Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Darby Douglas' near death experience, plus life after KHOU 11


UPDATE JUNE 11, 2014
Darby Douglas to return to KHOU 11

UPDATE JULY 16, 2014
Darby Douglas' father dies hours before his KHOU return

If you look at all the viewer comments that have come into the mikemcguff.com blog in support of Darby Douglas since he was terminated, you know one thing, the former KHOU 11 morning traffic anchor was very popular.

This native Houstonian helped commuters get to work on time from 1996-2009 on KHOU. He was voted "Houston's Ultimate Traffic Reporter" by the Houston Chronicle in 2005 and "Houston's Ultimate TV Personality" honorable mention in 2007. WATCH VIDEO OF HIM ON AIR

Douglas was kind enough to answer some questions for me over email about his time after Channel 11 KHOU and what's next for the Houston broadcaster.

Mike McGuff: So what have you been up to since leaving Channel 11?

Darby Douglas: I've been staying busy to say the least! First off, I must tell you that two weeks after KHOU terminated my services, I came down with pneumonia. It was a bad case. The doctor said had I waited much longer, I might not be interviewing with you right now. That was in mid March and after all the anti-biotics, inhalers and steroids they pumped into me, I was a physical mess. Hey, but I'm still here! The recovery has been slower than I expected, but then I'm no spring chicken. My lung capacity is just now starting to come back. I mean there for a while, walking up a flight of steps felt like running a mile. It would take 20 minutes to recover! Not fun. Anyway, while my recovery was slow going, my calendar was not. You see, I'm married to an Italian, part of the Mandola family. When you're married to an Italian, you inherit a lot of cousins. To date it's about one thousand and growing! There's always something going on in the family. Plus, I've been doing a lot of volunteer work. You know, emceeing events and golf tournaments (my favorite), volunteering at my daughter's high school when needed, and making road trips to Texas Tech for my oldest daughter. Now I have my Facebook page, I'm writing a blog called Darby's Alternate Route and I've downloaded a video on YouTube for anyone who would like to reminisce.

MM: Clearly lots of people miss you on the air, what reaction have you received from the public?

DD: The reaction has been amazing and quite humbling. Just the comments on your blog you did when you found out I was let go is amazing in itself! I googled my name after I started to recover from pneumonia and all the comments were of a positive nature. When does that ever happen? It is nice to know that people do care and that I was a part of their lives every morning. Even now, people come up to me and say that they miss waking up to me in the morning. I miss being there with them. Trust me.

I recently talked to an anonymous person at KHOU and this person said they still get multiple calls every day wondering where I am. I am told that KHOU had a forum on their website where you could make a comment but it has been removed.

MM: Why do you feel you connected with the public so much?

DD: You tell me! I will say this though, I have always made it my first priority to inform my viewers (hopefully intelligently) to the best of my ability. But right behind that, and I mean RIGHT behind that, I also wanted those who watched me to know me, know my family, know what I did not just for a living, but for fun. I wanted them to know me on a personal level (my wife still winces at that one) so if they saw me on the street, they wouldn't hesitate to come up to me and say hello. I hope I've done that. For the record, at this time my wife's hair is straight! Thank God for cooler weather.

MM: What are your future plans?

DD: To continue to volunteer my time to those that need me and get back to what I do best, entertaining others. I love doing traffic and I hope to continue to do that in some form or fashion, but there are other things I'd like to do. As you recently blogged, I had an audition for a guest host position on 790 "The Sports Animal" with Ted Deluca. That was a total rush! I could see myself being very comfortable doing something like that or even having my own show. I'd like to be the next Ed McMahon (God rest his soul), we need one! I want to run a 10K. After having pneumonia, I've come to cherish breathing. I even have plans to start my own foundation sometime in the future. Either way, I'm eagerly awaiting my next opportunity.

MM: What will you be writing about on your new blog?

DD: I'm going to write about the things that interest me. I know that sounds self-serving but I hope you won't take it that way. Look for me to write about local events in and around the Houston area as well as current events. If I'm doing something that will be in the public eye I'll give it a mention. I'll be writing about Tiger Woods (my wife wants to write a book about how Tiger ruined her life) and other sports stories as they arise. I might do some political commentary, but then again maybe not. We'll just have to wait and see.

MM: Anything else you want to add?

DD: Yes. First of all, thanks to you Mike for giving me a forum to reach out to those who have been looking for me. Secondly, I want to thank each and every person who has made a comment on the blogs (yours in particular), come up to me at all the events I've emceed, and have stopped me on the street or in a store to tell me how much I meant to them and how they miss me. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and I hope to reconnect to you soon. In the meantime, become a fan of mine on Facebook, or subscribe to my blog, Darby's Alternate Route to keep in touch. Otherwise, stay tuned...

UPDATE JUNE 11, 2014
Darby Douglas to return to KHOU 11

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