MORE FROM JEFF FINCH (Oct 2008):
I'm living a life of relative comfort in Atlanta, GA along with my wife of 15 years,
the former Sara Bancroft. She used to be a radio reporter and anchor as well. I guess you
could call me semi-retired. I'm not so desperate for a job that I'm ready to be a greeter
at Wal-Mart, but I am most definitely not dead yet. For health reasons, I've been out of
the broadcasting business since 2002, but my health has improved considerably since then,
and should the right opportunity arise (say, at CNN, which is just a bus ride away), I'll
probably jump at the opportunity.
I miss the aggressive, free for all and sometimes cut-throat world of broadcast journalism.
And who knows? Someday, I may be back in the thick of it again.
Memories: Seeing three total solar eclipses. Not lunar eclipses, but solar eclipses,
where in the middle of the day, the new moon completely covers the sun, it's so dark you
can barely see the hand in front of your face, the stars comes out, and there's a black
hole with blue fire around it where the sun used to be. And yes, I got paid for it.
Sleeping at the White House. The night Ronald Reagan was shot. Actually the floor of the
White House press room. At the time (1981), it was just as infested with mice and
cockroaches as you've read or heard. A dubious experience.
John Lennon's murder in 1981. I lived in Manhattan, and was tossed right in the thick of
Covering the first space-shuttle launch in 1981. It was interesting to hear from engineers
at the Johnson Space center in Houston that they felt that Cripppen ans his party had (as far
as they were concerned) a 50-50 chance of coming home. AND IF I reported this, they would
hunt me down and kill me.
Staking a space aboard the aircraft USS John Kennedy in New York harbor (1986) for the
Cenntenial of the Statue of Liberty. Cell phones were in their infancy then, and the one
I had was powered by a 12 volt car battery. Ever lift one of those? It's A LEAD battery,
and trust me, they weigh a ton. I did make some friends, though. Jim Farley, then the VP
of NBC Radio, told me to use the phone as much as I wanted (as long as I didn't call porn
lines) so I passed it among sailors, telling them, "You wanna call home, your best friend,
your girlfriend? For free?" Of COURSE they did. And it paid off, because the tour of the
USS Kennedy I got was not the tour your average visitor (not even Mom) gets.
9/11. My wife and I lived in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, barely
a stones throw, over the Shirley Highway (I-395), from the Pentagon. Sara and I were also
watching the TV coverage of what was happening at the World Trade Center. Then came the
huge WHUMP; enough to knock pictures off the wall, and Sara and I looked at eachoter and
said simultaneously "The Pentagon!" I filed my reports (from home, with Voice of America,
and also with VOA using friends I called in New York who had the misfortune to live, work,
or both near Ground Zero).
Is that enough for you? Yea, I kinda thought so.
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