Banking on The Future
At a time when banks are failing, the stock market is in a tailspin, the housing market is dismal and the country’s in a recession, Don Adam, a successful Bryan businessman, is back in the local market with a new bank. Sounds like a story ripped from the headlines, our newscast or our web. But this was 1989. Both the Texas economy and the Bryan-College Station economy were hurting. The country wasn’t that far behind. Don Adam saw opportunity in a failing economy and had faith in the future, so he bought up about a dozen failed banks in the Lone Star State, opened one here and created the headquarters for First American Bank. Amazingly, 20 years later, Don Adam has seized opportunity and opened a branch of his Florida based banks, American Momentum ,here in College Station. Once again Adam is banking on the future. He hasn’t been wrong yet. Anyone want to bet against his outcome?
We’ve all heard the saying those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past( my version, fits better here) I’m sure this quasi quote will have the 20 somethings in my newsroom rolling their eyes. But I sometimes marvel at how what we’re going through now mirrors the latter part of the 80s, both in the economy and the broadcasting industry. I’ll share the past with you through the eyes of a 20 something reporter, anchor, producer, editor. (I'm talking about me).
I hadn’t been at KBTX very long when the bottom of the oil barrel dropped out. I must have been barely 22. Savings and Loans were going belly up, businesses were closing, and unemployment was very high in Texas, even in B/CS! The KBTX-TV General Manager at the time was Ulman McMullen or Mr. Mac as we all called him. Mr. Mac called a station meeting in the News 3 studios. He was fidgety, clearing his throat often, with one hand in his pocket. A sure sign things were not right. Mr. Mac wanted every body to know "we’re in tough times”. He said he, along with Harry Gillam and Buddy Bostic (the owners at the time) were going to do everything they could to keep from letting people go. That statement sent a chill through the group. I was too young (more like naïve) to truly know what that meant. I was a good hard worker. I was cross-trained and could do everything in the newsroom. How could I even be considered as one who might be “let go”. I just didn’t get it. And thankfully, I didn’t get it..the ax that is. I survived that economy to live through another bad one!
So here we are now, 22 years later. Things are a little different, bottom line is the same. The National economy is hurting something awful , Texas is fairing better, the Bryan-College Station economy is still strong. Across the country and Texas, television journalists are being “let go”. Some I hired, some I worked with, others I worked against and one I worked for in the last 20 some odd years. And like the 22 year old of the 1980s, these journalists don’t get it either. Times are tough! I made a decision to move back to Bryan-College Station in 2008. Much like Don Adam (and nothing like him) I’m banking on the future. Mine and that of B/CS. Then and Now