Past Television Career
News Stories And Outtakes
Robert Hilliard, Steve Lee and Bobby Perdue leave KLTV
Ken Bora Jury Selection - Robert Hilliard Photographer
Robert Hilliard School Board news story outtakes
Sailing - Robert Hilliard Reporting
Stage Violence - Robert Hilliard Reporting
Tie Spoof with KTBB
Texas Cyclone - Robert Hilliard Reporting
Weed Bust In Smith County - Robert Hilliard Reporting
Past Video Resume for Robert Hilliard
Robert Hilliard in 1972 (17 years of age) on the studio set of KLTV News.
The days and nights chasing car wrecks, fires and ambulances. The time spent shooting and writing human interest stories. It all began on a dark, stormy night in 1972. Well, it wasn't dark or stormy, but it was August of 1972.
I was hired as a part-time studio camerman at Channel 7, KLTV-TV in Tyler, Texas. I was 17 years old, still in high school and looking for a life of excitement and a promising career. After working for a local grocery chain the previous year, I asked my vocational teacher at John Tyler High School, Tyler, Texas, if there were any exciting jobs available. A couple of months later, I found myself working behind a camera the size of my bedroom in a studio located in a refurbished airplane hanger. Eventually, I worked at just about every job there was at KLTV...Cameraman, Technical Director,
Robert running studio camera at KLTV (1972).
I involved myself in many human interest stories such as the documentary on the New London School Disaster. I met and photographed President Gerald Ford when he visited Tyler. And let's not forget Ronald Reagan, who came to Tyler campaigning for the Presidency. I learned to use a myriad of camera equipment in 16mm film as well as video cameras and videotape. I became friends with and worked alongside a number of dedicated individuals such as Michael and Sandra Brown, Joan Hallmark, Bobby Perdue, Steve Lee, Dena Marks,
Robert shooting a story from a Tyler refinery about the process of producing gasoline (1975).
We all strive to move up the ladder and better ourselves. I certainly was no exception. For a number of years I pursued my dream of working in the Dallas/Ft. Worth television market. I applied at all of the stations and eventually was offered an Editor/Videographer position at KDFW-TV, Channel 4 in Dallas which was the CBS affiliate at the time. I was ecstatic when Channel 4 offered me the job. Now, I had the opportunity to get into the Dallas area and work for a major TV station. My ultimate career dream had always been to work for Belo Broadcasting at WFAA-TV, Channel 8, but that never materialized.
At this same time Bobby Perdue, Steve Lee and I were seriously talking about leaving KLTV to start our own production company in Tyler. So, I had to make a decision. Go with Channel 4 or go with Bobby and Steve. After a lot of soul-searching, I made the decision to leave KLTV and start LPH Productions, Inc. with Bobby and Steve. It was the first independently owned production company in East Texas. As you might have guessed, the name 'LPH' came from Lee, Perdue and Hilliard.
Robert shooting in the Canadian peat bogs for a horticulture show near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (1981).
Robert directing a live program from the Channel 18 Production Van (1983).
In 1985, after having my fill of LPTV stations, I was offered a job as Station Manager of a new full power TV station that was going on the air in East Texas. KTRG, Channel 56 was to be the new NBC affiliate for Tyler and Longview and showed a lot of promise.
I was hired by the owner, Thomas Robert Gilchrist, (hence the TRG of KTRG) and for a short time, all seemed to be going well. I traveled to New York and helped Thomas Robert negotiate a contract with NBC and I made plans for buying equipment and hiring personnel. Good things always come to an end and this project was no exception. It appeared that Robert Gilchrist had filed for bankruptcy right after he hired me. I wasn't aware of his financial situation until the bankruptcy court sent representatives to the office to seize assets. I was asked by the bankruptcy court to oversee the operations of the TV station and 10 small cable companies that Robert Gilchrist owned until suitable buyers were found to purchase the assets. Buyers did come along eventually and the station made it on the air. You know it today as KETK-TV, Channel 56.
Don't get me wrong, the television profession is a good one. There are thousands that work in and love this profession and they are a credit to their craft. May the Angel of the Airwaves be with all of them. As for me? I harbor no regrets. Sometimes destiny has a funny way of letting us know that change is sometimes needed and inevitable.
Robert Hilliard running camera at KLTV, Channel 7.
Robert Hilliard and Hal Collins running camera at KLTV, Channel 7.
Robert Hilliard running camera at KLTV, Channel 7.
John Bass (Left) and Ralph Johnson on set.
Robert Hilliard running camera. Studios were located at the corner of Loop 323 and East Erwin.
Supplement to the Longview Post dated July 17, 1975
Special thanks to Phil Burks for providing this document