Ron Conner

I am a Colorado native and have lived in Phoenix since September 1, 1962.

I am (as of June 24 this year) 80 years old.

I attended The University of Denver, 1960-1961. Major: Mass Communications; Radio, Television, Film. My advisor was Noel Jordan.

While at D.U. I worked for Western Cine Service which I obtained through Student Placement and later at Thomas J. Barbre Productions.

Phoenix College. 1962-Feb., 1966

I started working at KTAR-TV January 19, 1963 as a film processor and editor of news film for the only weekend newscast at 10 P.M. Sunday.  It guaranteed 4 hours at minimum wage which was $1.50/hr.  Within two weeks I was asked to increase hours and edit news film on Thursdays and Fridays in addition to shooting news film on those days and on weekends.  Soon I was assigned to shoot a documentary on the “new” airport (now Terminal 2).  Commercial work soon followed.  Three months later I was assigned to film NBC Personalities in Burbank with the hostess of a local program.

In September of 1963 I was assigned to direct a 90-minute local Spanish language variety program. I did that until the program contract ran out in May of 1964. In summer, 1965, I transferred to engineering as an operating engineer. Later that summer, while still working in engineering I was asked by the Production Manager to produce a new opening for the weeknight 10 P.M. newscast sponsored by the Valley National Bank.  It required the earth rotating and matted over time-lapse clouds similar to the Gulf Oil Space Specials of the day. Later, Production wanted me back and assigned me to a full-time direction position.  This schedule altered my hours so that I had to “Withdraw Without Prejudice” from Phoenix College.  I was one class short of graduating lower division which I planned to do at a later time.

On a summer day in 1966 I was on duty when an NBC news crew from Burbank had covered a local story for the Huntly-Brinkley Report.  They needed our facilities to send this report and it required two black and white film chains, two camera cards (artist renderings) and a camera on the reporter.  We rehearsed this twice and it eventually ran ‘live’

That summer I was assigned to direct a local teenage program. The following year this program was nominated for the Freedoms Foundation George Washington Citation and the American Legion Auxiliaries’’ “Golden Mike”.  It won both awards for 1966-67 and 1967-68.  Two National Award two years in a row!  No other station in the U.S. had done that before or since.

In 1968 a film production department was formed which  later became a Film Production Company much like Thomas J. Barbre Productions in Denver.  Combined Cinegraphics was its name  With this we began producing national and international films in addition to local films.

In 1970 Hamilton Wright (of the Hamilton Wright Organization in New York) came on board and soon I and two others found our way to the Middle East to film three different films in Lebanon.  I was assigned a 30 minute film for television co-directing with Bill Linsman.  I did most of the principal photography, editing and special effects with focus on the “Dream Dance” part of the film.  This film was seen on television stations in the U.S. and Canada.

I produced the Fiesta Bowl Highlight film for 8 years.

Due to management changes Combined Cinegraphics was dismantled and I then did promotional work for News and later back to news photography and reporting.  In 1977 I was back in production and did commercial work.  I also did photography and editing on the Silent Witness Project and later producing vignettes for the program “12 Who Care” 7 years.  Then directing and off-line editing for the “Home Hunter” program as well as other commercial productions which continued until my last years when I could just do video editing for commercial production, promotion and daily news opens for the 5P.M. and 6 P.M. newscasts with the Avid Media Composer. That system is a dream!

In 43+ years I had worked in more different positions and longer than anyone.  I have been retired since July 1, 2006 and I treasure all the years at NBC12. 

Times change and keeping up with change is the name of the game.