On Friday, KSN’s Mark Davidson said goodbye to KSN. Mark will continue to live in Wichita and will work at IMA Financial Group as a producer and risk-assessor.RELATED LINK | KSN’s Mark Davidson announces a career change
Before leaving, Mark wanted to thank Kansans and Wichita.
This is not a goodbye letter, except to the 2:30 alarm, perhaps. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.
I’d just turned 25 when you welcomed me to town. I was a mostly clueless sportscaster from Kansas City by way of Topeka… the graduate of a school that doesn’t exactly carry a sparkling reputation in these parts, but you agreed to give me a chance.
You introduced me to the passion of Shocker sports and let me tag along for KU’s National Championship and Orange Bowl win. Those still register among my career highlights, and that’s coming from a Mizzou grad.
Almost nine years ago, this lifelong sports geek got a chance to do news, and I’ve never regretted it a day since.
Kansas Today is a strange and wonderful animal… much like the man I’ve worked alongside for the better part of my tenure in morning news, but more on Leon in a moment. We’re given the responsibility to help prepare you for what matters in the day ahead, but the freedom to do it with our own personal style. That’s what made me love being part of this morning show. I hope every gut-wrenching story about unimaginable tragedy came with a moment that, at least, made you smile.
We were a bare bones staff when Smitherman joined the team in 2010, and with limited resources and a bizarre blend of personalities, the goofball meteorologist and the uptight anchor made TV… and for some reason you watched. Leon, I will deny I ever wrote this, but you are the biggest reason I lasted this long. You are a fantastic broadcaster. Our friendship doesn’t end when I walk out the door.
That said, we’ve added incredible people over the years and Kansas Today has gotten stronger. Katie brought her motherly professionalism to the desk, and despite the occasional look that said, “you boys…”, she embraced the lighthearted moments and, on occasion, lowered herself to our level of humor. She’s a fantastic family person and someone I could look up to while sitting next to.
We’ve been joined by talented reporters bound for bigger things, producers with a real nose for news, a floor crew that takes great pride in their work and maybe the best director in Wichita. That goes well beyond the mornings and includes all those who make KSN what is 24 hours a day. I won’t name names for fear of leaving someone out, but you know who you are, and you know how much your friendship means to me. It is truly a team effort.
But there simply is no Kansas Today without the viewers. I am genuinely humbled by the trust you give us to shape your day and the latitude you give us to be ourselves. I’ve never done this for the recognition, but I always appreciated when you took the time to say hello, or send an e-mail, or drop a quick Facebook post… yes, I check those, too. Sometimes you questioned what we were doing or how we were doing it. Thanks for keeping us accountable.
I’ve met wonderful people through TV, both inside and outside the business, and I’m fortunate to call so many of you friends. I hope we continue to build on those relationships. Kansans are hard working, sincere, loyal and selfless. That’s why I’ve found myself drawn to so many of you.
So why leave all that, you ask? The answer is simple. For as much as I love the KSN team and the wonderful people who support us, my first priority will always be to my team at home. I have a wife who gets a couple hours every night with an exhausted husband and a little girl who now goes to bed after her daddy. They have been unconditionally supportive, but they deserve more. I’ve been fortunate to find an opportunity with a company I believe in that allows me to be a more involved father and a more available husband.
The good news is I get to do all that right here in Wichita, the city that’s become my home. So I’ll only say goodbye for now. To the folks at KSN, I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to be part of your team. I’ll be watching, as a fan, because I’ve had a front row seat to all the hard work you put in every day. To the viewers, thanks for inviting me into your home and allowing me to be part of your lives. Don’t forget about me because I won’t show up on that screen in your living room anymore because I promise I won’t forget about you. Mom and Dad, I’ll never have bigger fans. Thanks for being my foundation and knowing just what to say when the business knocked me down. And to my girls, Lynne and Andie, you are what drives me. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for us and to capture countless memories that can’t be contained within a TV camera.
I wish you all nothing but the best. Please don’t be a stranger.