Up, up and away!

Photo courtesy KTVB

“The number keeps going up!”

“Kinda like the balloon!”

Just about 17 years ago, we put popular feature reporter John Miller in a hot air balloon at Boise River Festival. He took a series of still images, and we uploaded them to KTVB.COM. We showed a story on Idaho at Five, and told viewers to fire up their dial up and look for images of Boise from the air.

A rudimentary tracker showed server load in real time allowed us to see how popular the site was. And the number just kept climbing and climbing.

It was all so new and novel in 1999. Putting exclusive photos on a website. Seeing photos of Boise from the air. Tracking it all in real time.

My 18-year-old self was hooked. “This internet news thing is fun,” I thought.

Trips to the site of an SLC tornado, the Olympics, BSU games from DC to San Diego, a front row view of each of the Fiesta Bowls, presidential visits and thousands of news stories later — I made the leap into the marketing part of our business. I had a front row seat as “world wide web” became “online” which became “internet,” and finally digital.

I watched KTVB.COM grow from 400,000 views in a single month to more than 25 million. I saw our revenue more than quadruple in my time on the business end. I met dozens of amazing co-workers, colleagues and friends. I took home a few awards earned with dynamic teammates.

At the beginning of June, I will be moving on from the only place I’ve worked in my adult life. I have decided to take a little time off and plot my next move in the digital space.

Perhaps a little scary. Perhaps a little risky. But ultimately, I know deep down that it is time to push myself and work on new challenges.

I leave with tremendous gratitude for so many people. I’ve had the same GM for all of those 17 years. Doug Armstrong not only took a chance on an 18-year-old kid, he helped me at the right moments.

I’ve had the best bosses anyone could ask for. From each of them I learned something different. From Mark Danielson I found how to be energetic and forward-thinking. With Jim Gilchriest’s guidance I morphed from a solo player to one interested in coaching the people around me. And from Kristi Edmunds I learned compassion and how to build top-quality marketing solutions.

I’ve worked with many inspiring people in this building, and naming each one is probably futile. But Melanie Kennedy, Aletia Flaherty, Carolyn Holly, Mark Johnson, Dee Sarton, Brad Bond, John Masters, Kate Morris and Tony Courtwright all have my gratitude for their contributions and mentorship in my career and life. As do the late PJ Laws, Mitch Frank and Rod Doughty.

Lastly, I’ve been so blessed to manage an incredible group of talented folks over the past five years. Nichole Santa Maria, Katie Martin, Anna Daly Gamboa, Dani Allsop and Kari Stark are the best digital pros in town — and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.

Time to look for that next hot air balloon!