One the great things about working in radio news for the last 30+ years has been to meet some of the biggest names in the business along the way, and this past week, one of them moved to hang up his journalistic cleats, as ABC Radio’s Vic Ratner decided to retire at the end of 2013.
And I am very happy that I can call Vic a friend.
Before I made it to Capitol Hill, I knew who the big shots were in radio news in Washington, D.C., and I wanted to work in the trenches with them.
And Vic Ratner was definitely one of those voices.
Vic started at ABC Radio in 1973, immediately sinking his teeth into the story of Watergate.
As the folks at ABC noted, Vic “has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union since then, plus almost every space shuttle launch.”
And luckily, I got the chance to not only meet Vic, but get to watch him in action, as we sat just about 20 feet from each other for much of the last twenty years in the U.S. Capitol.
If you didn’t know Vic was a radio reporter, you would have no idea that was his job. He was low key – and after being in this business for years – that’s exactly what I like about him and many of my colleagues.
We work the long hours, we travel all kinds of miles, and we get the job done.
And we don’t see the need to beat our chests like a defensive back who just picked off a pass on Sunday in the NFL.
“On countless campaigns, long nights in the Congress, and breaking news stories on the road, your wise counsel, snarky comments and companionship were greatly appreciated,” Vic told me the other day in an email that made me feel like I was worth a million bucks.
There was nothing better than when Vic would come down the hall and around the corner, and we would compare notes on what was ahead for us in terms of stories; Vic Ratner was a pro.
And I am so lucky to be able to call him a friend.
Here’s a photo I took of Vic at the site of a GOP debate in January of 2012 in South Carolina – the two of us sitting next to each other on “radio row” as we always call it.
It didn’t matter that Vic was a big shot with ABC Radio. If you needed advice, he was there to help. And as a young buck in the business, it was something that I never forgot.
About 10 years ago, I started having troubles with my voice, and after a lot of work, I found a great doctor who put me on the road to getting my voice back in order.
A few years later, Vic also needed someone to give him a look, and I referred him to my doctor.
The next time I went in for a check-up, my doctor was so excited to tell me how cool it was that he had met Vic Ratner.
And that goes for me as well.
Good luck, Vic. Your counsel has always been greatly appreciated, and you will be missed in the halls of Congress and especially out on the campaign trail.