The Catholic University of America

Alumni Relations

Bruce Burkhardt, B.A. 1976, executive producer for Georgia Public Broadcasting

  


We asked this month's spotlight a few questions. Below are his answers.

AR: Can you tell us about your career path? How did you got started?


BB: It's a good thing that I've never been asked to give a commencement speech, because
 my remarks would be very brief, consisting mainly of, "You got me, I don't know what to 
tell you except take a baby aspirin every day." Others may have had a clearly etched career path and objectives but not so with me.

About a year after I graduated from Catholic in 1977, armed with a degree in speech and drama, I talked my way into a TV job -- sports anchor at a small, barely watched UHF
station in Montgomery, Ala. While my speech and drama degree has served me well over
the years, it did not prepare me for covering Southeastern Conference football, Bear Bryant,
or stock car racing...or maybe it did. Acting, "or fake it till you make it"was key in those
early years.

Montgomery was the beginning of a 35-year broadcasting career that has taken me to Birmingham, Denver, and Atlanta where
I enjoyed a 14-year stint with CNN.


AR: What is the most interesting event or person you have come across in your line of work?


BB: It is virtually impossible to single out anything as "most interesting." I've had the opportunity to see all 50 states and
several international destinations. More memorable are the people I've met and talked to -- from Billy Carter and George
Wallace to, most recently, Henry Aaron and Dr. Christine King Farris, the older sister of Martin Luther King, Jr.


Perhaps the most jarring, disorienting, and emotional experience was reporting from New York in the immediate aftermath of September 11th.


AR: What are you working on now?


BB: Currently, I work freelance (which is to say I wear whatever hat that is necessary) -- documentary producer, reporter, on-camera talent, writer, and voice-over narrator. Most of my work recently has been with Georgia Public Broadcasting where I 
am currently the executive producer of a documentary (in progress) called As If We Were Ghosts. It explores and celebrates 
some of the great African-American athletes of the segregated era in the South who, in a different time, would have been household names. A few years ago, I wrote, produced, and narrated Augusta's Master Plan: From Sherman's March to Arnie's Army, a history of August, Ga., and the Masters Golf Tournament that, around the time of the Masters, airs on public TV
stations around the country. 

I am hosting and reporting for an environmental program, This American Land, which is distributed to public TV stations
across the country.


AR: What are some of your favorite memories about CUA?

BB: My time at Catholic was relatively brief (I transferred in my junior year), but it is a sweet memory. As a married commuter
student, I didn't form the kind of lasting relationships that many college students enjoy. But I did make many friends there
and wish I had done a better job of maintaining contact. I have fond memories also of the faculty who cherished the high
standards of that department and expected you to do the same.

AR: Any specific courses that you took or experiences you had while a student?


BB: In Mrs. Waters' Oral Interpretation of Prose course, I endlessly frustrated her with my vocal inadequacies and failure oto project. I think I later "got it," and she likely would be stunned to know that I made my living, in part, with my voice. The main stage productions I was part of (usually a small part) are also wonderful memories -- A Man For All Seasons, Macbett (not Macbeth), and Witness For The Prosecution. These were quality shows that attracted Washington's sophisticated
theater-going public.


AR: The drama department is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Do you have any specific memories of your time in
the drama department?


BB: The legacy of the great Father Hartke, who founded the department, was his incredible passion in nurturing theater and theater people. But my favorite "Father moments"
have to do with the times when he delivered the "sticky buns" to the cast in
the green room before Sunday matinees.


AR: And your family?


BB: Married then, I remain married to the same woman, Ann, and we have twin sons, now 26 years old. I'm an avid Atlanta
Braves fan and hate that I have to root against the Nats who, had I remained in D.C., would have captured my heart. Which reminds me...I have to go take a baby aspirin.




 


















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