Turning Back The Dial: Roger Sheppard
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - 2023 marks the 70th anniversary for WTAP.
Over the years we’ve seen a lot of people on and behind the camera that have made WTAP the station that it is now.
Each Friday we will be catching up with some of those people to talk about their time here at WTAP and find out what they are doing now.
This week we turn back the dial with a face that is familiar with people in the Mid-Ohio Valley... Roger Sheppard.
“I’m having a bit of Deja Vu. One of my most famous moments in television was I was sitting at this desk getting ready to do an update and we were taping it and right in front of the monitor I said, “Good afternoon. I’m Roger Shepherd”, and a fly landed on my nose and I said “Good afternoon. I’m Roger Shepherd, there’s a fly on my nose.” And we, we all cracked up laughing and it ended up making on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
This is Roger Sheppard, a homegrown native of the Mid-Ohio Valley. He was born and raised in Parkersburg and a graduate of Parkersburg High School. Roger joined WTAP for the first time in 1981 for three years and then came back in 1990. This is where he stayed until his retirement as general manager in 2017.
“I was hired by a general manager by the name of Sherman Grimm. I had talked with Sherman about a job in about 1980, but at about that time he had already hired Todd Baucher and Jack Kane in the newsroom, and he didn’t have any more openings and I was in need of a job. So, I went to work at the Charleston Daily Mail for a year. But I was talking with Sherman over the period of time, and so in 1981, he and I met at the Shoney’s restaurant in Ripley, WV (West Virginia). It was a very expensive lunch that he took me to and so we agreed for me to come to work here. So, I came to work in the fall of 1981 as 11:00 o’clock producer and anchor two jobs I had never done.”
During his time at WTAP, Sheppard held many different positions, ranging from the newsroom, all the way to sales.
“What were my various jobs? I was a reporter, I was an anchor producer, I was a salesperson eventually sales manager, i was general manager, did just a little bit of everything and this is one of the major things that I loved about WTAP is because you could do just about anything. Anything that a person comes here and wants to do, they’ll get an opportunity to try.”
Looking back on his time at WTAP Sheppard says that the thing that stays with him the most...Is the people.
“The people that you work with, the people that you meet, most of whom I really enjoyed working with —maybe a few not —, but most of the people I really enjoyed working with. Probably not everybody enjoyed working with me, but it truly is the people, and the I have to say and largely the folks in the news department because we have a lot of young people who go through this news department and they worked so hard and they really, really do. And I don’t know that the people in the Mid-Ohio Valley appreciate just how hard the young people work.”
Sheppard says after working in a few different places the Mid-Ohio Valley is where he calls home.
“You know the Mid-Ohio Valley is my home. It’s been my home for almost my entire life. It’s where I was born and raised, and I think most young people who come to work for WTAP who come from faraway places I’ve hired people from Connecticut, from Fresno, CA, from Michigan. I think all those people eventually want to go back and work —guess where? — In their hometown. And I was fortunate in the fact that this was my hometown. This is my hometown. So, while I was happy to go away and learn other things and bring a lot of good knowledge back here and put it to work at WTAP, it meant the world to me to be here. My mom could watch me on TV, and she’ll probably be watching this interview, so it’s a thrill.)
After years both in the newsroom and the sales office Sheppard has been enjoying his retirement, filling his time with the things...and people... that he loves.
“What have I done since retiring? I’ve done what I love to do and that is I’m traveling a lot with my wife Anna, playing a lot of music. With a terrific band called Track 9, bicycling, more than I have in quite a while, those are my three main things to do. Spending time with grandkids who live locally in different places. And my daughter, Scarlett Sheppard, who lives in Los Angeles, so I’m getting to spend a lot of great family time and do a lot of fun things.”
L.V. Hissem for WTAP News. This is Home.
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