Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. It's pretty typical of small-town America, with just a few thousand residents. No movie theatre. No fast-food. Everyone knows everyone else, their business, and their kids. I graduated high school with about 60 others in the largest graduating class in the school's history.
Your first car?
My first car was pathetic. At 14 and a half (yes, that's legal driving age in Mississippi) I bought a Ford Pinto. It was a gem. One of those super-hip station wagon models. Orange. With that great brown plastic sticker that looked like paneling. A very used 1974, I believe, for which I paid about $400. It didn't last long. It, and much of my brother Benton's face, were wiped out when another driver ran a red light. Benton recovered nicely, eventually. The car didn't.
Who makes better sweets, Jane or your Mom?
That's an unfair question, so I gotta find some balance here!
Mom is an awesome cook. Except during cotton season when she and Dad worked late into the night, Mom made dinner (supper, as we called it) for the family most nights. Sweets usually came in a bag. But for holidays, birthdays, any special occasion really, she went all-out. My favorite was (and is) this Italian cream cheese cake that made all the men in the family bow to her. It's rich and awful for you, I'm sure, but the greatest thing you'll ever taste. Between that and her pecan pies Mom kept us all begging for more.
Mom baked for the love of us not for the love of baking. Jane, on the other hand, treats it as a hobby. She actually likes to slave away in a hot kitchen; all of us in Studio B are thankful.
Jane is a chocaholic. Her cookies and brownies are the best I've ever tasted. If she ever gets bored with the news game I guarantee you she could put Little Debbie out of business!
Favorite movie of all time?
The Godfather. My co-workers on The Fox Report, and especially the brain of the G-Block, will tell you that I have awful taste in movies and should not be allowed to comment on something about which I know so little.
Is there one story you've covered that stands out in your mind?
Not one story but one kind of story. I enjoy reporting on triumph over tragedy. From Columbine to 9/11 and Oklahoma City, the strength, courage and unity of people blindsided by hate and tragedy is ever inspiring. I remember standing at our worksite in OKC 10 days or so after the attack at a moment when the gravity of it all left me pretty down and out. That much grief and pain is difficult to absorb. There had been a steady stream of families coming to the site with flowers for the victims and cookies for the rescue workers. One family caught me in a very low moment and shared some love. I was working for a local station out of Florida so these people had no idea who I was. They knew everyone was hurting and wanted to help someone in need. Anyone. That's the living spirit of this nation. When times are tough we come together.
What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I don't own a car. I haven't had one for 6 years. I take the subway to work. I love mass transportation.
What's the deal with you and the weather?
I've always been fascinated by weather. I've covered 13 or so hurricanes for five different employers. I'm a weather geek. A "Weatherman Wanna-B" as the Studio B crowd labels me. Name another natural event that we know is coming well in advance but have no idea how strong it will be or exactly when it will hit until the final hours, if then. With all our sophistication and science we still can barely predict them much less control them. That makes for interesting television.
Who's had the greatest influence on your life?
I'm grateful to have passed so many amazing people along life's road. My family gave me a base from which to build a life and tried their best to teach me right from wrong. They're still trying. I can't name a single greatest influence. I can only be thankful for the dozen or so people who, by example, have made me a better, easier to tolerate guy. We're products of our environments. I'm trying not to pollute.