Anchor Tom Crabtree has worked in broadcasting for 45 years.
As he heads into retirement here’s a look back down memory lane.
Watching him on TV, you’d never guess Crabtree grew up on a North Carolina farm 5 miles from the nearest town.
“I had my first job as driving the tractor in the tobacco fields at age 9,” said Crabtree.
That sun up, sun down work ethic, turned out to be the perfect training for a hectic life in Broadcast news.
Tom’s first on-air gig in 1977 was for a local radio station near his Alma Mater, NC State.
He joined WSPA-TV in 1983 behind the scenes, but it didn’t take long for him take on a reporting role.
A few years later he became weekend anchor.
“Then in 93 I came to the anchor desk full time here at 7News. And, that’s been terrific,” said Crabtree.
From reporting on space to the depths of the oceans, Crabtree considers his work, a privilege, even when it’s perilous.
He has covered 6 hurricanes, and narrowly missed a screen door that whizzed by his head.
He’s also covered dozens of elections.
The hardest story, he says, was the 1990 plane crash that killed two friends at WSPA.
“I had a good cry at home, got myself together, came here, went on TV, they had a script prepared for me, and somehow got it out,” said Crabtree.
But there were plenty of laughs, too.
“The Herald Journal invited me and WYFF Anchor Michael Cogdill and me to review Anchorman. Of course we were very silly during the movie throwing pop corn at each other. Then when we came out we gave our synopsis of the movie. It’s not so far from the truth, I’m afraid,” said Crabtree, laughing.
To last 45 years in broadcasting, in a career that is easily derailed by one wrong move, is an accomplishment not many have achieved.
“I’m quite anal about checking scripts and being safe at what I say and what I do, but the majority is just a blessing from God, I don’t know how else to put it.”