When I was a kid growing up in Cleveland, during the evening hours when I went to bed, I would often take a radio with me. Attached to the radio was a long wire which wound its way to the attic of our house in the city. The wire was attached to a metal pole upstairs. It was an antenna which enabled me to bring in the signals of distant stations.
I heard the baritone voices of announcers as far away as St. Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and New York City. As well, I heard radio announcers in Cleveland. Even more, I saw and heard the news anchors on Cleveland television stations. It was here, I was bitten by the broadcasting bug. I wanted to be a part of the broadcasting industry.
One of my school teachers, Robert C. Taylor, my 6th grade teacher at Miles Standish Elementary School (now renamed Michael R. White School) saw a talent in me. Words. Writing. After I had written our 6th grade graduation play which was presented to parents and others graduation day, Mr. Taylor told me one word. "Journalism," he said. He suggested I think of a career as a journalist. From that precise moment that June day in the gymnasium of the school, I knew what I wanted.
All my efforts in school in Cleveland after that and my curriculum in college were aimed toward journalism.
It has been a wonderful career for me working in this profession of television journalism in Bowling Green, Toledo, Columbus, and two television stations in Cleveland. It is difficult to leave it because I love it so. And yet, there is only so much time allotted to my life and it is time to enjoy it away from the daily work. I have mixed emotions. But at the same time, I believe God will point me in the direction I must take in the time allotted to me. Perhaps it will be television. At any rate, I look toward the future.
But at the same time, I look back and give thanks for whatever it was which led me the little radio I played in my childhood. I am thankful for the voices and images of announcers and news anchors which came through the night air of America. They were voices traveling at the speed of light -- 186,000 miles a second. I leaned my ear close to those voices on radio and looked closely as the images painted on our black-and-white television set and found inspiration in all that I saw and heard.
In many ways, I am still that kid in Cleveland, listening and watching. I still hear the voices which inspired me. I still play in my memory the images I saw years ago. All of that is part of my foundation. And so are all of you who elected to tune me in for all my years in television. I knew that you were there and I knew you were counting on this news anchorman to be truthful and forthcoming in his approach. And perhaps humorous at the right times.
I will never forget what we had.
------ Leon Bibb