Behind the Scenes @ FOX19 News - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

November 19, 2007

Behind the Scenes @ FOX19 News

Steven Ackermann, News Director Steven Ackermann, News Director

Friday combined the best and worst for us.  No one likes giving out sad news first thing in the morning, but that was our job Friday.  At the same time, Joe Nuxhall's story is such a celebration of the good things about professional sports heroes--in fact a celebration of the good things about all heroes.

Every time Joe went into the hospital, we started the conversation about how we would handle the sad news.   The preparation may have made things easier behind the scenes, but it really was no easier than making a sad telephone call about a beloved family member.  Rob and Sheila just had to do it again and again.  Sheila explains it best.   

People ask me all the time if I ever get upset or emotional about the stories we cover.  My co-workers and I wouldn't be human if we didn't, and that was never more true than it was Friday, when we heard the news about Joe Nuxhall's passing.

I didn't grow up in Cincinnati, but Sidney, Ohio is Reds country, and the voices of Joe Nuxhall and Marty Brennaman are part of the fabric of my life.  When I was in middle school, I received Reds tickets for making the honor roll, and I can remember the ride down to the "big city," listening to the pre-game with Joe and Marty on the radio.

It's been such a thrill for me to get to know Joe and Marty a little bit since I started working here at FOX19.  The first time I met Joe, it was right after we had learned he would no longer be calling games for the Reds full-time.  I was scheduled to interview Joe, and I was so nervous!  But Joe was so down to earth and so kind, within minutes he made me feel as if we'd known each other for years, and the interview was more like a conversation with an old friend. 

I had the thrill of interviewing Joe a few more times after that.  I was always struck by how special Opening Day was for him.  He'd been part of so many of them, but no fan was ever more excited than Joe by the prospect of a fresh new start for his team.

We all knew Joe's health was in jeopardy, but that didn't make his passing any less of a shock.  The sadness was tangible in our newsroom on Friday morning as we were forced to pass along the bad news that we had lost Joe.

Like so many in Cincinnati, I don't think I'll ever listen to another Reds game on the radio without thinking of Joe Nuxhall.  I feel honored to have met the man.  While Joe gave so much to his family, his community, and his fans, he gave me something very simple, but so very special, some memories.  Thanks, Joe.

As we were putting together Friday night's special coverage, someone asked if any of us remembered a story quite like this one. 

Brian Giesenschlag and I were both working in Dallas when legendary Cowboy coach Tom Landry died.  That was a big deal, but somehow this seems bigger.  I say that as someone who did not grow up listening to Joe on the radio. 

Two things come to mind. 

Joe Nuxhall did it twice.  One generation grew up watching Joe on the field; a second generation grew up listeing to Joe on the radio.

                                                                   

Brian made the other, and maybe more important, point.  So many people really knew Joe. There are not many heroes who regularly went for breakfast at a neighborhood Bob Evans or cheerfully threw out first pitches at local sandlots.                                    

Sheila's 2004 interview, Brian's Friday night special and a collection of other stories are all on this special page at FOX19.COM.

What's in a name, part two. . .

One of our regular readers sent me a note after last week's newsletter.  Teaching simultaneously at Miami University and UC, she assigned the students a paper comparing two universities.  Knowing of her teacher's commute, one enterprising student--maybe hoping for a little extra credit--decided to compare Miami University with UC.  The paper began,   "Miami University is a college in Coral Gables, Florida. . ."  Perhaps more stunning was that the student just assumed her intrepid professor was able to make the Ohio-Florida commute without delay every week!

Traveling?

If you are leaving town this week, have a safe trip.  I always admired people who subject themselves to the airline system over this particular holiday.   Over the weekend, one of the so-called travel experts came up with a new one:  Go the airport prepared for a camping trip!  That's pretty good advice until you remember that you can't take your water past security.

Personally, we prefer to stick to the highway at least until I heard Christie talking about snow on Thursday

She and Frank are keeping an eye on things on FOX19 News and on FOX19.COM.

Cool Schools:

This is just like the Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going.  Dan Carroll takes us to Little Flower School this morning; Winton Hills Academy on Wednesday and Goodridge Elementary on Thursday.  We're taking Friday off, but we're back Monday at Elder High School.  If you missed your school, just click here to see all of the Cool School stories.

And, I have a Cool School secret that I'll share with you next week.

A simple click here will get you into my email. Until next week, Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for reading.

Steve

 

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