Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Country folks are OK!”

Her “whim” turned out great!

She applied “on a whim”... actually she was content in her job and it was a “stretch” to think about going from a small station in Iowa to CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis. But after about nine weeks of intense interviews, e-mails, etc. she was informed she got the job.Samantha Smith, daughter of Mike and Lynn Gronlund of Randolph explained, “I was really excited... my mom cried... and dad keeps me grounded.”

Samantha had been working as news director at KNIA/KRLS radio in Knoxville, Iowa. This meant a 70 hour work week where she was on call 24/7 in case there was an accident to be covered. But she also won many awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association including “Overall Excellence in Anchoring” and helped the station earn top honors in the small market radio division.

Now Samantha is the Anchor/Reporter for WCCO radio from Wednesday through Sunday. In this position she “stacks the news stories”, researches and writes them and it’s her voice you hear bringing you up-to-date on the news every hour during her shift.

Samantha believes having had the opportunity to do many things in high school allowed her to learn a lot. Also, the principal let her to design her own project in journalism for credit.

Samantha at Randolph, MN high school

But keep in mind that Samantha came from the “country”. So how is that going to fit in the “big city”? Plus, the folks back home like to “take care of our own” so I headed up to ‘CCO to check things out.

Now you may remember there have been many movies made about country folkswho go to visit the big city. There was an old movie series called Ma and Pa Kettle. If you don’t remember that one you might recall the TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies.

And if you don’t know that one... now you can watch: “Paul and Rosie go to the Big City!” I had the idea to add a second meeting to this trip. The other was to say “Hi” to the little brother of my girlfriend who was a bridesmaid in my wedding so many years ago. As teenage girls we had mainly ignored this ten year old kid. But when I met him after he had grown up, he gave me one of the nicest hugs I’ve ever received.

It’s been at least five years since then, so I figured I needed a hug again.

I e-mailed Dave Mona at WCCO and he responded that he would be on the air with his show, the Sports Huddle with Dave and Sid (Hartman) when I got therebut just to “buzz” them and they’d let me in.

So here’s the result... even with my panicky backseat driving suggestions, Paul drove unscathed to the downtown location.

We came to the locked door of WCCO and pressed the button to ask to be admitted. A familiar but unknown male voice told us the door was now open and we walked in.

The elevator door stood ajar and I went in and started pressing buttons. Nothing happened. I finally got on my cell phone and called the station and told them, “I’m inside but I can’t get the elevator to work.” Well, they would come get me because the door to the stairs was locked.

Remember the familiar sounding voice? It turned out to be Bruce Hagevik who I’ve heard on the air for years. He previously had been on KDHL in Faribault and worked with Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls.

In a few minutes we were sitting in the studio while Dave and Sid bantered with their callers on the air. I finally got my hug from Dave and then met the delightful Samantha. It was later, when Paul and I tried to find the way out of the building by ourselves, that we ran into difficulty. We should just be able to follow the EXIT signs, right? Not!

Paul had become interested in the Twins shirt in the glass frame on the wall and then some more pictures. But these led in the wrong direction.

I found a door that looked like a possibility. But it led to an out-of-order freight elevator. Paul asked me to step back into the hallway to test the door in case it would lock us out. It did. I was tempted to leave Paul in there but decided to open it for him.

After other wrong turns I found my way back to Samantha’s studio and Bruce headed us in the right direction.

Guess I’ll just have to wonder where that freight elevator would have gone!


(More video from the Beacon and our interview will be on the Cannon Falls Cable/Internet Channel 12 -

or on Youtube - Along the way by Rosie)