Monday, June 22, 2009

The Ironman of TV - Ron Steele

There's really only one ironman in my book.

His name is Ron Steele.

Many of you know him for his on-air work at KWWL-TV in Waterloo, Iowa. He's been working at Channel 7 for longer than most of his co-workers have been alive.

Ron has been in the main anchor chair since the 1980's and before that, he was in the sports chair. I grew up watching him deliver the news. My parents still watch him deliver the news.

I had many tours through KWWL and each time I learned a lot from the man of Steele. I also got to learn a lot more about him from his former co-workers and boss, Liz Mathis and Grant Price. Liz would tell the story of how Ron reads down the middle of the tele-prompter. Not all the words around it, just down the middle, often re-writing his copy on-air after re-writing the copy 3 times before he went on-air.

Grant thought the world of Ron and the feeling was mutual.

But the stories that stuck with me were ones of dedication to the product. He would tell the newscast producer to have his suit coat and scripts along with his earpiece on his chair, on the set.

He was usually saying this as he was running out the door to go shoot some fire or robbery or hostage situation in Waterloo. Did I mention it was often after 9:30 PM, just 30 minutes before he was to say, "Good evening, I'm Ron Steele?"

Ron often will shoot his own stories. He'll take a camera and go on some trip in the viewing area and shoot his own video. He's the main anchor at the TV station that has reporters to do that. But, he still does it.

He did it again this weekend.

Storms were rolling to and through the viewing area. It was a Sunday night and Ron was ready to go. Twitter was a blaze about storms firing up and how @ronsteele7 was on the case.

Then there's this video. It is Ron, in the field, doing a live report, from the scene of storm damage. Eric Hanson is a former co-worker of Ron's and said Ron probably set that live shot up with the lights, camera and live truck all by himself, and then taught some neighbor to pan the camera during his live shot.

I don't doubt that's far from the truth.

He's not an anchor who's afraid to get his hair wet, hands dirty and chase a few storms now and then.

We all can learn more from the man of Steele.

What are your favorite Ron Steele stories?

1 comment:

  1. My dad was a pastor at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Hudson, IA during the first 9 years of my life. When I turned six, the congregation built a new church building in a corn field that was, essentially, the Steele family backyard. In the summertime I would ride my bike to church to see my dad. Often times, I'd see a (shirtless) Ron waxing the boat, mowing the lawn, or doing some landscaping. He'd always look up and say "hi" as I rode by. As a little boy, that meant a lot to me...not only because he was a "celebrity", but because I was always afraid that he would dislike me for writing a love note to his daughter in 1st grade.

    We were a Channel 7 household growing up. I still enjoy watching Ron give the news when I visit my parents. It's fun to follow him on Twitter - giving people a more personal side of his life than the average news personality would. He's willing to show vulnerability...but he's always in control.

    You stay classy, Ron Steele!