Pondering The Ponderosa
It was August 1996. I had just come back from working for NBC at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. My boss at KTVZ-21, John Larkin, informed me the station had been sold while I was away and that all our management people-including he- would be let go within a year, as we were all “making too much money”. I was the Creative Services Director; My wife Natalie was the Program Director, and her job was on the block as well.
Larkin suggested I be proactive and either find a new job in the television business or make something else happen. I had a 4-year-old and abhorred the idea of raising him in “the big city”. There were no other TV stations in Central Oregon then, so options here were limited. However, for the previous couple of years, business clients of the TV station had been coming to us with fledgling projects that needed video editing or dabbling with little video presentations for their business; there were also a few that wanted cooler looking TV commercials than we were able to produce locally. Larkin and I had created a little side company called Ponderosa Video. No one else had the wherewithal or equipment to do that at the time, and we were busy enough that we had hired more production staff at KTVZ to handle it. Could we start a video production company in Bend, a town of about 50,000 people? Research confirmed it, Visual Thinking was the result, and off we went!