Q&A: Chuck Roberts

Dec 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Chuck Roberts is a true survivor. A 21-year veteran of CNN2 and Headline News, he anchored the channel’s very first newscast, at midnight Jan. 1, 1982. He remains today one of the most popular and recognizable faces on Headline News.
Electronic Media: Headline News has gone through lots of changes over the years, and you have been there through it all. What’s your secret?
Chuck Roberts: I’ve sort of skated under the radar all these years. Headline News does not have the media attention that CNN domestic has, and I keep a pretty low profile.
EM: What was that first night like?
Mr. Roberts: The paint was still wet on the set. … We had a lot of problems at the outset. We were on a very low-priority power grid, and every time a storm would pass, we would get knocked off the air. … The TelePrompTer was paper driven, and our scripts were written on an electric typewriter … [but] we have stayed on the air and never looked back.
EM: Tell us about one of your most memorable moments on the set.
Mr. Roberts: The day the [space shuttle] Challenger blew up was a very memorable day, because we were live, and we had no guidance from NASA for about 90 seconds. Nobody knew what had really happened. I had no reference material. It was a terrible moment.
EM: Did you ever think that you would be around this long?
Mr. Roberts: It has been a privilege to have been here this long, to watch this thing evolve. Headline News has been a part of my life for more than 20 years, and I would not change anything, really. It’s something I will always be proud of.