How Did I Get Into This?
Although I studied journalism at the University of Illinois my career went in the direction of broadcast sales and management, a career that lasted 25 years. My last position in television was as President and General Manager of WIFR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Rockford.
One of the things I liked best about that job was writing and delivering on-air editorials, for which I won several awards from the Illinois Broadcasters Association, United Press International and the Associated Press.
I left television in 1988, moved to Williams Bay and opened an advertising agency. After a year I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue my degree in journalism. Graduating in 1992, at the tender age of 49, I returned to Walworth County taking a job as editor of the Bay Times.
After The Beacon’s founder, Dick Wyatt, died in January, 1996, I purchased the paper and set about expanding its distribution and coverage to encompass all of Walworth County. In the past 13 years, it has grown, with the help of my wife, Kathleen, from 3,500 copies a month to as many as 20,000 every other week and from 12 pages to more than 40.
The Beacon is now available at more than 250 locations. In 1999 I began publishing the Good Humour, a monthly satire magazine in newspaper format, which was later consolidated into, and remains an extremely popular feature of, The Beacon.
My interests have always centered on reading, writing and research. Although majoring in journalism, my ambition was to spend my life studying history. I am extremely fortunate in that my present occupation allows me to do all three. My book, “WestWords,” published in 2008, is a compilation of my column.
My wife, Kathleen, serves as The Beacon’s chief financial officer and writes a quilt column. Our son, Mark, who joined The Beacon in 2002 as an advertising representative, is now advertising manager. Our son, Paul, owns Cafe Kopi in Champaign, Ill.
My goal has always been for readers of The Beacon to say, “I didn’t know that; that’s interesting.”