Keith Kountz Celebrates 30 Years at News 8 with a Facebook Q&A

(WTNH) — Our ‘Good Morning Connecticut’ morning news anchor, Keith Kountz, is celebrating 30 years at WTNH News 8. He began his career at the station on September 7, 1987.

Keith has seen a lot of changes through those years at the station and how news broadcasting has evolved. He shared some of his fondest memories of the station with a look through some old photos and answered viewer questions during a Facebook Live Q&A.

Watch the full interview:

On getting into broadcasting…

I grew up on Long Island and used to love to listen to the radio. I listened to News 88, which is still on, and I always wanted to be involved in the media in one way, shape or form. When I was in high school, I wrote for the paper. When I went off to college, my college had a small TV/radio station so I was very active in that and I always wanted to do this. When I got out of school, I was really lucky and got an internship at WNBC in New York and they were great and helped me put together my first resume tape. I sent it to 500 stations and got 499 rejections. One station in Florence, South Carolina took a chance on me so I worked there being the photographer, editor, reporter, doing everything. I went from Florence to Savannah, Georgia. I worked in Savannah for about a year and worked in Syracuse (New York) and then came here. I got into it because I had a passion for it and still do. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. So it’s worked out.

Hardest part of his job…

Dealing with the time aspect of it. There’s something to be said about knowing how to meet deadlines and knowing how to get it done when the clock is ticking down. When you’re on the scene if it’s a breaking news story, what you need to shoot first, when you should get your interviews, when you should shoot your b-roll. If you’re on the desk anchoring and breaking news is happening, how you should categorize things in your mind and all of that comes with experience. Those of us who have been around for a while are really blessed that we were able to gain that knowledge.

Transitioning to being a morning anchor…
My daughters are up and out, doing their own thing so it’s just my wife and myself. I probably go to bed now, truth be told, 7:30pm and wake up about 2am. It’s not that big of a deal. I actually love the morning hours. We’re getting the jump on the world. It was not a tough transition at all. It’s also great to be walking out the door at 12:30pm, especially this time of the year.

Dr. Mel Goldstein was a close friend of Keith’s and Keith shared his favorite memory:

Ironically, one of the memories I have with Dr. Mel is more interesting than anything else. At one point, the doc and I were anchoring on the weekend together. After the early show, we would typically go out to dinner. So one day, we’re coming back from our dinner break and we got in a little fender bender. Neither of us were seriously hurt but it was bad enough where they had to call the ambulances and whatnot. Despite that, he was determined to go back to the station and be there for the 11pm news. That, to me, just typified who he was. He was going to do what he had to do and he showed that spirit when he was battling cancer in his later years. When I think about the doc, I think about that kind of commitment and perseverance.  

Advice for a reporter that is just starting out:

You really have to have a great passion for it. The people who succeed in this business aren’t the ones looking at the clock. They aren’t the ones worried about coming in early or staying late. When they’re asked to work a weekend, they do it without hesitation. This is really a business where you have to bring a good attitude and be “all in” as often as possible, especially when you’re starting out. Then it’s just a question of repetition. Once you learn the skills about being a good reporter, it’s about doing it over and over again to become more efficient. You need to be accurate quickly and handle live shots better that way. I always tell students, that if you’re a broadcasting student at UCONN or Quinnipiac or one of our great colleges, if I gave you 5 hours to put together a story, you can probably do it, but in the real-world in television, you may only have a half-hour. So it takes a lot of practice, that’s why there are smaller stations where you can really learn. Whether you’re on the print side of it, radio, television or the digital side of it, you just have to get in there. It’s like a basketball player, you gotta shoot your 500 shots every day. If you do it enough every day, it’s going to become something you don’t think about every day.

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