In an effort to crack-up laughing our very serious “Ted Baxter type” newscaster, Mark Rogers at KVIP Radio and Television, we had to go to extreme measures. The man was very good at delivery and composure.
In the early 60s, Mark did 15-minute newscasts three times a day on both radio and television. He came to Carl McConnell and George Fleharty’s Shasta Broadcasting Co., KVIP TV and radio, with impressive jobs in the past, including a stint with The Mutual Network. He later owned KSDA, which became KQMS, and managed KPON in Anderson, which went south when he programmed classical music.
Mark can be seen in the U.S. Forest Service DVD “Whiskeytown,” which depicts the dedication of the dam and the lake by President John F. Kennedy. He can be seen dodging and weaving and wondering where Kennedy was while staying out of the way of Secret Service trying to protect the president.
Mark used to come into my radio booth every day to deliver the noon local news and was always serious about his delivery.
My playful program director, Gary Daily, thought it very funny to set his news copy on fire to make Mark laugh. When that didn’t work, he then took the newscaster’s shoes and socks off while he read his smoldering copy. Not a grin or a chuckle did Mark make, he just kept reading straight ahead.
Another fellow disc jockey, whom I worked with at KVIP, Fritz Egger, was not as lucky at preventing laughter while reading a serious newscast for a live newscast for a Nevada station in Las Vegas.
The station was inside a casino in a glass cage. Early one morning, before the gamblers arrived, he was doing a serious newscast when a just-coming-on-shift cocktail waitress came to his window and lifted her dress to reveal she had nothing on underneath.
Fritz told me he lost it laughing and had to go to commercials while he composed himself.
Budd Hodges is a retired disc jockey, newsman, talk show host and lives with his wife, Nancy, in Redding.