Mass comm alumnus No. 3 man at KMOV-TV 2011 - By Jessica Charlton

An SIUE mass communications alumnus is now the No. 3 man at KMOV-TV (Channel 4).

Bill McCormac has been with Channel 4 since 1997 and was promoted inDecember 2010 to the station’s news operations manager.

Since his promotion, McCormac, who was the station’s chief photographer, was told he was no longer able to produce content, touch or record a tape.

“That’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years,” McCormac said. “It was a complete career change.” Ralph Donald, professor and director of internships in the mass comm. Department , hadn’t worked for SIUE too long before he was introduced to McCormac through Professor Riley Maynard.

“Over the years I taught TV production, Bill, or “Billy Mac” as he is sometimes called by his friends, was always there for me for guest lectures,” Donald said.

Throughout the years of being a guest speaker for Donald, McCormac would bring clips of stories and talk about his latest work with the students.

“I’m so pleased to hear that Channel 4 has promoted him,” Donald said. “It couldn’t happen to a better, nicer alumnus.”

McCormac grew up in Florissant, Mo., and graduated from Rosary High School. But when he was as young as 8, his father told him to keep three things in mind when looking for a career.

First, his father said to find a job he loved. His father also told him to make sure he could see himself doing it at 65. Finally, his father advised him to make the job his own so someone could not come off the street and replace him.

McCormac said he knew when he was in junior high he wanted to get into photography.
“Taking pictures?  Sounds like a good way to go through life,” McCormac said.

 Growing up, McCormac worked hard, paying his way through college without any help from his parents. He worked as a pizza delivery man, painted houses, did construction and worked for his father. He lived at home and drove from Florissant to Edwardsville for classes.

McCormac said his time at SIUE was not a typical experience.

“I approached it as a job,” McCormac said.

He spent all of his time in school or working 40 hours a week.

Before McCormac graduated from SIUE, he was offered a part-time job with KPLR-TV (Channel 11) in September 1991 — without benefits and only $8.50 an hour. Four months later he received a full-time position and was promptly laid off. After that, he did freelance work until September 1992, when he went back to work for Channel 11. He has also worked for CBS and PBS.

McCormac started working at KDNL-Fox in 1994 and helped build it from the ground up. In June 1995, it changed to KDNL-ABC.

“We didn’t even have paper clips,” McCormac said.

After a while, ABC took a turn for the worse and started failing, McCormac said. It was not long when Channel 4 called McCormac and offered him a job.

“It was a bigger station with more opportunity to travel, and it got me out of a station that was running into the ground,” he said.

Going into the job, McCormac said he took a large pay cut, but wasn’t in it for the money. McCormac wanted to do what he loved, and he did.

McCormac was at KMOV for 10 years when in August 2007, he was promoted to chief photographer.

“It was the greatest job I ever had, never thought I’d put down the camera,” McCormac said.

Getting the promotion from chief photographer to news operation manager comes with many responsibilities. McCormac is in charge of scheduling 75 people.

McCormac believes it doesn’t matter which college you go to, it is the work you do that matters. He glanced out in the newsroom to see journalists who graduated from many different colleges working. It doesn’t matter where you got your degree, you got the degree is all that matters, SIUE graduates included.