An era will end Wednesday morning here in Macon. It’ll be the first day for the news operations of one of my former employers, The Macon Telegraph, in their new home in the Mercer Village.
After some 51 years, they’ll anchor news operations out of somewhere besides the venerable offices on the edge of downtown Macon at 120 Broadway.
I can’t blame any current Telegraph staffers for being excited. I was very fortunate that when I started at the Red & Black at UGA, I started in its first semester in its brand new building atop Baxter Hill (I still miss that balcony view looking toward campus and downtown before lofts were built to obstruct the view).
So, anyway, since I am feeling all nostalgic, I figured, why not pull out top memories from my time at The Telegraph?
So, in no exact order…
With both grandparents living in Macon, I usually pored over The Telegraph’s sports section when I visited them. I still have memories of the likes of Harley Bowers’ columns and wall-to-wall coverage of the Braves, Dawgs, Tech and others in an era before profit loss cut back the size of a product.
– Surprise appearance
In 2000, while still at Valdosta State, I spent the Friday night after Thanksgiving covering one of the smaller Valdosta area teams in the state playoffs – the game ended up being over at Thompson Stadium in Macon. After the game, needing a place to type my story turned into using The Telegraph offices and before I left, someone asking if they could run my story in the next morning’s paper since they couldn’t cover the game I was at. That person, Rick Nolte, would offer me a job six years later.
– The House of Pain
Although my primary job was page layout, I on occasion was slotted for game coverage. One of those came in the state football quarterfinals in Washington County, nicknamed the House of Pain. Being able to cover a game there was on my high school sports bucket list.
When I arrived in Macon in 2006, there was an opening to provide limited auto racing coverage. Now if you know me, you know that’s something I am passionate about. It amounted to me covering races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and one round of the NASCAR Media Tour and Speedweeks. That February was quite memorable – I got to cover the entry of Toyota into NASCAR, experienced the circus of the media tour first-hand and got to cover the Daytona 500.
As time went by I took on local racing coverage as well. I have no doubt that that experience is a big reason that I currently work full-time in racing and remain thankful for The Telegraph giving me an opportunity to write about motorsports.
– ‘And then I became a columnist..’
Someone had the idea one day that since I knew so much about racing, why don’t I write a weekly column on racing? From there, it was quite an adventure. While some columns were mundane, few had the reaction from readers than one surrounding the All-Star Race and the then-driver of the No. 9 car who now drivers for Hendrick Motorsports. Let’s just say that if you were a Kasey Kahne fan then, you probably were not sending me any flowers.
– Newsroom nights
So what happens when you have a Clemson fan, Georgia fan, Tech fan and a few others mixed in working late nights with sports on TV? To put it mildly, some fun and memorable conversations, playful jabs, trips to Little Caesars, arguments over who has better fried chicken and so much more.
For so many who have passed through 120 Broadway through the years, there are many memories. Here’s to many more within the Mercer Village!