Check out this 'highlight' reel of KJCT meteorologist and sports anchor Steve Swienckowski from 1984. Special appearance by Jeff Kaufman. Check out the weather boards and the graphics! This is the first case of "Where Are They Now?" 

The year was 1984. Here are some are the things that were happening that year:

  • Ronald Reagan was president.
  • Terms Of Endearment won Best Movie.
  • The Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles.
  • The movies Ghostbusters and Gremilns were released.
  • The top 5 songs were; Careless Whisper - George Michael, I Just Called To Say I Love You - Stevie Wonder, Wake Me Up - WHAM!, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cindy Lauper and I - Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
  • Wendy's "Where's the beef?" commercial debuted.

And last, but not least, the Grand Valley got our weather and sports from KJCT's Steve Swienckowski.

In a case of "Where Are They Now?" I did some digging. Steve Swienckowski is now the President of DCA Talent Agency in Raleigh, North Carolina. Figured an email wouldn't hurt, but there was no way I was going to hear back from him. Since I didn't know what his experience was like here in Grand Junction, it is impossible to judge his reaction to a stranger (me) emailing him about a job he had in 1984.

Well, to my surprise Steve replied to my e mail almost immediately. See below for the entire transcript from his e mail:

GJ was my first TV job (after seven years in radio).

I was hired over the phone by a guy named Paul Unwin (great guy and — in hindsight— one of my best bosses ever).  He wanted me to be the #2 sports guy (even though weather is really want I wanted to do).

When I arrived (after driving straight through from Pennsylvania), he took me to lunch.  I couldn’t help but notice that Paul seemed more nervous than I!  I soon discovered why.

He said, “So, you’ll report sports three days a week and you’ll anchor sports on weekends.  And, you’ll also do weather on weekends.”

This is the point that previous hires freaked out— because they didn’t want to do weather! (few sports guys do).  But, me?  I was thrilled!

After a few months, I was moved to weekday weather and host of the “Big Money Movie”.  At 2:00 each day, we showed some of the worst movies of all time.  During commercial breaks, we made phonecalls (by choosing names at random from the phonebook) and told the callee, “If you can tell me the name of our feature, you win our jackpot!” which started at 8 dollars (channel 8, of course) and increased by increments of $8 for each time we failed. (I don’t think I ever saw the jackpot get abut $32).

One day, after I finished the first break, I was told my mic was not working and the audience heard nothing.  After the second break, same thing: no audio.  As I started the third break, I open my mouth and mimed my words—— with no sound by me— sending the control room into a panic.  “Why can’t we hear him!?”  After about five seconds, I laughed and said I was just teasing the crew.

Not long after that, the GM (a real gem named Steve Robinson) called me in and said he was removing me from the Big Money Movie.

“I hired you to inform and not to entertain.”

To which I said, “Then perhaps we should be showing documentaries and not feature films.”

I immediately started looking for a new job and soon I was out of there, but not before getting my best friend from college (Jeff Kaufman) to move there and work at the station, too.  He had a long and storied career later in Denver and Los Angeles.

Years later, I worked in San Fran with another former co-worker there, Leslie Griffith.  She was a star in San Fran for many years.

All of us were hired by Paul Unwin and I have his contact info, if you like.

I have great memories of GJ and have always thought it would be a great place to retire.

Sorry for rambling, but thanks for reaching out!

Who else would you like to know where they are today? Let me know on our Facebook page and I will see what I can do.

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