Faded Sandpaper

Ron Connor

Ron Connor

Ron is a Colorado native and has lived in Phoenix since September 1, 1962. He attended The University of Denver, 1960-1961. Major: Mass Communications; Radio, Television, Film. His advisor was Noel Jordan. While there, Connor worked for Western Cine Service which he obtained through Student Placement and also worked later at Thomas J. Barbre Productions. He also attended Phoenix College. 1962-1966.

Ron started working at KTAR-TV January 19, 1963 as a film processor and editor of news film for the only weekend newscast at 10 P.M. Sunday. It guaranteed 4 hours at minimum wage which was $1.50/hr. Within two weeks he was asked to increase hours and edit news film on Thursdays and Fridays, in addition to shooting news film on those days and on weekends. Soon, Ron was assigned to shoot a documentary on the “new” Phoenix airport addition (now Terminal 2). Commercial work soon followed. Three months later he was assigned to film NBC Personalities in Burbank with the hostess of a local program.

In September of 1963 Connor was assigned to direct a 90-minute local Spanish language variety program, until the contract ran out in May of 1964. In summer, 1965, he transferred to engineering as an operating engineer. Later that summer, while still working in engineering he was asked by the Production Manager to produce a new opening for the weeknight 10 PM newscast, sponsored by the Valley National Bank (now Chase Bank). It required the earth rotating and matted over time-lapse clouds similar to the Gulf Oil Space Specials of the day. Later, Production wanted him back and he was assigned to a full-time direction position. This schedule altered his hours, so Ron had to “Withdraw Without Prejudice” from Phoenix College, just one class short of graduating lower division which he planned to complete later.

On a summer day in 1966, Connor was on duty when an NBC news crew from Burbank had covered a local story for the Huntly-Brinkley Report. They needed their facilities to send this report and it required two black and white film chains, two camera cards (artist renderings) and a camera on the reporter. They rehearsed it twice and it eventually ran ‘live.’

That same summer, Ron was assigned to direct a local teenage program. The following year this program was nominated for the Freedoms Foundation George Washington Citation and the American Legion Auxiliaries’ “Golden Mike” Award. It won both awards for 1966-67 and 1967-68. Two National Awards, two years in a row! No other station in the U.S. had done that before, or since.