Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be one of only four reporters chosen to question The President of the United States at a gathering of hundreds of journalists, or fly in both Air Force and Navy fighter jets, or fly to South Korea in pursuit of a story. But, in my years at ABC7, I've been able to do all those things and much more.
I grew up in the Midwest, with dreams of becoming an engineer and pilot. But, I got my first taste of broadcasting in high school at our ten watt radio station and from then on I was hooked. In college I worked at two different radio stations doing everything from turning on the transmitter Sunday mornings, to spinning records, writing news and even reading the obituaries on air. That latter job may sound macabre, but the switchboard would light up if we didn't do them, or if we mispronounced a name. After college, I got a job writing radio news at the princely sum of $4.50 per hour. It was a great experience. I learned how to write breaking news and long form stories that looked into the deeper issues of crime and poverty, and sports versus education. I worked with some of the best broadcasters in the business and picked their brains for every bit of information about our industry. Fortunately, they were more than willing to help and I can't thank them enough.
In 1989 I took my first TV job in St. Louis working midnight to 6 a.m., doing 30 second live news cut-ins at the top of every hour. It wasn't glamorous, but it got my foot in the door. After six months of volunteering to go out on every story, and do every interview, and generally making a pest of myself, I was hired full-time; undoubtedly just to shut me up.
In 1994, I joined ABC7, and it has been a dream come true. My family simply loves the Bay Area and I love working with the professionals that make ABC7, one of America's best sources of news and information; and believe me only professionals should see each other without make-up at 3:30 in the morning. That's when we arrive to prepare for the ABC7 Morning News. The newscast is as fresh and fun now as it was when I joined the program in 1996.
BTW, when I'm not on the air I'm probably buried in some history book or out throwing a football around with my kids.
Eric Thomas is the co-anchor of the ABC7 Morning News. See him weekdays at 4:30 A.M. He also reports on aviation and the military.