April 24, 2014

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Pioneer, Local Legend, Friend

Jim blogs on the man behind the Glenn Wilson Broadcast Scholarship.

 

 

This week WTAP announced the winner of this year's Glenn Wilson Broadcasting Scholarship. She is Ashley Sturm from Parkersburg South High School. The scholarship was set up to help aspiring journalists pay for college, and to honor the memory of one of the pioneers in television news in West Virginia

I will never forget the first time I met Glenn Wilson. It was the early 1960's. In one of his many roles at the station, he was was the host of a Saturday morning children's TV show called "Fairmont Junior Auction".

Glenn was the "auctioneer" and children would bid on toys using milk bottle tops and cottage cheese container lids for currency. My oldest brother told my brother, my sister and me to keep quiet and he would shrewdly do all the bidding.

He bid 75 points for a set of Tonka trucks. Glenn said " 75 points going once...75 points going twice".....Well I got caught up in the excitement of the moment and blurted out 100 points.

That earned my an icy stare from my big brother and a warm invitation from Glenn to come down to the studio floor. It was the first time that Glenn and I appeared on the air together.

He tried to interview me, but I was a 6 or 7 year old, scared stiff by the bright lights and this big man with a microphone gently trying get me to get me to say my name.

The next time I met Glenn, it was the spring of 1976 and I was interviewing for a job at WTAP. As I shook his hand, I thought " This guy is not nearly as big as I remembered. But I soon came to realize that while Glenn was not big in stature, he WAS a big man to me.

Glenn was my first boss at WTAP. He was a mentor with the ability to dispense equal measures of advice and encouragement when they would do the most good. And I could never thank him enough for both.

Glenn was a proud man...and I say that in the best sense of the word proud He was proud of his wife Bernice and the devotion she had for the family while he had to devote time to his job. He was proud of his son Bob and his daughter Pam and the lives they built for themselves. And he was VERY proud of his grandchildren.

Glenn was proud to be a broadcaster He was proud of his work at WTAP and his pride extended to his co-workers. He was genuinely proud of any achievements or success enjoyed by his colleagues.

Glenn was a generous man in so many ways. His generosity ranged from sharing the wealth of his experience to sharing a good word or a joke. And sharing cookies, breads, chocolates, and other goodies that he would treat his co workers to on a regular basis.

Glenn's resume was an extensive one. He was a News Director , weather man, game show host, account executive, and public relations man,  just to name a few of his roles in his 37 years at WTAP.

But he was always had a passion for news, and telling the stories that were important to viewers in our area. One of his crowning moments was being honored by the West Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters Association with its Life Time Achievement Award. The honor meant alot to Glenn, and so did he fact that dozens of reporters, producers, and new directors from around the state were there with him on the special occasion. They were his kind of people.

Glenn is gone, but his legacy will live on with future generations of reporters, including some who were helped along the way  by the Glenn Wilson Broadcast Scholarship. He would like that.

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