When I first saw News Talk 92.3 FM senior reporter Jim Cross, I thought he looked like a real-life, present-day cowboy. When I first spoke to Jim Cross, I knew I came face-to-face with one of the true local media vets of our great state.
But, when I first started writing this, I was not thinking of him as a cowboy or media vet at all. To me, Jim is first and foremost a friend and, maybe more importantly, a soon-to-be grandpa.
So, Jim, what do YOU want to tell the blogosphere today?
As Alison touched on, I'm a huge fan of all things Western – movies, clothes, guns and collectables. Seeing the Alamo in San Antonio, Tombstone and Billy the Kid Territory in New Mexico are about as good as it gets for me.
As for my grandson, he will be here in four months, and I can't wait to meet him. In fact, I told my daughter to load up on beef and potatoes baby food and that finding him the perfect cowboy boots and a hat will be a challenge...
I have been in Arizona since 1995 when I took a job in Kingman – three days later the Oklahoma City Bombing happened. The story had strong ties to Kingman in that Timothy McVeigh and Michael Fortier had both lived and worked in Kingman at some point.
Before I came to Arizona, I lived in several states including Idaho, Indiana, Washington, Tennessee, Nevada and California. Heck, I even lived in Guam at one time.
I first started in radio in 1980, and for 11 years was a DJ at a rock station in Idaho followed by two more years as a country DJ in Washington. Highlight of the country run was introducing Toby Keith at the University of Idaho. That man is enormous.
I started doing news at KAAA Kingman in 1995, and the adrenalin rush that came with breaking news hooked me for good. I was the first reporter in the world to break the 1997 Amtrak derailment east of Kingman on a Saturday morning during a severe monsoon storm. First time I had my voice on the ABC Radio Network, and this many years later it is still a huge rush to go national and international on stories about Arizona.
News in general is in my blood.
I was always curious about everything, but nothing got into my system more than covering wildfires. And since 2002, I have been on several of the state’s top 10 fires in history including last year’s Wallow Fire, which became the largest ever in recorded history. I was flying in from Dallas at night to cover that fire and saw it from 35,000 feet.
In 2012, I look forward to meeting more of you and seeing the remaining few places in Arizona that I haven't visited yet.