A year after leaving TV news, Clyde Gray says life is “wonderful.” He’s getting more hugs and kisses from his daughter and wife, as he had hoped when he voluntarily left WCPO-TV a year ago.
And he laughs when it snows – because he doesn’t have to leave home to go to work.
Gray, 60, a TV newsman here for 33 years, is building his Blackboard Marketing public relations and marketing firm from his Symmes Township home office, and enjoying evenings with his wife and 8-year-old daughter.
Sometimes he cooks dinner. “Nobody has died,” he jokes.
Gray, one of Cincinnati TV’s highest-profile African-Americans, had been thinking about how he would leave Channel 9 – where he was the main evening co-anchor 23 years – after signing an unprecedented 11-year contract in 2003.
“I had reached a certain age plateau, and I was determined that I was going to (leave on my terms), and that they weren’t going to get me. I could read the handwriting on the wall. I wasn’t going to stay at the party too long,” he says.
Gray has taken some courses on how to operate a business. He’s spent “a fair amount of time” realizing that he should keep the Blackboard Marketing business he started before leaving Channel 9, instead of rebranding it as he said a year ago to Clyde Gray and Associates Public Relations Strategies or CGA Public Relations Strategies.
Now he’s figuring out how to promote his services for messaging strategies, media engagement, crisis communication, video production, and for a fee, public speaking.
“When I was with the (Channel 9) I-Team, I’d see how people reacted to a crisis, and people didn’t deal with it very well,” he says. “It just took me some time to think through the business, and think through what I offer that people can’t get anywhere else.”
A year ago, when I asked asked Gray about his career, he told me:
“At the end of my life, I don’t want to remember how many newscasts I anchored, I-Team stories I did, or how many awards I won. I want to remember how many hugs I got from my daughter, and kisses from my wife… all the things I can't do now.”
Today he says: “I’m getting more of those.”
He also enjoyed watching it snow last winter at his Symmes Township home – knowing he didn’t have to drive to a TV station and anchor newscasts or special reports about severe winter weather.
“I just sat and watched the snow fall and laughed,” he says. “I didn’t have to play that game.”