MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — This week marks the end of an era here in the eastern Carolinas as Nicole scales back.
So far, we’ve looked at from where she came, how she got here, and how she’s touched the community.
Now we look at how she’s helped so many people, including countless people in our newsroom, and how she’s done that for so long.
Thirty-one years at WBTW, 26 of those on the anchor desk. A little rough math shows that comes to about 20,000 shows — touching hundreds of thousands of people.
That’s quite an impact. And Nicole has impacted a lot of people in this newsroom.
“I was new at WBTW in 1993,” Tasha Oxendine said. “I remember coming in with a story and I had shot a story and it was hard, but when I came in, she said ‘I’ll help you.’ So I sat down on a wooden seat and she typed it out. It was the first time we worked together.”
“I was a pup reporter and she sat me down a couple of times and said ‘things change in this business and it’s going to be ok,'” said Rusty Ray, WBTW anchor and reporter from 2002-2006. “And that was very reassuring to me.”
“She’s always been very helpful to work with,” said Sean Adams, WBTW producer since 1998. “She’s always willing to do anything to help out. It’s been nothing but a pleasure in all the years I worked with her.”
“To be able to work with someone who is an icon in this community has been an absolutely incredible adventure, filled with a lot of learning, laughing and a lot of smiles,” Meghan Miller said.
And Nicole has worked for a lot of people. Nine general managers, 11 news directors, three different ownership groups, and throw in a number of consultants. And despite all those changes, she stayed on top.
“How remarkable is that,” said Allyson Floyd, WBTW reporter from 1991-1996 who is now with Conway Medical Center. “To be able to be at the same station for that long, and to work and be such a big part of the community. It really is amazing.”
“What a career she’s had,” Nicole’s husband Watts Huckabee said. “Thirty years and to be at the top of the market and leave on top and to still be involved at the station, that says a lot about who she is and says a lot about the station and what they think of her.”
“Going through all the management changes is really nothing short of miraculous that someone stays in the market for that long, in my opinion,” said Jim McGee, Family Court Judge and WBTW anchor and reporter from 1982-1992.
And the “opinion” of so many at the station of Nicole is universal.
“She has totally helped me,” said Adrianna Seals, WBTW producer. “I aspire to be as well-rounded and well-versed of a journalist as Nicole is in our market.”
“She motivates you to be better because she is the best there is,” said Brian Quigley, WBTW director. “She brings energy, she brings enthusiasm and she makes you want to be better every day.”
“She’s always there to listen to you,” Patsy Kelly said. “We’ve had conversations about hard things and of course a lot of advice, not just about the news business, but personal things. She says she’s always going to be there for you and she always has been.”
“She’s everybody’s cheerleader and everybody has learned a lot from her and nobody can really fill her shoes,” Julie Calhoun said.
“We’ve had some really bright young people come through here and they have gone on to do so well and it just makes me so happy to see them shining bright at another TV station or whatever they do in life,” Nicole said. “It’s really a blessing to see that.”