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The Mentor, The Man, Alan Beck

My Mentor Alan Beck

Sponsored by CrisDental

I gave away all my dress shirts so on our visit to Oregon we stopped by “The Rack” to pick one up.

I saw a woman with a walker and realized it was Ginger Beck, my former News Director, Alan Becks, wife.

I had to tell her who I am, I look a lot different than when I was on the news back in 2008.

Her husband Alan was the best News Director I’ve ever worked for.

I was actually involved in the interview process (that never happened again) and of all the candidates I knew he was the right guy.

Alan had lots of experience in big markets but also in theater and visual performance.

He was lighthearted, fun and understood how to tell a story.

I remember going to a party where they introduced Alan for the first time.

He gave me a big hug and kissed me on the cheek.

At the time I thought its as odd but now on this side of all of it I realized Alan was one of the most “free people” I have ever know.

He didn’t care what people thought of him.

He was excited to work with me and he sealed the deal with a peck on the cheek.

What he cared about was being accurate, allowing a story to breathe and being as creative and daring as one could be in the bland world of television news.

One time Alan came into the studio while we were doing the news.

I read a silly story that was funny and he laughed out loud so everyone on set and at home could hear him.

We went to a break and he said “It was funny, I had to laugh.”

Alan taught me many things but mainly not to take life to seriously but instead take a risk, respond to life as a human not a news robot and for gods sake have fun.

He was a very liberal guy but he did’t let that get in the way of accuracy.

I remember one day he made a mandate to the newsroom that when it came to the abortion issue we would no longer call it Pro Choice and Pro Life. He said the issue was not choice or life (those are terms public relations folks came up with to sound better)  it was about abortion so we were to call supports Pro Abortion and those against, Anti Abortion.

I remember those who supported abortion in the newsroom were thrown off and hated it.

I think Alan supported abortion.

For him it wasn’t about that it was about calling it what it was, not what supporters and opponents wanted us to call it.

Back to the story….

I walked up to Alan in the parking lot of the Rack and said “Hello”.

At first he didn’t recognize me.

Then I said “Hi Alan”

Instantly he said my name “Rick?”

I told him what I just told you.

I want him to know how much he taught me about taking chances and I’m still doing it.

I wanted him to know I love him and he freed me from so much of my bullshit.

He had a tear drop slip from his eye.

We hugged and I squeezed him really hard.

I wanted to kiss him on the cheek, maybe next time.

Thank You Alan Beck for showing me life is supposed to be fun.

That people want real and anything else will come up smelling like shit.

One time a young woman who experiences Downs syndrome called me on the phone and asked to be live on my show called the Water Cooler.

She wanted to tell the world what it feels like to be ignored and overlooked.

I went to Alan to ask.

He said “Rick, it will either blow up in your face or be magic, you choose.”

We did the interview and the magic began.

Amelia Abel and I are still friends today.

And I take chances on interviews that make me uncomfortable all the time.

You don’t get a lot of Alan Becks in your life.

When you do, don’t fight it, listen.

And then one day when you find your Alan Beck hidden behind the face of an older man, tell him what he did.

Remind him that he matters.

And for Gods sake kiss him on the cheek.

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