Yes, that’s exactly what Kara Sundlun said. During last week’s Capital Catwalk, Kara introduced ESPN anchor and Catwalk model Steve Bunin by saying “we both used to work at the same TV station in Battle Creek, Michigan.” People in the audience at the Hartford Stage might have been saying “huh?”
The world of television news is a small one, an industry more like three degrees of separation than six. Both Kara and Steve worked at different times at the now defunct news operation at WOTV, the ABC station in Battle Creek. Many people have heard of this city because of its big employer there: Kellogg’s. Post Cereals was also founded there, which led to Battle Creek’s nickname, “Cereal City.”
Every reporter who does a story at Kellogg’s usually gets this perk: a personalized box of Corn Flakes. This box sits on a shelf in our family room, still filled with hermetically sealed cereal from the 1990s. At least I know I’ll never go hungry if I’m ever too lazy to get off the couch.
Battle Creek is part of the Grand Rapids Kalamazoo television market, where yours truly toiled for the Channel 3 there before I joined this Channel 3. Even though Kara worked in that market too, we didn’t meet until she was hired at WFSB. I covered my fair share of Battle Creek stories, including the murder of a news anchor (more on that another time) and lighter assignments like the annual Battle Creek Balloon Festival featuring a hot air Tony the Tiger.
Another hard-hitting assignment was the annual “world’s biggest breakfast table,” that snakes through downtown Battle Creek.
The year I covered the event one of my college roommates, Bill Doyle, was in town, and I dragged him along first thing in the morning and he sat next to me as I covered the story. At least he got a free breakfast out of the deal and he may even have hooked up with Miss Cereal City.
When I left the Great Lakes State, I was replaced by a guy named Brendan Keefe, who later replaced me on the morning news at WFSB, and curiously, also followed me at WREX in Rockford, Illinois. Can you say stalker?
Channel 3′s Robert Goulston also came out of the Grand Rapids market. See what I mean? The television news business is pretty small. By the way, Brendan is now an anchor in Cincinnati and still one of the best in the biz.