Monday, October 01, 2007


I did the traffic on WTSP this morning. It reminded me of a cold truth about TV news; someone else's tragedy can mean something good for me. Two people died in a crash on I-75 that involved a tractor-trailer and nine other cars. It happened in Sarasota County shortly after midnight and closed the northbound lanes of the Interstate for more than 7 hours.

That meant that in the 5-7 a.m. block of local news when traffic is usually light and I struggle to find things to talk about I had something compelling to talk about.

My performance wasn't brilliant but it didn't involve any more stammering, stumbling or general incoherence than usual so I was happy. I've explained that I rarely fill in so I've had to accept the fact that I'm never going to me totally smooth up there. I was smoother in one aspect, though. My pate. Not needing it for my regular job, I've taken to cutting most of my hair off. I used to let it grow out when I was going to work at the station but this time I didn't. No one ever hired me for my hair anyway but if anyone hires me again, he might have to hire me without it. It's disappearing anyway.

Self-portrait of balding substitute traffic guy

Deborah Norville made a special guest appearance. She's in town hawking a book she's written, here for a charity event and to plug the fact that her show "Inside Edition" now airs on WTSP. She did two interviews during our morning show. One with our morning reporter and the other one with the anchors on the set later. She had an assistant helping her navigate through the day and someone else to do her makeup. She seemed nice and she certainly knew her station relations, making sure to express how glad she was that her program now airs on "Tampa Bay's 10," even correctly using the branding.

I did not introduce myself. I didn't have anything thoughtful to say or to ask so I didn't waste her time or mine. The only reason I would have done it was to say that I had met Deborah Norville and to whom would I want to say it?

Someone found my blog doing an MSN search for "john mcquiston tampa bay's 10." Not being an employee of the station, I don't appear on its web site except for occasional brief mentions by the regular traffic anchor Meredyth Censullo in her station blog. I appear so infrequently that it must puzzle people to see me and I'm not surprised that someone might wonder, "who in the world is this guy?" Sometimes I wonder that myself.

1 comment:

The Hale Family said...

I've been thinking about giving myself a whack job too and this may be the inspiration I need!

It actually looks kinda cool John.

Glad to hear you didn't suck up to Deborah Norville. That just wouldn't be your style and I'm proud of you for resisting the temptation to be starstruck.