Today’s Team: 10+ years at KSWO

It's remarkable that KSWO has so many employees who have been here for over 10 years, including ones who never wanted to be in front of the camera
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - News is an industry with a lot of turnover. People come and go in search of bigger markets, new contracts, and the next story.

That’s why it’s so remarkable that KSWO has so many employees who have been here for over 10 years, including ones who never wanted to be in front of the camera -- not even for this story.

13 employees are in the 10+ years club at KSWO; one recently celebrated 42 years with the station.

“I grew up watching KSWO. When I got here I didn’t know the job was going to be as fun as it is. I’ve had a few jobs, I haven’t had a whole lot of jobs in my life, but in the 18 years I’ve been here I can honestly say this is probably the most fun job I’ve ever had,” said Matt Walker, 7News’ broadcast operations manager.

All of these people were able to witness firsthand the changes that have been made to KSWO, and they grew with the station.

“There’s something about this place that feels like home,” said news director Sharicka Brackens. “It doesn’t feel like work, it feels like we’re telling stories, we’re making a difference, and I’m doing it with my friends. But also the people of this community, like southwest Oklahoma is probably one of the best places to live.”

While Brackens and Walker both work in the news department, others have made their careers in sales, engineering, and production. Or, they’ve switched roles over the years: we found one 1996 Director’s Report tucked away in a drawer, written by an employee now leading a different division. Regardless of their role, they all say the people are why they’ve stayed over the years.

“I’ve worked with a constant stream of really good people here at the station,” said Reggie Clay, who works in technical media production (TMP).

“That’s a big reason, not only because I love the job; it’s very fun, but the support that I get from the people that I work with. Both on the station level as well as my coworkers,” said account executive Amanda Clayton.

But connections haven’t only formed between coworkers, they’ve formed with the community.

TMP engineer Jason Austin said, “You know it’s television, how you all have a sense of community. You’re supposed to be serving the community; which you do, and I feel like being here I get to help deliver the news, and get the messages out.”

“This is the longest I’ve ever worked for one employer. I would never have thought that when I started my career decades ago,” said account executive Susie Johnson. “It’s a fun place to work for. It’s fun to say you work for a TV station; especially one that’s so established in a community like KSWO is.”

Anyone working at a news station will agree on one thing: every day you experience something new. A boring day is almost unheard of at KSWO.

“I just love the place -- the people here, they’re great to work with. It’s a fun work environment,” said chief engineer Gabe Maldonado. “Also, just being hands-on in technology. Seeing where technology is progressing, where it’s going-- you know, being hands-on on all of these projects.”

At the end of the day, it comes down to the people we serve. Working at KSWO is an opportunity to have a meaningful impact on people’s lives, every day.

“It’s amazing how far this station has come, especially over the last dozen years,” said morning anchor Kyle Weatherly. “Sometimes you don’t realize what an impact you made until you get those moments to step away, and you hear from people that you’ve covered or have watched you throughout the years. That was really cool, it was special to me to hear from those people.”