Friday, August 15, 2008

Betty King, "That's a Wrap" .....

While browsing local news websites, I came across this brief notice that an old friend - of mine, and of the community - has passed away.

You have to be of a certain age to remember Betty King, and to remember the era in which she worked ... an era when the workplace was undergoing changes ... an era that made a woman's accomplishments in that workplace especially remarkable.

Me? I got to know her after all that, when she was already an established and well-regarded figure in local television broadcasting and sales. That was 20+ years ago ... but one doesn't easily forget someone like her. I was a brand new writer and production assistant at KMID-TV in the 1980s, Betty was moving back-and-forth between the front office and the studio. For a number of years, she was the host of Good Morning West Texas, a short public affairs feature that aired at the bottom of the hour, in which Betty interviewed guests about everything from art galleries to rodeos, fundraisers, school programs and so much more. One annual guest was Santa Claus ... every year near the end of December, no matter how busy the Christmas season might be, he somehow managed to squeeze Betty's show into his schedule ... I guess Betty had some pull with this ol' Kris.

Back in the front office, in advertising sales, she enjoyed a longtime, devoted relationship with her clients. She took care of them, and they stayed with her ... not a bad way of doing business, really.

She was also an advocate for the local arts community, as well as an active participant. Older friends of Midland Community Theatre and other venues will remember Betty. As Public Service Director at Big 2, I was often called upon to produce/air a PSA for one of our local theaters - in fact, I thought one that we did for "Little Shop of Horrors" turned out pretty well, and I went on to enter it in the ADDY competition that year ... but no luck.

One of my favorite images of Betty will remain those days she went out for lunch with Tom (who was himself a local on-air personality). She'd be waiting inside the lobby at Big 2, and he would pull up right in front, in a classic Cadillac - one of those big ones with tail fins, a convertible with the top down. In she'd hop, and off they'd go - and 'all is right with the world,' I would think.

... and that's a wrap ... we'll miss you, Betty.


Geo said...

Jeff, you are doing a great community service by profiling some of the local tv people such as Ms. King, Ms. Williams, Mr. Ward and other former co-workers of yours. As a good writer and industry insider you are the perfect person for this.

It's just a darn shame they have to quit or die to get on these pages.

Jeff said...

George, thanks for stopping-in and for the kind words.

Looking back over my posts, I realize you're absolutely right ... it appears that someone does have to leave - in whatever way - to get a write-up on these pages.

I guess one reason for that might be the fact that - in this business, at least - departures often occur suddenly, and without note ... at least that's how it might appear to the viewers. Sure, sometimes the person has the opportunity to say 'goodbye' on-air ... but other times, they don't.