I recall our first participation in the annual Rochester parade. Rita came up with two spectacular ideas. The first was to rent costumes of the Simpsons characters. (I think her children actually wore them during the parade.) The costumes were a huge hit and since the Simpsons were FOX's breakout hit, the effort really resonated with the kids along the parade route.
Rita's second terrific idea (among many) was to purchase small plastic footballs with KXLT's and the NFL/Vikings logos on them. All along the parade route, our entire staff took handfuls of the balls and tossed them into the crowd. The crowd would go crazy trying to get their hands on them and again, it allowed KXLT to make an immediate impression within the community.
The premier party:
Rita also planned the party of the decade for our Grand Opening. Another FOX hit was That 70's Show. Wilmar Valdarama was one of the key characters and he came to the opening to celebrate with us. It was a spectacular party but the most memorable moment came at the end after everyone had gone. The staff and a few key friends gathered in the studio to toast to a hugely successful night. I remember the feeling as I puffed on a good cigar. We were on our
Again, this initial group of key staff was some of the most influential people I will ever meet or work with. Great, GREAT folks! Committed to quality, ethics, customer service, the community and to each other. Other wonderful people were to follow. Dennis Grant would manage our first news effort a little over a year after first signing on. What a marvelous news mind this young mind had and he fit right into our group. Phil Tillotson from Parkervision sold us the newsroom system and the character of the man is central to the continuation of our friendship today. And there were numerous local business people who provided help and support along the way. I would be remiss if I didn't point out Jerry Watson. Although our direct competitor, Jerry generously offered his friendship and advice without reservation and for
that I am eternally grateful.
I will never forget this experience. It was the perfect storm of opportunity meeting a group of individuals who only wanted to show what they could do given the chance. Were there bad days and mistakes? Of course...but we never let it get us down for long.