After 30 years as a broadcast journalist in Colorado Springs, including four years as head of video operations for The Gazette, Eric Singer is trading the Centennial State for the Sunshine State, where he'll pursue new career opportunities and ample beach time.
As The Gazette's anchor/reporter and video editor, Eric has helped the newspaper evolve into a true multiplatform media company.
"Eric helped break new ground for Gazette Media," said Publisher Dan Steever. "Using his ability to connect with audience, honed as a former TV anchor, he leveraged The Gazette's huge reach online and in social media to build vast new digital audiences."
Before he helped usher in the digital age at The Gazette, Eric developed his craft as an anchor and reporter at KKTV 11 News and at KRDO-TV.
"I started on my birthday 30 years ago," Eric said. He began by writing stories for Hal Kennedy, then the longest-running anchor in town. Eric became KKTV's main anchor when Kennedy retired.
His most memorable story at Channel 11? "The Texas Seven," he said without hesitation. "It was a story about seven wanted men who escaped from a Texas prison and ended up in Woodland Park, where four were caught and one committed suicide."
Two others made it to a hotel on Garden of the Gods Road in Colorado Springs, where police eventually asked Eric to help negotiate their surrender.
"I was the closer," said Eric. "We owned the story from start to finish, so the officers thought they could trust me." And police thought the escapees would trust him as well.
His decision to help end the standoff was controversial, but Eric said he's always "felt that I had to be a citizen first and do whatever it takes to keep this community safe."
Eric also vividly remembers reporting on the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon fires, floods in Manitou and the Blizzard of '97.
Sometime after that blizzard, Eric said, a thankful watcher told him, "You helped my family because you helped get help to my grandfather who was dying. And couldn't get help."
Eric recalled the moment as irrefutable confirmation he had chosen the right profession. "That's what our job is as journalists: to tell the truth and to help others."
He moved to KRDO in 2006, where he started the first weekend morning show in the Colorado Springs market and the first noon news show for the station. He also became main anchor there.
In 2014, he convinced publisher Steever that The Gazette could marry long-form journalism with video and do a better job than most other platforms. "It's something I'd been working on for years," Eric said.
As a result, he's taken The Gazette's video report to new heights. Among his many inventions are Take 10, his weekly showcase of southern Colorado entertainers, and Get a Job Monday, which matches employers who need workers with workers who need jobs.
Eric also has been host for the company's Community Conversations, including last week's standing-room-only forum on homelessness.
While doing all that, Eric somehow managed to work part-time as a crisis management instructor at Argonne National Laboratory and as a Realtor. He's also run for City Council along the way.
Eric still is considering his options in Florida, as is his wife, Jerilyn, who has family there.
"As a native Coloradan, I've always loved the Centennial State and the people here. But sometimes it's time for a change," he said. "I like warmth, I like humidity, and I like beaches.
"I don't know what the next chapter holds." But, he said, "it will involve helping others and hopefully continuing sharpening my profession as a journalist. If you stop learning, you stop growing."