Many know that I spent many years working at KOMO. Almost nine years in fact. That was how long I worked there. I actually grew up there in many ways. My father was an anchor/reporter and anytime I could, mostly weekends, I ended up hanging out with him when he would bring me there. It was during those days and nights that I fell in love with this broadcasting business. It was also made possible because the KOMO newsroom has always had a family atmosphere and my dad was able to bring his son to work with him.
I give you that background because today that KOMO family will need each other. The tragedy that struck at 7:40 AM today has impacted almost everyone in the broadcast business in the city. I did not know the pilot, Gary Fitnzer, but I did know the photojournalist who was also killed, Bill Strothman.
The best words to describe Bill the person were kind and gentle. In a business full of big personalities, egos and type-A personalities Bill Strothman was just different. He was mellow, nice, and easy going. But as a photo journalist, he was a true artist. When KOMO made a big commitment to become one of the top NPPA stations in the country in the late 80’s and early 90’s Bill was one of the guys who embraced the challenge. He was not just good, but a great photojournalist. He was able to tell a story through a lens and a viewfinder. Not everyone who carries a camera has that skill.
Like my family, Bill’s son followed him into the “business.” I never worked with Dan, but his reputation is as stellar as his dad’s. I would guess that KOMO has had more second generation employees than any other station in town. There is a reason for that and it is not the company, but the people inside the building. They embrace each other’s families. Bill was one who would do that and it is because of the person that he was that today is a most difficult day for both past and present KOMO employees.
My thoughts go to Bill’s entire family and his KOMO family as well.