If Bruce Lindsay had gotten that internship at KUTV back in 1974, maybe he wouldn’t be retiring from KSL right now.
The longtime KSL anchorman was behind the desk at Channel 5 for the last time on Wednesday, wrapping up a career that stretches back to 1974.
Back then, he thought he might begin working at the rival station after one of his Brigham Young University instructors “assured me that I would have the inside track for a summer internship at KUTV.” But his interview at Channel 2 didn’t go well. “But it was a good warm-up because I was all ready to go guns blazing for the interview at KSL,” he said.
Apparently, he must have wowed them at Channel 5. “They actually made me a special offer,” Lindsay said. “In lieu of being an unpaid intern, I got the majestic sum of $2 an hour.”
Lindsay, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in Salt Lake City, spent 36 of the past 38 years at KSL, where he has anchored the news for the past 34 years — a run matched by only a few of his counterparts. “And they’re dropping like flies right now,” Lindsay said with a laugh. “People of my vintage, they’re just heading for the exits.”
It’s a run that will be tough to replicate. “It’s unlikely we’ll see that in the future,” said Al Tompkins, the Poynter Institute’s senior faculty member for broadcasting and online. “We are losing an awful lot of the experience that we have in newsrooms to buyouts, retirements. When we lose people with large amounts of experience, we lose the institutional knowledge that goes with them. And that should concern us all.”
Lindsay, however, looks at his departure as just a natural progression. “My segment of the baby boom generation, for the whole time that I’ve been in broadcasting, has been over-represented in the ranks,” he said. “Our coming-of-age coincided with broadcasting moving from a loss-leader and a public-interest necessity to a profit center. So a lot of us got sucked into that and we’ve stayed there. We’ve been the pig in the python and the roadblock to a lot of people, too.”
At KSL, Lindsay will be succeeded by Dave McCann, best known locally as the play-by-play announcer for Cougar football and basketball on BYUtv.
“We’re not really looking to replace Bruce,” said Tanya Vea, KSL’s vice president of news. “He’s an institution in Utah news. There’s something about him that people just naturally like and trust.”
While some believe that Lindsay spent almost 30 years waiting for Dick Nourse’s 2007 retirement, they forget the two co-anchored the flagship 10 p.m. newscast from 1978-86. But the strain on his wife and six growing children had him “on the verge of going somewhere else where I could ply my trade in the early afternoon” when he and then-KSL anchorwoman Shelley Thomas swapped time slots.
“It worked better for both of our families,” he said, “although it was arguably a step down for me, in terms of the size of the broadcast.”
Lindsay, who got an MBA at the University of Utah while he was anchoring the news at KSL, figured he’d move on to some sort of corporate communications. Instead, he’s headed to Perth, Australia, to serve as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The impending move Down Under has kept him from indulging in too much nostalgia.
“I’ll miss some wonderful people,” he said. “You know the stereotypes — the pompous people who don’t get along so they fake it on camera. But the people that I’ve been paired with, I have the greatest respect for them and I’ve had the warmest, collegial kinds of experiences.”
The broadcast times of Bruce Lindsay
Lindsay began his KSL career in 1974 as an intern and then moved into a full-time reporting job. After a two-year stint at KABC in Los Angeles from 1976 to 1978, when he returned to KSL, where he worked until his retirement on Wednesday.