The day before the announcement that he'd been hired by 9News, Tom Green, who left a decade-and-a-half stint on Daybreak, the KWGN morning show, in May and has been off the air ever since, posted the photo above on his Facebook page along with a caption that reads, "I tied a tie today...wasn't sure I'd remember how. I'm kinda proud of myself."
Asked whether accomplishing this task was actually a struggle, Green admits, "I might have overstated that. In the four months I was out, I lost my favorite ability, which was the ability to say I couldn't go to something because I had to get up at 2:30 in the morning. That was stripped of me. This summer, I went to every wedding I wouldn't have been able to go to otherwise. So I wore ties."
He also became practically a full-time wildlife photographer, turning his Facebook timeline into its own little Animal Planet. The September 6 pic: hawks. September 14: red-winged blackbirds. September 24: a fox. September 28: pelicans. October 4: coyotes and a prairie dog. October 5: the butterflies known as painted ladies. And on October 9, frolicking deer of the sort he was framing up as he spoke with us a few days later.
Taking part in this hobby just got a lot harder, since Green must report to 9News today, October 16 — "but I'm still a pretty early riser because of fifteen years doing the morning show. So maybe I'll get up, take some pictures, then put on a tie and go do some TV."
He's got plenty of experience in regard to the latter. He started his career in Colorado broadcasting at 9News circa 1982 and covered sports at the outlet during most of the next fourteen years before decamping for a series of gigs at Denver7, sports-radio station The Fan and KWGN. But all of that came to a temporary halt earlier this year, by his own choice.
"I didn't have a plan, so to speak," he acknowledges. "I did want to work, but I had come to a crossroads with Daybreak and let them know well in advance that I wasn't going to re-sign when my contract expired at the end of May."
To complicate matters further, he was precluded from being able to actively seek out a new broadcasting home. "Most non-compete clauses I've had have been specific to not being able to work on the air in that market — but this one was worded so that I couldn't negotiate or even look for work for four months."
Fortunately, he continues, "I've been in the market for so long and kind of know everybody as a friend as well as a professional. So people would approach me and talk, aware of my contractual obligation, about what I might be able to do once I was eligible to work come October. So even though I was still apprehensive about what would happen and what I would be doing, I at least had some confidence that I would be doing something for someone."
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He was right. "I was eligible to talk on October 1, which was a Sunday," he says. "And on Sunday, 9News called and said, 'Let's meet tomorrow.' So it was kind of a shortcut in many ways. Some of these people I've had personal relationships with for 35 years."
Despite the frequent turnover in the TV biz, Green will find some familiar faces at 9News. "When I left Channel 9, I'd been working with Kim Christiansen and Kathy Sabine, and Gary Shapiro is an old pal. And there are others that I worked with at different places, like Marty Coniglio and Vida Urbonas."
As for his 9News duties, Green says, "They're going to have me anchoring the four and five o'clock newscasts, and I think I'll help out as well on big sports nights because of my background with that. But I don't know if there's an on-air start date. They may say, 'It'll take you six months to figure out what we're doing here now,' but more likely, it'll be a couple of days. Hopefully sometime that first week, we'll come up with an idea of when to come on TV."
And when Green will have to tie one on.