My name is Steve Boots. I’m a financial advisor and I’ve lived in Cookeville since 1976 when I came to college.
I started work at WCTE as a student intern in late 1979. The TV station was new and I was intrigued about the possibilities of working in television. Student interns weren’t paid anything - we did it for the experience and in those days, you learned everything, every aspect of the business.
In 1984, Dick Castle paid me back for all of those years of volunteering. I really wanted a career in television and Dick offered me a producer-director job. It’s unusual that your first job in a TV station be as a producer director but Dick took care of me.
At the time, I felt that WCTE was a stepping-stone to a larger station in a larger city but it didn’t take long for it to become more than just a job for me. I recognized the station’s purpose, the passion of the people that worked here and the feelings of the viewers in this area – they felt that this was their station. So I became wrapped up in WCTE and stayed for 14 years.
When a person leaves a job, typically they are done with a place. When I left WCTE, it was like pulling teeth – I gave three months notice before going to work as a financial advisor.
When I was asked to become a member of the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council – the Board of Directors – I was tickled to death. Even after I had left the station, I worked as a volunteer. It wasn’t that I felt I had to be on TV but I was thrilled to be part of the station and involved in a different way.
Every year I’ve continued to help out at the Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree. My family always asks when I’m going to spend the holiday – July 4 - with them. After all, I haven’t been working at the station for a decade. But I really love it! Going to Smithville is like going to a family reunion. The musicians and the dancers participate because they have a passion for it – there’s not a lot of monetary gain.
The Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree is a fun local production and to me, it is the essence of what a local PBS station is all about. It is important to the people of the area.
While there are lots of great local programs, I love PBS as well. I’m kind of a science bug and I enjoy Nova. And if you like drama, there are shows like Masterpiece Theater. I also like the music shows and a lot of the old artists are brought out during pledge drives.
There’s an attitude at WCTE that you never give up – you are always striving to improve. I see the success the station has had working with Todd Jarrell and other talented people. I admire the staff here and admire what they have done. And what a huge accomplishment it is for WCTE to be involved in programs that are winning Emmy awards. That is so impressive! This is the people’s station and it is an important part of life in the Upper Cumberland. Please make sure you take care of it and encourage others to do so too.
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