Poker and Liquor

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Joe Loy Effect

Several people in my business have died recently. A year ago May 22, Chris Gulfman, age 35, a videographer from my previous employer of eight years, WYFF-TV, had a brain aneurysm and died suddenly.

April 30th, WHNS (Fox Carolina) videographer Cliff Cross, 41, passed away from a very short battle with a very aggressive cancer. Fox Carolina also unexpectedly lost their research director, Stephen Dillard, 42, two years ago from a heart attack. My wife worked at WHNS for 9 years, and knew Cliff and Stephen well.

On May 10th, a colleague and close friend of mine when I worked at WYFF, Mike LaBoone, 49, Broadcast Engineer, committed suicide. He taught me a lot about television, audio in particular. He always said in a twangy Ross Perot accent "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone." I will.

This week, Joe Loy, Assignment Editor/Videographer was hit by a van and killed while covering another accident. He also worked at WHNS, Fox Carolina. He was well known in this market, not just by people in television, but by many in the community. As assignment editor, he makes all the calls to everyone who is anyone, looking for the stories to send the news crews out to cover. They all knew him, and they all liked him. Who wouldn't? Look at that smile . . .

It is very sad and tragic for everyone who knew these fine folks. It can also be a tough issue for those working in the business. Joy Loy's death, in particular, strikes a cord. He died on the job, doing what we all have done. I used to be the engineer in the live truck. I've been on the side of the road so many times, I can still smell the brake dust. All news crews have been there. It's what they do. Everyone in this business that goes on location has been on the side of the interstate at some point. So many of the police officers and emergency crews Joe talked to on the phone daily are on the side of the interstate constantly. Heck, nearly everyone's car has at least broken down once. It is a scary place to be, and it makes us all identify with his tragedy.

But believe it or not, I'm not just blogging this to express my sorrow. Television can be competitive, and competition can be ugly sometimes. But I was amazed and awestruck when I heard a little something about Fox Carolina's competing stations. As I heard it from a reliable source, WYFF (the NBC affiliate) and WSPA (the CBS affiliate) both offered to help out Fox Carolina by producing their news for them, so that the entire staff could attend the funeral. The entire newscast, done by your competition as an act of kindness and compassion. Can you imagine Applebees sending over cooks and wait staff to help out TGIFridays? I am proud of these station's behavior.

I doubt FoxCarolina will take them up on the offer, but I am very impressed to see it made.

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At 10:40 PM GMT-5, Blogger BuckeyeTimmy said...

I had no idea that Mike LaBoone committed suicide. That's nuts. And he did have the Ros Perot twang.

~T~ (AKA-the second of the two original members of Team Scott Smith)

At 10:59 AM GMT-5, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

sorry to hear about all the passings of your friends. I am kind of speechless because I have never loss so many friends in such a short amount of time. Never easy and best of luck in dealing with these losses.

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