SALT LAKE CITY — On his 40th anniversary at KSL Newsradio and 50th year in radio broadcasting, a former producer is talking about what it was like to work alongside talk show host Doug Wright.
Cassie Smith was Wright’s producer for the last three years. She says newsmakers frequently sought him out to break big stories on his show before offering them to other media outlets.
“When they’re thinking about making a big decision politically or career-wise, he’s the type of person that – they’ll hit him up first,” Smith says, adding the newsmaker would even sometimes ask Wright for advice before making their announcement. “‘Does he think this is a good idea, or that I am pushing myself too far?”
Once the decision to announce was made, Wright’s show indeed became where Utah came to talk.
“There were a lot of times with politics or news story stuff where we’d know what was going on before it actually happened,” Smith recalls. “I think the first big story I worked on is when [House Speaker] John Boehner said he wasn’t going to run again as Speaker of the House, and was stepping down. I was brand-spanking new, and he said, ‘Can you get the governor on the line to get a reaction on this?’ I was like, ‘Uh… you mean OUR governor?'”
Smith says at first she was nervous reaching out to big names in Utah until she realized how much weight the Doug Wright name carried. She says time after time she learned people, from Utah’s senators to our Governor, turned to Wright to tell a story because he’s fair.
“He’s very reasonable and easy to talk to,” she says.
Even within the newsroom, Doug’s corner is a place to vent and know it won’t go anywhere else.
“We call it the circle of trust. Whatever happens in that corner – whatever jokes were made – stayed in there,” Smith says.
After Wright’s 40th anniversary on June 1, he will continue to work as a special correspondent for KSL on big stories. He’ll also continue to host his weekly Movie Show, which is now expanding to three hours every Friday.
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