“We’ve shared a lot. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs.”
On the immaculate set at WBTW-TV, news viewers expect integrity, professionalism and sincerity. For those watching in the Myrtle Beach-Florence television market, one thing has remained constant for 24 years: the anchor team of Bob Juback and Nicole Boone.
One of the longest-running anchor teams in the country
In fact, the duo is one of the longest-running anchor teams in the country. In the state of South Carolina, only Bill Sharpe and Debi Chard of Charleston’s WCSC-TV surpass the Myrtle Beach team in terms of the number of consecutive years anchoring together.
As one would expect, it doesn’t take long for Boone and Juback to reminisce about their years together.
“It’s the personal side that comes to the forefront first, before the professional,” Boone said of her colleague. She recalls the memory of announcing the birth of Juback’s son on-the-air during the 6 o’clock news years ago.
“Then when Nicole had her second child, it happened during the [Children’s Miracle Network] telethon…and then we did an interview with Nicole the day after right in the hospital bed,” Juback said he remembers.
Boone began working at the station right after Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989. She was anchoring the noon and 5 p.m. newscast in 1992 when Juback returned to the station to anchor news. He had worked at WBTW years earlier anchoring sports – and created the station’s locally-famous Juback on Sports, a high school football sports show.
“It’s kind of amazing…that I’ve been able to last this long,” Juback said. Through eight general managers and eight news directors, the two anchors have weathered many storms behind-the-scenes.
But, Boone quickly interjects: “Bob and I are pretty faithful … faithful souls to what we do.” And, through good ratings, earning audience credibility and humor, Juback and Boone have persevered – together – on the news desk.
“What a blessing”
WBTW-TV has been the dominant number one television station in the market for decades. They’ve never lost sight of the fact that their viewers allowed them to keep their jobs.
“What a blessing. When you go out in the community and people are happy to see you and they’re thankful for what you do, that’s rewarding,” said Boone.
That drive and determination of doing a good job comes from the satisfaction that people are watching.
Juback said he suggests: “I would find it somewhat deflating to put in a full day’s work and bust your tail to do the best that you can, and then at the end of the day no one is watching. I would think that is very frustrating.”
“I take it personally”
The current political climate does offer its problems for even the most dedicated and trusted of journalists. The public’s perception that “things are slanted, things aren’t real, things are twisted,” can be challenging for local newsrooms, the duo said.
To the anchor team, it can be frustrating to see some people view “local” news in a negative way because of the way “national” news is sometimes scrutinized.
“We are here to help bring things to light in the community, hold people accountable, find out where your money is going on a local level.”
For Boone, she takes the derogatory comments personally.
“Bob and I don’t make commentary. Our goal is facts every day, and tell you what’s going on. Doing the vetting as much as we can to make sure everything is correct … we take that very seriously. And, for someone to bash you for what you’re trying to do to help that person, it is frustrating at times.” – Nicole Boone
“Bob and I don’t make commentary. Our goal is facts every day, and tell you what’s going on. Doing the vetting as much as we can to make sure everything is correct … we take that very seriously. And, for someone to bash you for what you’re trying to do to help that person, it is frustrating at times.”
More responsibilities for new journalists
It’s no secret, the multi-platform news arena has led to a greater focus on distributing news any way possible. The means by which to deliver news today had not even been considered 10 or 15 years ago. Besides daily television newscasts, consumers are demanding news on demand. WBTW pushes news to the web, social media, billboard, radio and even Alexa, a virtual assistant.
With the sheer amount of news coming out of news outlets each day, new journalists entering the workforce can feel overwhelmed. But, the duo says it’s worth the fight.
“They [new reporters] don’t get paid a lot, and they also have to do everything,” Boone said.
Like stations across the country, reporters at WBTW must shoot their own news story, edit, write for the web, post to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and still make their time slot for television. That workload can be a challenge. But, it often comes down to passion for the business.
One solution, Juback suggests, may also come from better training in college.
“I’ve been very impressed in the past 4 or 5 years by many of the hires we’ve made here. And I think it may be because they’re getting better training in school.” – Bob Juback
“I’ve been very impressed in the past 4 or 5 years by many of the hires we’ve made here. And I think it may be because they’re getting better training in school,” he said.
It’s a sign mass communication and journalism departments continue to play a very important role in society. Democracy is aided by understanding what is happening in our community, our state and our nation. Journalists provide that conduit by which we understand or discover what our elected officials are doing.
Advice for aspiring journalists
Preparation is key to success. Oftentimes, failure can come from missed opportunities. Every generation faces the same challenge. For those studying journalism right now, success in the news business can seem light years away.
“If any door is open, go through them. Even if they’re not open, push them open,” said Bob Juback. “Just take advantage of your opportunities and don’t squander them.”
“If any door is open, go through them. Even if they’re not open, push them open,” said Juback. “Just take advantage of your opportunities and don’t squander them.”
Young journalists should understand working in broadcast journalism is not always easy.
The emphasis is on “passion,” according to Boone. “It is not your normal career. It’s working 24-7. It’s working when anybody else is not working. You work hard. You work long hours. You have to make sacrifices oftentimes with your families. Make sure you’re willing to work hard for a not a lot of money, but all in the name of making a difference in the community,” she said.
“Smart” & “Versatile”
After working with someone for nearly two and a half decades, you pick up on their unique qualities. In television newsrooms, co-workers become family. You spend holidays, birthdays and memories together. Boone and Juback have gone through a multitude of staff changes, seen a news operation move from one city to another, and watched their favorite college teams battle it out on the gridiron every season.
Juback attended the University of South Carolina and is a proud Gamecock. Boone, on the other hand, is a die-hard Clemson University fan. They may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to their favorite team, but at the TV station, it’s an affable environment between the two.
“Bob is one of the smartest people I know. He is just so intelligent, and I’m in awe of him everyday about how he operates and how good he is at what he does. I’ve never seen a guy who can tell you geography, facts, history…. And he’s funny,” Boone said of her long-standing news cohort.
Boone and Juback recognize the spirit of what it takes to succeed and compete. Every day they bring their own unique blend of charisma, personality and style to local viewers. It’s the same qualities they’ve brought to the anchor desk for nearly 25 years.
“Nicole is very good at doing whatever she is asked to do,” Juback said. “Very talented and extremely versatile. Some people – they can only do one thing. I think Nicole can do just about anything.”
The friendship truly runs deep, and it shows on the air.
“I can’t imagine my career any other way than what it’s been with Bob by my side. We have been through so much together personally and professionally that I feel really blessed to have been with him for 24 years.”
In the Pee Dee and Grand Strand areas of South Carolina, it’s a strong dynamic that has kept this anchor team going strong.
“He’s like my TV husband…because we’ve been together so long. It’s lasted!”
It’s a bond that’s is hard to find in television news – or anywhere.
David Baxley is Assistant Professor of Mass Communications, Francis Marion University, and a SPJ South Carolina member. Baxley worked in broadcast news since 1999. He is also a meteorologist. Before entering academia in 2016, Baxley worked as an investigative producer at WIAT-TV in Birmingham, Alabama, for two years. Baxley is a regular contributor to the SPJ Region 3 website, SizingUpTheSouth.com.