COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - People come and go in the television news business, but not everyone learns the ropes and heads to the next best thing.
Meet David Williams: he's Regional Chief Engineer for Raycom Media and a longtime employee of Channel 9.
His first day at WTVM was January 1, 1982. Almost 32 years later, he's still the man to go to when a problem needs fixing.
"So what has this ride been like for you?" we asked him.
"It's been very enjoyable really," replied Williams. "Doing the kind of work that you enjoy doing, helping people, solving problems. It's a very fulfilling job."
During his tenure with WTVM, Williams has been promoted from Chief Engineer to Director of Engineering.
"I'm in charge of our plant and our plant means everything from our building to our transmission tower, transmission facility, all of our cameras, microphones, just the entire operation basically falls under my guidelines," Williams explained.
Eddie Bland is another not so familiar face to the WTVM public. To date, Eddie has been employed with WTVM for 51 and a half years making him the longest working employee at Channel 9.
"It was 51 and a half years ago when I walked into this station," said Bland. "I knew basically nothing about this TV station. I did help with the transmitter, my father was a contractor who built the transmitter in Cussetta, when I walked into the building I felt like I wanted to learn it and want to learn television, it just inspired me to want to learn it and I started as a camera person. First two weeks was not pay. I had to learn it. Learn what was going on. After two weeks a position became available and I was hired and now 51 and a half years later I'm still here."
And it's the job itself Bland says keep him here and keeps him happy.
"Basically I shoot and produce commercials," Bland said. "I used to direct the news. I've worked for the film department; I've been through the whole process. Now I go out on location which gets me out of the building, thank goodness, and I shoot and produce commercials."
And from the unfamiliar to the familiar, this is a face many viewers have come to recognize throughout the years.
Everybody knows when you want sports, scores, and highlights that Dave Platta has been the man to watch for years. Dave walked through the Channel 9 doors 28 years ago and the rest, as we say, is sports history.
"This town grows on you. It really does. Great people. There's all kind of fun things going on. If you work in sports what's better than this?" said Platta. "You got three major colleges, make that four with Georgia Tech as well as Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech. You got Columbus State, Columbus College, when I first got here. Chattachoochee Valley got the baseball programs we've had PGA golf tournaments here, we've had professional sports, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, hockey in Columbus. But it has been extremely successful, great people coming through here."
So with the passing of years comes changes, but one thing you can count on, especially at WTVM are committed, loyal employees who are willing to go the distance to keep this station running smoothly and our viewers well-informed.
"Sixty years with Channel 9 has been a ride. There's been ups and downs but it's been a very enjoyable ride."
"Sixty years on the air, number one in the market. This beats working for a living."
"WTVM Happy Birthday, 60 years and we're looking forward to 60 more."