Television station turns spotlight on Morriston

 Tampa Tribune
May 17, 1988
By Betty Stutzman

Morriston had its day in the sun recently when television station WTVJ's crew traveled from their home base in Gainesville to set up cameras on the lawn beside the Morriston-Montebrook Fire Station to present the 6 p.m. news, live.

Mignon Craig, president of the Morriston Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, sent a letter to the station, inviting them to make Morriston a part of their "7 Days in May" project, in which the station broadcasts at a different location each night for seven days in May.  

About 200 Morriston residents turned out for the event to meet their favorite news personalities, who mingled with the audience off camera.

Residents met WTVJ anchorman John Lucas and learned that he originally came from West Virginia and has been broadcasting for three years in Florida cities.  He moved to Gainesville from Tallahassee.

Doris Cowart, the newest member of the crew, recently joined the station and will be a reporter on special assignments.  Cowart is a Florida State University graduate and has been in television from Alaska to Florida.  She came to WTVJ from Tampa.

Fred Rixie, WTVJ's weatherman, is a graduate of Minnesota University.   Even though he moved to Gainesville 1 1/2 years ago from Texas, he still finds the summers a little warm for him.

John Evans, sports director for the station, is a former Pennsylvania resident.  He has been on WTVJ's team for two years and is enthusiastic about on-location broadcasts.

"I like getting out to meet the people," he said.  "It gives us a chance to hear their views on the sports picture and broadens our understanding of the sports around our various area."

Three camera operators were recording the show, with several technicians working behind the scene.

Steve Hunsicker, news director, pulled everything together, working calmly and quickly with headphones and a bold-faced type scrip in hand.  With his eyes glued to the computer-like portable console, he watched three mini-screens, each presenting one of the three cameras, and checked a fourth mini-screen for the final view of what ends up in your home.

As the discarded parts of script fell to the ground, the show unfolded and Hunsicker "wrapped it up" while in communication with Gainesville to make sure they were receiving it all for transmission.  

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