THOSE WERE THE DAYS: AETN's Steve Barnes in 1974.
Looking back can be painful, sometimes. Do you ever cringe at the sight of old photos of yourself, wondering why you combed your hair a certain way or what in God's name made you think neon Hammer pants were the right look for you at one point in your life?
We've all been there. Everybody's made the questionable fashion choice, taken the occasional bad photo. Now imagine if you were a television reporter and not only did those glimpses of your past turn up in dusty photo albums, but were documented on video tape — live, vivid, moving video tape that someone was now sifting through and posting to the world's most ubiquitous social network.
Dave Grim would be your nightmare.
Grim started the Arkansas Television Archives Facebook page; a repository of television news packages from years past, grainy photos of now-retired news hounds, old promotional clips and the occasional blooper.
Grim is a radio man who worked at stations in Arkadelphia before starting the first online sports radio station in Arkansas, NEARSports.com, in 2005. Since then he has done sports television work and provides color commentary for the occasional Internet radio broadcast on YourPrimeTimeSports.com.
"I grew up in this market watching those television stations throughout the period of time that's represented on the Facebook page: the '70s, '80s and '90s," Grim says. "This is something that no one else is doing. All the people that are on TV in Little Rock go their separate ways and I just thought, 'Let's bring this stuff back. We can get them to show up and tell us where they are now.' A lot of them are still around. A lot are gone. Some of them are even dead."
Doug Krile worked for KARK, Ch. 4, from 1986 to 1997 before moving over to Equity Broadcasting. He's now the executive director of the Arkansas Broadcaster's Association. He follows Grim's Facebook page and has turned up in a couple of clips.
"I enjoy the fact that I'll see comments from people that I've known and worked with and it's good to see them enjoy it too," Krile says. "We've all got old pictures. I've got some old ones of when I was starting out and had hair practically down to my shoulders. Some times you like to go back and remember those things. And it's fun to laugh at yourself."
The television news business is a small one. Reporters and anchors, photographers and producers come and go, taking jobs in other markets across the country. The site has become more than just a collection of clips.
"Oh, everybody and their cousin that has been in the business — not just in Central Arkansas, but Northwest Arkansas, South Arkansas, the Louisiana markets — it's bringing them from all different directions whether they work here now or worked here back when. They're all signing up to talk about these old videos, share old pictures and talk with each other. It's been like a reunion online."
Grim has culled old videos from YouTube and his personal collection. He's also open to submissions. He gets excited at the thought of going through old commercials.
"If there are folks out there that recorded stuff when VCRs first came out, and they didn't fast forward through the commercials, send it to me! I would love to go through that stuff," he says.
(If you've got anything along those lines, contact Grim at firstname.lastname@example.org).
What started out as a simple Facebook page could turn into something bigger. Grim says he'd like to continue collecting videos and other artifacts and, one day, help start an Arkansas Broadcasting Museum.
According to Krile, the broadcaster's association has already talked about starting something similar. Arkansas State University also has plans in the works.
"ASU has space available and they were already working on some kind of exhibit to honor rockabilly and the other genres of music that came out of the Delta and were a big part of the history of music in Arkansas," Krile says. "That idea kind of grew into the idea of a broadcast museum."
Nothing concrete has been planned yet. In the meantime, Grim plans to continue uploading videos and creating a community online.
"There's a bunch of people on there that I grew up watching and now I'm talking to them through this," he says. "It's great."