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Weekly Features
Life in the Small Market
A collaborative weekly feature, Life in the Small Market offers up thoughts and views from small town broadcasters across America.
Wendy Halloran is the 10pm anchor at KMVT, Southern Idaho's News Source, the CBS affiliate in Twin Falls, Idaho. She started her career behind the scenes at KRNV and KTVN in Reno, Nevada. Soon afterwards she got her first on-air job as a morning anchor/reporter for an NBC affiliate in Nevada. Two years later she made the jump to Idaho and began anchoring Southern Idaho's number one 5 o'clock newscast. She also hosts a talk show called KMVT'S Community Connection. She holds degrees in Criminal Law and Broadcast Journalism from San Diego State University and the University of Nevada-Reno. A former Miss Reno, she stays actively involved in helping out at local preliminaries for the Miss America Pageant. She sits on the board of Crimestoppers, the Alzheimer's Association, and The Humane Society of the Magic Valley. She is an APTRA member and belongs to the Idaho Press Club.

Life in a small market--or something like it? Twin Falls-no not Twin Peaks---Spudville---Dairyland---not that eerie------melodrama. A far cry from the San Diego freeways, the Las Vegas nightlife, or the neon lights of Broadway. What could anyone possibly find to report on in market 188? The potato harvest--the sugar beet crop or the dairy industry woes? You know, the typical agriculture stories--oh! those smelly cows! Quite contraire. Twin Falls, Idaho population 60,000+ home of the 486-foot Perrine Bridge over the Snake River Canyon--where thrill-seekers come from across the country to legally base jump--some to their deaths. A hop, skip and a jump south of Twin Falls--to Sun Valley---where you just might rub elbows with the man or machine, who recently terminated California Governor Gray Davis in the Total Recall Election. To the East, you'll find yourself smack dab in the middle of an ongoing dispute between Elko County and the U.S. Forest Service over a washed out road--so-called "threatened" bull trout--and lots of shovels. To the West, Mountain Home Air Force Base home of the 366th Fighter Wing where an F-16 Air Force Thunderbird crashed right before my very eyes during an air show. Pilots o.k ! Planes not! If you look hard-you just might find--there really are meaningful stories in Spudville.

But there's more than meets the eye when it comes to getting your hands on those meaningful stories. Case in point-- market 188 competes directly with Boise, market 123 since only 100 miles separates the two cities. Then factor in NBC'S powerhouse affiliate KSL broadcast on cable from Salt Lake City. Imagine being up against these media giants during sweeps. Understaffed--under equipped---only 1 live truck--but not to be outdone. And I have the battle scars to prove it. Lugging around 60 pounds of gear, an awkward tripod in my left hand, an enormous case with a 25 pound DVCPro camera inside and a bag hanging off my shoulder containing a microphone, a light, back-up batteries--and of course, a little lipstick too. Whoever said, "weebles wobble but they don't fall down" was wrong. Hopefully, I don't look like a weeble--even though sometimes I feel like one with all that gear. But, you gotta do what you gotta do! Proof positive that one man banding is alive and well. I prefer to call it a "one-woman symphony." It's a well orchestrated attempt to look large market. I've even turned a cop into a photographer and an eye surgeon into a cameraman just to get a decent stand-up.

There isn't anything I haven't done. From risking my life to shoot video in a dust storm on Interstate 86 a.k.a. America's Deadliest Highway, dodging bullets during a standoff between police and an armed suspect at a local motel--to covering the trial of a local man who was indicted on federal charges for allegedly operating an internet kiddie porn ring. I can shoot, write, edit, produce and anchor an entire 30 minute newscast by myself. The hours are long--some days are better than others--some things aren't fair and I often dream of being in a better place.

When I wake up, I realize there are thousands of people who would like to be in my position. Many who would give their left arm to be in front of the camera where I'm at. At this point, I'm just grateful to be gainfully employed. Besides, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. For now--having giggling little girls run past the table where my husband and I are dining--shouting "that's the t.v. lady." Then their mom comes up to me--with a mouthful of food and asks for my autograph. I gleefully say, "I'd be happy to--but I don't have anything to write on!" She hands me an Outback Steakhouse napkin, and with the stroke of a pen I made her girls' day. That's life in the small market. For me, it's been a loaded experience that turned this "common tater" working in the state known for famous potatoes into a "commentator"--in all senses of the word!