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Remembering legendary reporter Bill Bonds

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Sander J. Rabinowitz
/
Wikipedia

His former boss remarked that Bill Bonds could "read the telephone book and make you pay attention." The legendary Detroit TV anchor died over the weekend at age 82.

Anyone who watched television in Southeast Michigan from the 1960s into the mid 90s knew Bill Bonds. 

Dick Kernen with the Specs Howard School of Media Arts, who actually worked with Bill Bonds, is here to discuss his life and influence.

Kernen says he once received a question from a reporter at the Detroit Free Press, asking if it was possible to teach students to be more like Bill Bonds. 

“If we could teach that," Kernan replied, "you couldn’t afford to come here.”

Kernen says Bonds was a special and unique man, capable of being straightforward and blunt with anyone, but that he was also very charming.

What viewers expected from Bonds, Kernen says, was the simply the truth. Bonds wasn’t the type of reporter to leave out any unflattering information or "gild the lily," as Kernen puts it. Kernen says Bonds would tell a story like it was, and viewers could expect honesty and  consistency in his reporting.

Kernen says that nowadays, reporters would find it difficult, to say the least, to replicate what Bonds did and still keep their job. To be able to pull something off like what Bonds did, Kernen says, a reporter would have to have come a long way in establishing their presence. Bonds, according to Kernen, had a unique presence that commanded respect and allowed him to report on his own terms. 

*Listen to our discussion on the influence of Bill Bonds with Dick Kernen above

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