Charlie Tuggle brings to his position as director of the electronic communication sequence at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication an extensive career as a broadcast journalist and producer. Among other achievements, “Dr. T,” as his students affectionately refer to him, expanded the sequence to include three student-run, award-winning broadcast productions.
Born in Fort Meade, Florida, Tuggle has stayed primarily in the Southeast throughout his academic and professional career. After attending Fort Meade High School, Tuggle went to the University of Florida, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there before going on to University of Alabama for his doctoral degree.
Tuggle began his college career intending to study agricultural education, inspired by a favorite high school teacher. Then he discovered journalism.
“I got there, and sort of stumbled into this TV studio,” he recalled. “Wow, this is really cool. I like this. I think I am going to try this. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Working with ABC in Tampa, and later the NBC affiliate WFLA in St. Petersburg, Florida, Tuggle gained valuable newsroom experience as a videographer, reporter, producer and editor. Tuggle has seen the field change in significant ways, driven in large part by technology: from film to video, from recorded to live broadcasts and more.
In July 1999, Tuggle joined the faculty of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication and helped launch the School’s broadcast program. His students have gone on to win national awards for the work produced under his supervision.
“You don’t get to be the very best without putting in a lot of time and effort,” he said. “I’m the one who is going to push you to put in the time and effort…my goal is to take every student as far as he or she is willing to go.”
Interviewee: Charlie A. Tuggle
Date: March 24, 2015
Location: Carroll 327, Carroll Hall, University of North Carolina
Interviewer: Chandler Carpenter
Interview Length: 42 mins 48 secs
Transcribed by/date: Chandler Carpenter, April 2015
Chandler Carpenter: I am Chandler Carpenter. We are currently in Dr. Tuggle’s office on the third floor of Carroll Hall. Today is Tuesday, March 24th.
So to begin, where were you born and where did you go to high school?
Charlie Tuggle: I was born in a really small town in central Florida. It’s called Fort Meade. Fort Meade is kind of equidistant from Tampa and Orlando, sort of right in the middle of the state. I went to Fort Meade High School, which is the only high school in town. Town of 5,000 people. I think my graduating class was 56, or something like that. So very, very small. Everybody knows everybody else’s business.
CC: What was your family like in terms of siblings and parents while you were growing up? Do you have any siblings?
CT: I have two older brothers and an older sister. My sister is the oldest of the bunch and she’s 20 years older than I am. Then the closest brother is 10 and a half years, so I was kind of a late-in-life baby and didn’t have siblings around for much of my teen years because they were already grown and working, or in the Army or whatever. So from about age 11 or 12, I guess until I graduated, it was just me.
CC: Was there a significant or favorite memory that you have from your childhood that involved your family?
CT: We had big family reunions. I’m forgetting the name of the place, but there’s a spring. Well, there is Wakulla Springs and a couple of others. The cousins and uncles and aunts and all of us would converge on all of these places in north central Florida, and we’d have like 100 people there. That was a pretty common occurrence in the summers, was that we’d get together for some big family reunion, and not see those people again for another year or two, depending on whether they came every year. But that was, from a family perspective…again, remember that my brothers and sister weren’t really around. Well, my sister was because they lived right down the street. But my niece actually is more like a sister because I’m only 14 months older than my niece is. So we kind of grew up almost like brother and sister. But it was the extended family thing that was kind of what we looked forward to every year.
CC: How important was your family in shaping your career aspirations and what you wanted to do?
CT: My dad was the biggest influence on me throughout life. I was telling somebody last night that my dad died in ’94 and I still miss him every single day. My nickname with my grandchildren is “Pop.” His nickname was “Pop Pop.” And I tell people the reason for that is that I’m about half the man he was, so that’s why we adopted just the one Pop. So, he didn’t really push me toward any particular area of study or something to do with my life, but he did instill in me, I think, a very strong work ethic. He ran heavy machinery and worked swing shift. Do you know what swing shift is? Every two weeks his shift would change. He was either on day shift, or afternoon shift, or what they call graveyard shift, and it changed every two weeks. It’s like, how can you even survive? I’m trying to imagine myself in that kind of sleep pattern. And yet, who fixed my breakfast most days? Who made sure I got off to school because my mom was working a job that required her to be gone at 4 o’clock in the morning? My dad was really my main care provider quite often, and yet worked this crazy swing shift. He instilled in me a sense of trying to do the right thing, trying to work hard, you succeed at whatever you do. But nobody really pushed me into you know this area of study, the journalism side of things. That just sort of happened.
CC: What first got you interested in studying broadcast journalism? Was it when you got to college?
CT: It was. When I was in high school, a teacher who had a big influence on me was my ag[riculture] teacher. You know, a small rural town, of course the FFA was a big deal, the 4H was a big deal. I was involved in that stuff and did public speaking, because that’s one of the things you can look at. Robert’s Rules of Order, I was on that team. Showing cattle at the state fair, just all kinds of stuff. This guy was instrumental in my rising through the ranks in that. I was going to go to the University of Florida to become an ag teacher. That was my goal. I got there and sort of stumbled into this TV studio and was like, wow, this is really cool, you know. I like this. I think I am going to try this. The rest, as they say, is history.
CC: What then made you try to pursue a doctorate? Was that right after you graduated from undergrad or did you take a couple of years before that?
CT: After I graduated from UF, I worked professionally for 12 years–most of it in Tampa. Then I got a chance to come back to UF and work for the university in a media relations kind of role–primarily with sports but not totally–while I got my master’s degree.
While I was getting the master’s degree, people kept saying, are you going to go on for the Ph.D.? It’s like, why would I? The more people kept saying that, and they were saying if you want to teach and you want the ability to go wherever you want to go, a Ph.D. is really going to help you. Because you can teach some places with a master’s, but there’s a lot of places you can’t teach with a master’s. Even when I was an undergrad at Florida, I had this mindset that one day I’m coming back into this environment, this college environment, and I’m going to teach. That was just a mindset that I had. You know I met with a couple of mentors. I said, I’m married, I have a couple of kids, I have a mortgage. Can I, should I, do this Ph.D. thing? And they all said it’s like a marathon, but if you just keep going you can do it. And indeed, it was like a marathon. So, just, can I do this one more day? Can I possibly do this one more day? Then at the end of it, it’s like, okay it’s done, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. It did open all kinds of doors.
One thing that I found was that there are people who’ve worked in the profession at a pretty high level and come back and teach hands-on kind of stuff, and there are people who kind of have gone straight through, you know undergrad, master’s, Ph.D.–the more theoretical side of things–and they’re really good at what they do, but there aren’t too many people who have done both…who have done 15 years in the business and had the Ph.D. So it wound up being a pretty marketable combination. I mean it got me into UNC, which is, you know, one of the top schools in the whole world, especially as far as journalism is concerned.
CC: What made you want to become a professor? What gave you that mentality that you wanted to be back in the college environment?
CT: Being an undergrad was just so much fun. Not for the parties and that kind of stuff, but just the sports teams, and your colleagues are all your same age, and you’re young, and you want to change the world, and there’s just that kind of university mindset that was just so invigorating. I thought, can I contribute to that one day? I got into the business and I saw some things that I thought ought to be changed, and how much can I change by myself? Not much. How much can I change if I make a whole bunch of disciples? Maybe more than I can change by myself. So, there was that mindset of, let’s go build some ethical young journalists who are hungry and want to do a good job, and can go out there and indeed change the world, at least in terms of how we do this particular job.
CC: After you graduated from undergrad, what was your first job?
CT: I was a videographer editor at the ABC station in Tampa. I went there straight out of college. I had learned…
CC: Is that WFLA?
CT: It was TSP at the time. There’s been some shifting around of affiliations and what have you in that market five or six years ago. At the time it was the ABC station over in St. Petersburg, right there on the causeway. I started there. I was there for about eight months and then a similar position became available at WFLA, the NBC station, and I went there. They were still shooting film and I had never shot film before, and it showed. I mean, I made a bunch of mistakes when it came to shooting film, because all I knew was video. Then they got video and things started to work out. I went from videographer editor to starting to produce some, starting to report some, and then I got named sports producer-slash-reporter. I was there for a little more than 10 years in that job.
CC: What do you miss most about your time, I guess, with WFLA?
CT: It’s funny. There’s something on Facebook now, a group called “When TV Was Fun.” It’s a bunch of the old farts from WFLA, back in the days when people had mullets and all that kind of stuff. And they’re posting about what a great time we had in the newsroom. There were some real characters during that time and I miss them.
I certainly don’t miss three or four deadlines every single day. That wears on you after a while. I was in charge of the content for some of the noon, not too much, but at the time we didn’t have eight newscasts a day, we had three or four. But the 5 [p.m.], the 6 [p.m.], and the 11 [p.m.]…I’m working on all three shows. As soon as one is done, you’re worried about the next one. So that used to be draining. Plus it’s not the greatest shift. It beats the midnight shift, but you know get home at midnight, you see your wife and kids, and five or six days a week, traveling at the drop of the hat because you never know–when something happens, you have to go. So, from a family perspective, it wasn’t the greatest thing. But we did have a lot of fun back then.
CC: In those 10-plus years that you were with WFLA, besides obviously going from film to video, what were some of the biggest changes that you saw, maybe in the industry or just in the network itself?
CT: One of the biggest changes involved me very directly. We had a really good little league team, called the Belmont Heights little league team. Dwight Gooden was on that team, Derek Bell was on that team…a couple of others whose names are escaping me right now, but future big leaguers were on that team. For a series of about three years, they went to the Little League World Series and we went with them. Our first-ever satellite live shot from our station was me in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. We had no clue what we were doing. We routed it from the camera. We’re an NBC station, remember. We routed our signal from the camera in the dugout to the ABC production truck…ABC, I don’t know why they let us do it. From there to New York, from New York to the satellite, from the satellite down to the public station in Tampa, from the public station out the door to one of our microwave trucks, and then to our station. So like eight hops to get a live shot. No one had ever done this in our market, and I think in the southeast no one had ever done it. It’s me and I’m pretty young, like 22 years old. They come to me and I start talking–and I’m hearing myself, what I said about 2 seconds ago. So I am saying one thing and I’m hearing myself say something else, and it was like just totally mind blowing. So I started talking really slowly and your voice is never going to catch up with you, the feedback’s just slower, it’s not like you’re catching up. I wasn’t smart enough to pull the thing out of my ear or anything like that. We didn’t know what mix-minus was, so the next day we rigged up some little something that, when I would start talking, I would push a button attached to the microphone and that would kill the audio coming to my ear, so that I didn’t have that distracting thing.
So the next year, we go up there, same situation. They’re going to go far in the tournament and we borrow a live truck from our affiliate who now has a satellite truck. So it’s like boom, boom. From one year to the next, it was like you know something involving half a dozen engineers to something involving one satellite truck operator to make that shot happen. Plus, we knew you can’t have that feedback in your ear. We learned a whole lot, and I’m right in the middle of it. So I’m the one who looked totally stupid on the air trying to talk very slowly. Fortunately the kid–again I’m forgetting his name–but as I’m doing that, he cracks a three-run home run over my shoulder in full view of the camera and the crowd. The dugout erupts. I can’t hear my earpiece anyway, and so that was like salvation that the kid hit the three-run home run and I was able to describe it–they had taken the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning or whatever and yada, yada, yada. They got me out of a really uncomfortable situation. But that was huge change to go into the live era.
CC: Do you have any other changes that come to mind or…
CT: The transition from film to video was pretty big, and then the transition to live. Those were the two biggest technological changes that I worked through and subsequent to that, of course, we went from machine to machine editing to nonlinear editing, but that came after I had already left the business.
CC: You said that when you went back to UF that’s when you started teaching in universities?
CT: No, I went back there to work as a staff member to head up the media relations effort. So we were sending materials to stations throughout Florida. I worked with ESPN, for example, to set up their remote interview with [University of Florida head football coach] Steve Spurrier. I coordinated those kinds of things for almost five years and got my master’s in the process. I did speak to classes and do stuff like that, but I didn’t do any full-time teaching until I left there to go to Alabama to study for my Ph.D. So I was studying for a Ph.D. and teaching full-time at the same time.
CC: What made you decide to go to Alabama? Why didn’t you want to stay in Florida?
CT: People always said it doesn’t look good if you get all three degrees from the same place. I already had undergrad and master’s, so you really need to show some diversity. This little school in Alabama called my academic advisor and said we really need somebody to teach broadcast for us. Do you have anybody? He asked me if I was interested and, in a matter of a couple of days, we had worked out the opportunity to transfer all of my credits from Florida to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, study for my Ph.D. there, drive back and forth to the little school an hour away and teach. So that happened in, like, 72 hours.
CC: So just for clarification, what was that little school?
CT: It’s called the University of Montevallo. It’s just south of Birmingham. It’s a 60-minute drive from Tuscaloosa to Montevallo, and I would make that drive twice a week and be there all day Tuesday, all day Thursday and take all my classes at Alabama Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So my worst semester, I taught four classes and I took five. Nine classes at a time. Plus, have a wife and a couple of kids and a dog and all that stuff. So that was a rough time, and we got to like beans and franks quite a bit. Actually we got to hate beans and franks, but that sacrifice turned out to be worth it in the long term.
CC: Okay. How long have you been with UNC-Chapel Hill?
CT: June 29th will be 16 years–almost 16 years. My official start date was July 1 of ’99. They brought me up here to start student newscasting. As high up the ladder as this place is in terms of school of journalism, we grew up as a print school. We’re very print oriented, did very little with broadcast or multimedia or any of that kind of stuff and they brought me in to start the student newscast. We were supposed to go on the air. That first semester was just kind of getting everything together and making sure everything worked. Then we brought in the first group in the spring semester of 2000. We were supposed to go on the air the last Wednesday of January of 2000, and I woke up one morning and there was 22 inches of snow on my back deck. The university closed down…can’t get in. Our launch, if you will, was delayed by a week by 22 inches of snow. So we started the first Wednesday of February 2000 with the newscast “Carolina Week,” and then about six years later we added the radio newscast “Carolina Connection,” and then about two years ago, we added “Sports Extra.”
CC: What has it been like being the author of the Broadcast News Handbook?
CT: The way that came about is really interesting. I was at an academic conference in Las Vegas, and I’m walking through there and I see a colleague from Tampa. “Suzanne! What are you doing here?” She goes, “Charlie, what are you doing here?” Unbeknownst to each other, I had gone into teaching and so had she. She’s teaching in Texas, I’m teaching at the time in Miami and, it’s like, well, you know, what’s going on? You do all the personal stuff: What are you teaching? How are you teaching it? Doing student news kind of stuff. Do you use a textbook? Well no, I can’t find one that I think teaches it the way I think it ought to be taught.
So, in that conversation, we decided we were going to write a book. Just kind of lay it out, step by step, how we learned how to do it. And then we involved another guy. His career at channel 8 overlaps both of us, but the two of them never worked together. So I worked with her in my early days and I worked with him in my later days, but the two of them never worked together. The three of us got together and decided, let’s do this and see what happens.
CC: And is that your favorite thing that you have written in terms of being able to create some disciples like you were saying earlier?
CT: Yeah, yeah. We’ve sold–you know this is not a huge discipline, like history–how many people take a history class while they’re in college versus how many people take a broadcast journalism class? It’s pretty small, but we have sold more than 30,000 copies of the book. So, at least 30,000 kids, we’ve spoken to their lives to some degree or another. We’ve had some influence on them. That’s pretty cool when you think about that. During all that time, our book has been the one that’s used more than any other, according to our publisher. Somebody, one of our alums, walks past the desk of somebody else at this station in Greensboro, for example, and sees the book, and “Oh, my professor wrote that book!” That kind of stuff is really cool. To know that people are using your template for how to do this work. It’s across the country and, in fact, in a couple of international places as well, so that’s really gratifying.
CC: So, which do you like more–writing or teaching?
CT: They go hand in hand. I guess at this point in my career, I am doing more looking at [students’] work than I am writing my own stuff. But I have a radio show that I do every week on WCHL, so I’m still kind of involved in the process of putting material out there myself. But more so helping guys like you craft your material. I can’t really say that I like one more than the other, because I do still like to write and do some research studies every now and then. I love the Olympics, study the Olympics every time, look at how they’re covering, what they’re covering, try to get into the minds of the NBC decision makers, and that kind of stuff. I am still very involved in that. I have this documentary project going, so I still have my own work.
But I guess the thing that is really gratifying more than any of the rest of it, is to see one of your people, one of your students, come through the process of being very, very green and start to improve and start to get it. Then get to the point that he or she is one of the top journalists in the country based on the Hearst Awards or the SPJ [Society of Professional Journalists] Awards or something like that. I’ve seen that kid progress, you know, in such a tremendous way. That’s superbly gratifying.
CC: Obviously the broadcast program has changed a lot. Has it changed in a way that you’ve wanted it to? Has it progressed like you wanted it to?
CT: I think so. Again, when I first came here it was built up from scratch, more or less. The equipment was here and everything, but you still had to have people that know how to use the equipment. Lots of places I’ve seen have great equipment and yet they’re not competing on this national level like we and Arizona State and some others, and it’s like, why? Well, it has to be the way they’ve structured their program to teach the young people how to make this happen at a high level. So, we have more of an emphasis on the performance aspect of it. Voice and diction, for example–we brought Professor [David] Cupp in, doing more stuff with live because that’s the way the business is going, very much live oriented. Now we’re able to do that on our newscast. Adding stuff as we can, as we can afford it, to more closely mirror what’s happening in the profession.
CC: Where do you think it could be improved or expanded right now?
CT: One thing that’s really helped us get to an even higher level than we were at before is this new class called News Bureau. It’s where students in radio and TV work with print students and PR students and multimedia students, and they’re all working on media stories across all these platforms in a team. That’s really where the industry is headed. In fact, it’s there in many ways. You might be a TV expert, but you also have to turn out material on your company’s radio station or podcast or newspaper or magazine, or make a multimedia presentation for your website. So having skills across all those platforms is really where we’re all headed. You can’t be just a still photographer for the newspaper. That job doesn’t exist anymore that you do just that. You have to be able to multitask and do it across platforms, so that’s how we’re adjusting.
CC: So being well rounded is obviously necessary. What do you think is the largest kind of market in broadcast journalism right now? Is it absolutely sports in terms of expansion?
CT: Sure, yeah. That’s where things are really growing because every conference now has its own network. You know the ACC network, the SEC network, the Big 10 network, the Longhorn network. One school has its very own network. You aren’t seeing any new television stations being created, really not too many cable networks being created–it’s pretty saturated. Where you do see growth is all these regional sports networks: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1. These are the new entities that we’ve seen in the past several years. That’s where all the growth is.
CC: And that’s one of the main reasons why “Sports Xtra” has come on so strong in the past couple of years as well?
CT: I think so. There’s an awful lot of interest in sports and there’s certainly a ton of material to be covered. It gives us the opportunity to cover sports that we don’t see often on the nightly newscast. We’ll see baseball some, hockey some, basketball and football in this area. But how often do you see women’s tennis on ABC11? You don’t. Yet those are really great athletes and they have good stories to tell and give us that opportunity. What was just on ESPN–the collegiate wrestling championships. Ten years ago you wouldn’t see that on cable network and yet you do now. Lacrosse, field hockey, all those kinds of things.
I think I’m a fairly good example, as I like to keep up with all of the Carolina sports. I’m going to “Go Heels” [UNC Athletic Website, goheels.com] at least a couple of times a day. Which teams are playing today? Which teams played last night? How did they do? I am interested in all the sports, and I think there are a lot of people like that. They might not care that much about golf, for example, or they might. They might not care that much about tennis, or they might. There’s obviously a market for it, or these companies wouldn’t be putting the money into providing that coverage. So there’s somebody out there watching all these various sports and different sports networks. NBCS, or CBSN–no NBCSN–NBC Sports Network, that’s pretty new. CBSSports.com, that’s hugely popular…brings all kinds of news. Yahoo! Sports breaks all kinds of news in the sports world. There’s a hunger for sports information out there and all these outlets are serving that now.
CC: Okay. Kind of shifting gears a little bit. What was it like getting to work with your family and your close colleagues on your recent documentary “Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity?”
CT: A lot of things that have happened in my life have just sort of happened. It’s not like “Hey! I think I want to make a documentary. Let’s find a good subject.” One of my students got interested back in 2002 in this group, Las Abuelas. They did some stories. They won a big national award for it.
Seven years later, my daughter was in “Carolina Week” and it’s like, well, I’m going to Argentina, anyway–take the family with me. Hey, youngest daughter, if you’re going to go, why don’t you do some stories about this group? Tell us what’s happened in the past seven years–and she won a big national award. So the older sister said, “These stories that we’re doing, they’re pretty good stories with some big awards. But we’re going about an inch deep in a story that’s a mile deep. Why don’t we do a family documentary?” Out of the blue, why don’t we do a family documentary? A year later, we’re back in Argentina and we’re interviewing these people and we wind up putting this thing together. Dylan Field, a former student of mine, is on the team. A couple of students who had studied abroad from Argentina with us here at Carolina, they were on the team. My two daughters were on the team. So it’s me and five young alums. It grew from that into more and more people involved in the various aspects of it. It went from a Tuggle family project to a journalism school project to a UNC project, by the time people in History and Poli[tical] Sci[ence] and Music got involved in some way. That has been pretty cool to see how that sort of all came together.
CC: There’s an emphasis on cultural diversity within that documentary. Has that been a concern of you recently? Is that one of the reasons why you thought about doing that documentary?
CT: I’ve always been interested in human rights. I did a short documentary, 30 minutes, back when I was at University of Florida when I was working there as a professional. There’s a little town outside of Gainesville, called Rosewood. They actually made a feature film about this. A small settlement of blacks is overrun by a mob of whites, and many of them get wiped out. All of them get thrown off their land and their land taken, et cetera, et cetera. We did that story about man’s inhumanity to man, and did a PBS documentary about that. I’ve always had that interest in how we treat each other and why we do the things we do. That was kind of a natural extension of that to go into the Abuelas thing because we had such a good relationship with the Catholic university there. I’d been there many times, my students had an interest, my kids had an interest. It all just kind of coalesced into doing that documentary.
CC: So was diversity a consideration at WFLA at all when you were working there? Was there you know progressively more cultural diversity in terms of hiring?
CT: Even back then, you wanted your newsroom to reflect the communities that you served, and so, yeah, we needed African American folks on the team. There weren’t too many Asian Americans in the Tampa area at the time, but a big Latino population, though. We would seek to hire folks who reflected the people we were covering.
CC: Okay. Shifting gears again. I was talking to Nick Levan [Campus Recruiter, Turner Broadcasting System] and he was saying how CNN is shifting to digital. What are your thoughts on newspapers’ importance in media in the coming years?
CT: I don’t think it really matters what the format is. It matters that you are the information provider. If you’re looking at it on your iPhone or your iPad or a paper or newspaper or magazine in the bathroom or whatever, what does it really matter? What matters is, I’m the one providing that information for you. I’m the one making a living being a storyteller. I don’t care where my stuff appears or how it gets to you, I just care that you look at it.
So for me, it’s not a very important question, this hand wringing about when newspapers are dying. Television–that was supposed to be the death of radio. Well, radio just changed. It didn’t go away; it just changed. Radio is providing information and entertainment just like it did when it first came along. The written word is providing information. How do you get that written word? Doesn’t really even matter. What matters is, it comes from me–right?–from my organization. So we are trusted and believable, and people turn to us as a source of news and information. I think that’s much more important than the delivery method for getting stuff out there.
CC: Okay so in the same vein, what would your thoughts be on native advertising? You know recently there’s been this breakdown between editorial and advertising. What do you think the future is of that?
CT: In my formative years, there was a real wall between the advertising people on one side of the station and the content people on the other side. There is no reason that there can’t be some synergy between those two things. I mean we all work at the same place. We’re all hoping that our organization succeeds, so that we can continue to be employed. That’s important. What they do is important. What we do is important. But there has to be a demarcation line between the two. Don’t try to influence content. All right. You’re part of the overall mix that’s fine, but we are the content people. You’re the sales people. In this regard, we don’t cross. So with these other regards, seeing the big picture and what have you, that’s fine. But when it comes to you trying to influence what the content is, that for me is the bright red line that doesn’t get crossed.
CC: So is it more of an ethical concern or more of a content concern?
CT: I think it’s both. I think the two very much go hand in hand because if, for example, if we let the sales manager come down and say, “Hey, I really need for you guys to do a story about the big Ford dealership because they’re our biggest advertiser.” That might be good for you, but that certainly doesn’t do anything for our credibility. The reason we are covering this launch of a new dealership or whateve, is because they advertise with us? That’s not a very good reason for deciding what your content should be.
CC: You keep going back to how your family has been very supportive. What has it been like and how have they helped you throughout your time? I know that it’s been difficult for them, and I’m sure very difficult for you. How have they helped you?
CT: When I was doing that teach four classes, take five–I forget what the mix was–there were nine classes, we had two young kids, five and two, or something like that. My wife had to basically do everything. I was gone all the time or studying in the back room and wasn’t able to participate a whole lot in family time. If you don’t have that supportive network and you’re trying to do something that’s pretty darn difficult, it just doesn’t happen or you wind up splitting up and your kids have a new dad a couple of years later. I didn’t want that. My wife has been pretty understanding about how difficult that piece was going to be.
But now since then, this is a tremendous lifestyle…college teacher, very rarely working late nights, very rarely working early mornings or through the weekend. There’s some here and there, but you have a preset schedule, a lot of flexibility and it’s a great family situation. Now I have grandkids. I can schedule my time in such way that I get to go see the grandkids. It’s really allowed us the latitude to enjoy both things.
CC: So what do you want your legacy as a broadcast teacher to be, and how important is that to you?
CT: It’s pretty important. I want the legacy to be he really cared about his students. I think I want it to be this: tough but fair. You don’t get to be the very best without putting in a lot of time and effort. I’m the one who is going to push you to put in the time and effort. Not everybody wants to be pushed. For those who don’t, there might be a little tension, but for those who do and who want to excel, I had some role in that student’s success. Brooke Baldwin, for example, at CNN, has her own show two hours a day–I had some role in her success. That’s what I want my legacy to be–he was tough, and he was maybe critical more often than he was supportive some days–I’m trying to work on that, to be more supportive along with the critical– but my goal is to take every student as far as he or she is willing to go.
CC: Okay, well that concludes all the questions that I have for you today. I appreciate your time.
CT: You’re welcome.
CC: All right.
CT: All right.
END OF INTERVIEW