I remember driving back to meet Helaine after seeing Mike Sechrist in the spring of 1984. “I didn’t get it,” I told her. “They want someone older.”
I’d seen Mike hoping to fill his weather opening in New Haven. It wasn’t destined to be. But, surprise, I did get it–the weather job at WTNH.
I began May 21, 1984. Thursday was my 25th anniversary.
I can’t remember what kind of day it was when I started, but I do know I sat with Al Terzi, Gerri Harris and Bob Picozzi in front of a blank blue wall. We had no real set. All the backgrounds and frames were inserted using chromakey.
I did my first tease before my first weathercast saying a few words and ending with, “Well, how am I doing so far?” It was a line I’d first used on my first day in radio–probably stolen from someone much more clever. Gerri looked at me as if I’d just parachuted in from Mars.
In my 25 years she was one of two anchors who obviously ‘didn’t get me.’ Al, on the other hand, laughed at every joke I told–funny or not. What Al did was like comedy kindling and it helped establish me.
I have survived four general managers (with a fifth soon-to-be hired), ten news directors and scores of producers. I have outlived all the other on-air people at Channel 8 that day in 1984. Considering I’d bounced around radio for 11 years before getting to Connecticut that’s quite a feat.
I don’t know how it came about… these 25 years. It’s nothing you aim for. I seem to remember thinking of WTNH as a good stepping stone, not a final resting place. And yet I stayed.
For a while I filled in for ABC on Good Morning America. Maybe I thought the network would come calling–but they didn’t. So I stayed and stayed and stayed.
I built a very good life first for Helaine and then Stefanie. My parents moved to the area and then moved away. We set down roots. I tried to give back, especially with charity work.
You don’t go to work on day one hoping to stay 25 years. I certainly didn’t. It’s all one day at-a-time and then, all of a sudden, those days begin to add up. Prospective employers look at people who change jobs a lot as having baggage. Once you’ve stayed too long you’re looked at the same way.
There will never be another Geoff Fox in Connecticut. Sure, there will be more talented people. There might even be people who will stay longer–though that seems doubtful. But no one will ever be seen by audiences as large as we had in the 80s and 90s. That tonnage is gone. It’s affect is cumulative over the years.
I have a great job. I enjoy coming to work nearly every day. Even after 25 years no one will ever accuse me of phoning it in. I am a well defined personality and though lots of people like me, there’s also a sizable contingent who don’t.
No gold watch today, I got a plaque. I’m taking off Friday but I’ll be back Monday.