Larry McDonald. Entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, fun loving, and a good friend of WCTE-TV. Larry began his long affiliation with the station in the 1990’s when his daughter, Cara, then operator of Travel Management, Inc. agreed to fund the air fare for the handlers for the “Sesame Street” characters at Stations of Imagination. Larry became interested in WCTE and from that time forward was not only a good supporter of the staff, but also helped in any way he could.
Larry became involved in pledge drives spending time in the studio asking people to support WCTE for what he thought and still thinks is a very worthy cause.
He fondly remembers Cara’s son, Cameron, who is now 14, coming down to the studio on a Sunday morning to help get members for the “Kids Club.”
Larry then became involved with the “Great TV Auction” doing everything from co-hosting to giving out express bid numbers, answering the phones and more.
“The Auction”, Larry said, “ is a fun place to be. Not only are you helping public television, but you also get to meet a number of people and have a good time.”
Larry always has a good time at the auction, and he is not adverse to being involved in various pranks. Because the various packets with the folders for merchandise going up for bid, arrive at the Drama Center with rubber bands wrapped around them to keep the different boards together, Larry and his cohort, Peter Metts, decided they could have a good time shooting the rubber bands at different people. Another time Larry decided to bring some water pistols to the auction. When he started shooting the pistols, the floor director reminded him that there were microphone cords, camera cables, light cords and more around the floor, and electricity and water didn’t mix. Larry quickly put the guns away!
In addition to helping out with the auction, Larry also made generous donations from Lucky B Manufacturing and Travel Management.
In the late 1990’s, Larry became a member of the WCTE Board of Directors. He served as a member for eight years and as Chairman for six. Larry and his wife Janice are also members of the WCTE Director’s Club.
When the staff of WCTE-TV decided to produce a High School Basketball Game of the Week, Larry was enlisted to help David Dow, Jr. with the color commentary. Larry fondly remembers doing the games ….the trips to various schools, the fun times traveling around the Upper Cumberland and watching various high school athletes succeed.
Larry and his family first moved to Cookeville in 1982 when he acquired Lucky B Manufacturing. He has been married to his wife Janice for 41 years and they have a daughter Cara, who is the mother of Cameron and Colin, and a son, Brandon. Both Cara and Brandon are school teachers.
Larry has been involved with other causes in the Cookeville region, One of his most significant contributions was helping when the YMCA built a new building. Larry was on the Board of Directors of the YMCA at that time and was instrumental in helping get funding and supporters together.
Larry has always been interested in programs that help children. That is why he loves WCTE- TV.
“The programs on public television,” he said, “are outstanding. It is programming the entire family can watch and as parents and grandparents, you don’t have to be afraid that the children are going to see something they shouldn’t see.”
“I think WCTE-TV, “ he continued, “is one of the best assets this community has to offer and has been a true treasure of the Upper Cumberland region for 30 years. There are very few places as small as Cookeville that have their own public television station, and the local programs they produce have been great for both the region and community.”
Larry now serves as Director Emeritus on the Board, is semi retired professionally, and enjoys traveling with his wife and family. Last year, he missed his co-hosting job at the auction, but never fear… this year he will be back! Don’t miss Larry at the “Great TV Auction” and take a page from his book, help WCTE-TV with the digital transition project. He is totally convinced that “Public Television is alive and well in Cookeville, as WCTE begins the next 30 years of service to the community!”
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