects, but you had your wrecks, your murders, your fires, and things of that nature that we had to go and film. So I was still behind the scenes, behind the camera during those times. And I kept asking to be promoted. And they said, well Carlos, there’s only a couple of things you can be promoted to and one of them is news reporter,” said Williams.
But Carlos had made a promise to himself when he first came to work at WRBL.
“I will never get in front of the camera. This country boy is not going in front of the camera,” said Williams.
His desire for a promotion made him eat those words. In fact, Carlos became quite a fixture in the newsroom.
“I went from news reporter to news assignment editor to acting news director for a while. It was a great experience for me, almost my calling I guess you could say,” said Williams.
During his tenure in news, Carlos looked to some mentors at the network level for inspiration.
“One of my great heroes when I was starting to like news and wanting to make it my profession, I always admired Ed Bradley from CBS. He still had his beard and everything. He did his thing, but he did it from a professional standpoint and that’s what I always liked about him,” said Williams.
Because Carlos’ career started in the 70’s, he was afforded the opportunity of working with some of the early WRBL broadcasting icons who owned the airwaves back then.
“I got the chance to work with a lot of really great people. They were all professionals. And boy, they could go on camera and just talk without any teleprompter or anything of that nature, especially Ridley Bell, especially Rozell, Dick. He did have a teleprompter but he could go without it if he needed to. All of those folks were heroes in my book. People that I could pattern my career after and hone my skills just as they had done. And they were a big help as well,” said Williams.
Carlos eventually moved from news into a management position, becoming the creative services director for the station. He wrote, shot, and voiced commercials. He fronted special TV programs. For years he has been the face of our weekly Golden Apple Award presented to outstanding local teachers. He’s also been the presenter of our Athletes of the Week Award.
It’s clear from his WRBL resume that Carlos has tackled his various jobs with tenacity and determination.
“I was raised to be a hard worker by Johnny and Lucille Williams and that’s a trait that has stuck with me,” said Williams.
Carlos was honored with a farewell reception to commemorate his four-and-a-half decades of service to WRBL. Among those in attendance, another retiring public servant, State Representative Calvin Smyre, the dean of the Georgia House. This verbal portrait of Carlos doesn’t even begin to paint the full picture of the impact he has made on this station and our community. How does he want to be remembered?
“I just hope they’ll remember that I always wanted to do a good job, and that I was a people person. That I may have had some bad days, but I always tried not to show it and always tried to be kind to people,” said Williams.
We at WRBL News 3 want to congratulate Carlos Williams on a fantastic career with our station. God speed and good luck in your much deserved retirement.