We thought we would continue on this path to talk about another of the big honorees from the evening on this Media Monday – Mike Schmidt.
I met Mike while during the gala event when he was inducted into the Silver Circle Society, which recognizes individuals who have served in the industry for a minimum
of 25 years, with the majority of it being spent in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Bill Ottinger, also of KTVK, delivered a really wonderful induction speech for Mike, which we are pleased to share below.
Bill – take it away!
Heads you’re in. Tails, you’re out. It was a simple flip of the coin to get into the high school photography class that would eventually lead Tucson native, Mike Schmidt, into television news. It’s a crazy way to start a career, but this is a crazy business.
Mike credits his dad for his first real TV job. It was all because of a chat his father was having with the news director at FOX 10 in Phoenix in 1982. A day later, Mike’s tucked away at a pay phone, loaded with a fistful of quarters, doing an interview from an old grocery store in the small mountain town of Pine, Ariz. Not even a high-country vacation was going to stop Mike from getting his big break in showbiz.
Eventually, Mike made the switch to being a news shooter and moved to KTVK in 1986. He was tabbed to be the guy to help open the station’s Northern Arizona bureau in Flagstaff. For Mike, that was an important assignment he’s still proud of today.
Of all the stories he’s covered and the many talented people he’s worked beside, Mike believes his most lasting and powerful experience behind the camera focused on one young man. Mike was assigned to cover a Special Olympics story. He covered a speed skating teenager with Down’s syndrome. Mike did the interview and got the shots. As he was boxing up his gear, he overhead the boy as he ran to his parents proudly proclaiming, “Hey mom and dad. That’s Mike Schmidt and he’s my new best friend!”
That moment, Mike says, gave definition to why he comes to work every day, and he carries that camera because he loves what he does. It’s that unpredictable nature of breaking news which makes each day different than the rest. It may be a crazy way to make a living but what do you expect from a guy who got his start from the flip of a coin.
Please join the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in welcoming our new best friend and Silver Circle Inductee…Mike Schmidt.