KANSAS CITY, Mo. — My father was a blacksmith and welder in the little northeast Nebraska farm town where I grew up. He owned and ran his own shop where he usually worked 10-11 hour days and often longer Monday through Saturday and frequently a few hours on Sunday. He helped to keep the economy of that small town and rural area running by fixing farmers’ machinery and by fabricating equipment for them.
He worked hard. His work was demanding both physically and mentally. It didn’t hit me when I was a boy and a teenager (too self-absorbed and defiant, I guess) but I came to realize he was a brilliant man and one to be admired. He had an engineer’s brain for physics, math and problem-solving. He was also well-read and knew a lot about literature, art, culture, politics and news. I hope at least some of his positive traits rubbed off on me (I know his stubbornness certainly did.)
In my 45 years in television news, 38 of them in Kansas City at WDAF-TV, I’ve tried to approach my work in some of the ways my dad approached his. A willingness to work hard and long hours. A commitment to quality. Dedication to doing things right and satisfying the customer. And craftsmanship.
When the 10 p.m. news is over on Tuesday, I will have done my last newscast and reported my last story at WDAF-TV. In all likelihood, I will not do this work again.
We’ve been through a lot together. Some of it has been very good and happy and triumphant. Some of it has been very bad and sad and horribly tragic. And there has been a whole lot in between. Through it all I have cherished four main groups of people who deserve credit for anything I have achieved in my career at the television station and my life in Kansas City.
My family, for their steadfast love and support and their patience and tolerance in giving up so much of me and our time together in order for me to do this job for you.
My dedicated, talented co-workers, past and present, who have joined me in covering the news for you and doing it in such excellent fashion.
The very good people working in community organizations who have allowed me to partner with them on very worthwhile projects and causes to make our city and our world better, safer, stronger and healthier.
And finally, you who have embraced me over these nearly four decades and put your trust and confidence in me to keep you informed. I thank you and I treasure you.
As I depart, I hope, in at least some way, that I have accomplished my goal, that in working hard and long hours, by being committed to quality and dedicated to doing things the right way and satisfying the customer and by being a craftsman that I have achieved success.
That’s a wrap!
Phil received a parting gift from his colleagues Tuesday night. He received a huge box of Lay’s potato chips. His co-anchors know it is his favorite snack, consumed nearly every night. So many fond memories! We miss you already, Phil!