When I was in high school, I didn't see myself having a career in broadcasting. I knew I would write, it was like I had words bursting from every seam, screaming to be let loose from my brain, through my fingertips and onto a piece of paper. And I certainly didn't have any issues with getting up in front of a classroom full of my peers to spout off about anything.
But a microphone? Made my heart palpitate. A television camera? Move me to the back of the room, please. I was terrified of the things. I was rarely photographed, even more rarely recorded back in those days.
Not that I was a wallflower. But you knew that. I just had a ridiculous fear of being broadcast over the radio or television waves. My mother will back me up on that. One time, when I was about 5, she brought me and my little sister into a TV studio, and pretended to turn the camera on.
I climbed under a chair and tried to hide behind my little sister's legs.
Obviously I got over that fear, but it wasn't until I was about 18 years old, already a freshman in college. And once I worked through my phobia, I realized that while I would always write (as evidenced here), that broadcasting was calling me as it had called to my mother years before, and my father as well. Dad had hosted a jazz show on his college radio station back in Texas in the early 1950's, while my mother spent most of her time in the newsroom at several NPR stations. I ended up doing both, but also dabbled in television broadcasting.
More than a dozen years later, I had my own child, and she never really seemed interested in that broadcasting stuff. Her dad was a radio guy, mom was a radio and TV gal, and while Sophia would dance around the living room with wild abandon instead of hiding under a chair when I turned the video camera on, it wasn't something that really captured her interest. She starred in a number of cute little movies I made to cure my own boredom when she was little. Straight to video hits like "The Chocolate Chip Cookie Show" and "Pup Fiction." But if you asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, depending on the year she'd tell you that she wanted to be a forensic psychologist detective, a grade school teacher or a fashion designer. Never once did I hear the words "I want to do what you do, mom" come out of that girl's mouth.
And then somewhere along the way, something changed in my girl. I think it was when she got her first cell phone that could take pictures. She had a real eye, and started taking photos of everything. Asked for a camera for Christmas. And a better camera the next Christmas. And this year for her birthday the only thing on her list was a Go Pro. She signed up for a video production class, and became the first Junior Photo Deputy on A News Cafe. I still wasn't completely convinced that something was changing within her until she came home one day a few weeks ago and told me that she was trying out as the host of her high school's weekly video news broadcast: The U-Prep Panthercast. And she made it quite obvious to me that if she didn't make the cut, she was going to be crushed. Because she really, really, really really wanted the gig.
To the parents out there, haven't you had a few of these moments when you're so so so proud of your kid that your heart just about explodes? When you want to cry big juicy tears and jump for joy because your lifelong dream of molding a life form into what you think a perfect human should be has finally happened? That was one of those moments.
I don't know if she's on her way to a career in broadcasting (because honestly, a forensic psychologist is so much cooler), but I'm just thrilled that she's trying on her mother (and grandmother's) shoes for size, and apparently they fit, because she got the gig (thanks Mr. Bird)!
And so it's with mother's pride that I present to you this week's Panthercast featuring my daughter, who it turns out is a chip off the old block.
I've also put together an Anchorwoman Playlist that brings together every decent song I could track down that relates to radio and TV broadcasting and anchoring the news, plus a little Panther love thrown in at the end. Enjoy!