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Dick Nourse circa 1963

Odds are that we will never see the likes of Dick Nourse and Michelle King in this TV market again. Or any other local TV market anywhere in the country.

Which is not to say that the news anchors, who stepped down on Wednesday from Ch. 5 and Ch. 2, respectively, can't be replaced. Bruce Lindsay and Shauna Lake should slide into the lead anchor roles at each station without missing a beat.

But it's doubtful anyone will have the kind of career longevity that King and Nourse enjoyed.

To have been a station's lead female anchor for 23 years is astonishing. To have been a station's lead male anchor for 43 years is ... well, there isn't a word to describe how astonishing that is.

What's most astonishing about Nourse and King is that they remained at one station from the beginning to the end of their careers.

"I had offers but I never really wanted to leave KSL," Nourse said.

"I've been loyal to (KUTV) because I've appreciated the way they've treated me," King said. "I couldn't see me working anywhere else in town, even though there were opportunities that came up occasionally.

"I just like the station. It's a good fit for me, and I love the people I work with. So I was never really tempted to leave."

But both the world and the world of television have changed a lot since 1963. And since 1983.

Nourse was part of the generation that pioneered TV news. In 1963, it was still in its infancy, and his career spanned the four decades in which it grew to a behemoth that overtook all other forms of media — and then began to decline.

"From night to night, you wonder who's out there," Nourse said. "Anymore, with people getting a lot of news from the Internet and other sources ... you wonder who's even watching overall. Our numbers, overall, have gone down."

The days are gone when people got their news at 6 and 10. Which, unless you were reading the newspaper, was pretty much the only choice you had.

"I think I was in the business in the heyday of television news," Nourse said. "I think there will still be some more heydays, but maybe not on the grand scale that we've seen in the past."

King followed Nourse by a couple of decades, but she was herself a TV pioneer. "I got in at a time in the '70s when every station wanted to have 'a woman.' It was a really good time to get into it."

Today, local TV news is not about the woman but about the women. Women outnumber men by as much as 5-to-1 in some college broadcast-journalism programs. "I think it's much more competitive now," King said.

But neither of them would discourage anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps, although King advised aspiring broadcast journalists to "leave your options open."

"I think if you have good writing skills, you can do so many things," King said. "You don't need to put all your eggs in one basket. You can do print journalism. You can do (public relations). You can do all kinds of things with just really good, basic writing skills."

"If you really want to do this, do it," Nourse said. "Realize what the drawbacks are — the hours, the lack of privacy. ... Certainly, it's a fascinating business, and it's changing almost daily. And no telling what, 10 or 20 years from now, it's going to be like to watch television."


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