Linda Carson Speaker 11/12/2015

Linda Carson Inspires  LWR Women’s Club

By Monika Templeman, LWRWC Publicity Chair

On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, the amazing Linda Carson from ABC 7, gave an inspirational presentation to the LWR Women’s Club at their General Monthly Meeting held at the Lakewood Ranch Town Hall. Famous for her “Amazing Suncoast Woman” segments on ABC 7, Linda shared highlights of her own fascinating life and dynamic career as a trailblazer in the male dominated field of TV News. Linda joined ABC 7 in 1995 and is currently a general assignment reporter and renowned local celebrity. She also covers local entertainment news on “Event of the Week” every Wednesday and “Suncoast Scene” on Thursdays.

L-R,Wilma Nourie, Janet Stickle, and Linda Carson sit in front row at LWRWC Nov meeting

L-R,Wilma Nourie, Janet Stickle, and Linda Carson sit in front row at LWRWC Nov meeting

After graduating from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, Linda was determined to have a career in television. From her initial start doing commercials in Atlanta, including Coke commercials for the Bear Bryant Show, on her rise to national prominence, to her exciting life in the world of football with her beloved late husband, Bud Carson, Linda has led a truly amazing life.

LWRWC president Patti Wrobel gives orchid to Linda Carson

LWRWC president Patti Wrobel gives orchid to Linda Carson

After more than 50 years in the business, she has seen and done it all and is still going strong! Watching this brilliant, beautiful, warm and vivacious dynamo speak, the ladies were certain they misheard when she proudly announced that she had celebrated her 77th birthday twice on the Air with fanfare from her friends and a Special K cake as a tribute to her passion for the cereal.

They immediately proclaimed her a role model for embracing life, defying age and discovering the fountain of youth. In fact, Linda shared  that her mature age was now a plus because she has the great joy to be free express herself and is able to say things that she would never admit if her mother was still alive.

When Linda started her TV career in 1964 as a “TV Weather Girl” at Channel 11 in Atlanta, she was told it would be a short career because a woman wouldn’t be accepted on television after she was 30. Linda dispelled this assumption and went on to become one of the first female TV reporters and one of the first prime time female anchors in the country and is still reporting the news at ABC 7 in Sarasota. According to Linda, at 77 she is having the most fun she has ever had and it just keeps getting better.

Linda Covered the 1960 Civil Rights Movement

The LWRWC members were particularly impressed with Linda’s poignant account of how, as a young reporter in Atlanta in the 60s, she was assigned to cover the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on Coretta Scott King. She spent a lot of time with the Kings and. covered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s civil rights movement marches, demonstrations, and his sermons at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King’s family had pastored for 80 years.

When Coretta Scott King marched with her husband, Linda followed. When Dr. King went to jail, Linda waited with Coretta King at her home. When Linda asked Mrs. King how she explained to their four children that daddy was in jail, Mrs. King replied that “They thought of jail going as a badge of honor, rather than a disgrace but the real issue was explain that tragedy could strike at any moment.’ These were prophetic words because Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated three days later. Linda was in her newsroom when she learned that Dr. King had been shot and she went to Mrs. King’s home with the Atlanta mayor to tell her the tragic news. Having become a close confidant, Coretta Scott King, reached out to Linda in the hours after the assassination and Linda was one of the many reporters jammed outside the church at Dr. King’s funeral. Years later, when Linda was a reporter in Kansas City in 1986 (the year Dr. King’s birthday became a national holiday), Coretta. King invited Linda to come back and spend that day with her to talk about her husband and his work.

Received the Associated Press Award

Linda proved herself as a top reporter and received the Associated Press Award for her death row interview of Serial Killer Danny Rolling. Ironically, that interview was the result of her maternal desire to safeguard her daughter. Linda asked Rolling for the interview as a way to help her daughter and other young women learn how to protect themselves from killers like him. Surprisingly, this request touched this hardened sociopath and motivated him to grant Linda the interview although he denied all other prior interview requests His number one piece of advice was to get a dog that barks!

Moved to Sarasota in 1995

In 1995, her husband Bud Carson’s semi-retirement led them to Sarasota, where Linda would bring her extensive TV reporting experience Memeb to ABC 7. Despite predictions that she would be relegated to “fish stories” if she moved to Florida,  Linda’s job covering the Suncoast has put her at the very forefront of news. She was in the classroom at Emma E. Booker Elementary School on 9//11 when the terrorist attacks stunned the Nation and she accompanied President George Bush to the media center at the school where he addressed the Country about the horrendous attacks in New York City. She continued to follow the story when the next day when the world discovered the terrorists had actually taken their flying lessons in the Sarasota area.

WC Donates Birthday Bags to Hope

Laurel Lynch [Hope], Monika Templeman and Linda display Birthday Bags

Laurel Lynch [Hope], Monika Templeman and Linda display Birthday Bags

 Hope’s Executive Director, Laurel Lynch was also an honored guest at the meeting and was presented with the multitude of wonderful birthday bags. Each bag was filled with everything needed to throw a complete party for children whose lives were marred by the terror of domestic violence and for whom simple pleasures mean so much.

Hope Family Services Inc  is Manatee County’s only domestic violence Safe Shelter. Services included counseling for victims of domestic violence, parenting support and counseling for children of victims. With media’s attention focused on the long-standing epidemic of domestic abuse, community awareness of HOPE’s mission continues to grow.