Sunday, January 8, 2012
Cam Man Ron Lee Exposed
Back in October the WBTV chyron wasn’t much help as Ron Lee reported live on a deadly shooting in West Charlotte. While Lee gave details of the shooting, the line “Man Killed to Death” was displayed at the bottom of the screen.
If you are an early morning person like Cedar Posts, you've become accustom to Ron Lee's in your face and over the top reporting style.
So who is the "Cam Man" and what makes him so entertaining?
"First up" there is Nothing about Ron Lee that is low key. But that is what everyone likes about the "Cam Man" who some have called the midnight avenger or nut case depending who you are asking.
A few weeks ago Cedar Posts had a conversation with another station's news producer and the subject of WBTV's Cam Man came up. We decided that if we ever had to cast a disaster film, say Armageddon 8 or something like that, we'd have Ron Lee play himself. He'd be perfect as the over the top all too serious news reporter, right up to the point where the city bus flipping end over end squished him mid sentence or a giant squid grabbed him from a hurricane damaged pier.
Then there is the wish to have Ron do the play by play of the Hindenburg disaster which would end with "Ron Lee WBTV On Your Side!"
Ron is in his forties and apparently a rabid fan of bands like Motley Crue and AC/DC. The image of a WBTV logo'd Van roaring up a rain soaked North Tryon Street with Ron Lee, his ipod max volume, rocking out to Highway to Hell or Dirty Deeds. Inside the van the bass competes for his attention with the police scanner, his mind totally amped up on Red Bull and Waffle House black coffee. Ron Lee is off to cover another Charlotte homicide, firey car crash or five alarm blaze.
But even on nights when things are quiet, Cam Man still manages to find a story to add his over the top style.
Cam Man vocabulary includes just about every news reporter cliche in the business and words like Authorities, Clash with Police, In the wake of, Killing Spree, Manhunt, Underwent Surgery, Ablaze, Cop Shop and Early Stages.
His twitter account bio is top shelf:
Me, a news camera and a bullet-proof vest, cruising the mean streets of Charlotte on the vampire shift.
A sample of Ron's over the top style:
A driver is facing charges after a collision with a scooter along Park Road left a man dead from his injuries. The roadway was shut down for hours late Wednesday night, and it wasn't going to reopen until investigators had their answers to what happened.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a Piaggio Moped, driven by Marty Wayne Thompson was headed inbound from the 3400 block of Park Road around 7pm. That's when a Honda CRV pulled out in front of him trying to make a left-hand turn. Thompson slammed on the brakes, and ended up laying the scooter down along the roadway.
Thompson collided with the rear of the Honda, his moped hitting another vehicle nearby. First responders rushed to the scene, but were not able to save the victim. Police roped off the area while the investigation began it's early stages.
The drivers of both the cars were interviewed, as well as witnesses in the area. Charges against the driver of the Honda were eventually leveled. Lauren Marie Martindale was hit with misdemeanor death my vehicle as well as failure to yield.
The driver of the Toyota Avalon, the other vehicle involved, was not charged.
Ron Lee isn't the only one guilty of over used words or phrases, two years ago WGN management issued a memo of 119 words and phrases that needed to go, that list is here.
Ron claims San Diego, California as his hometown, but he's made his home in the Carolina's for going on twenty years.
According to WBTV's web site Ron started out his broadcasting career at KNSD Channel 39 in San Diego.
His second day as an intern at KNSD-TV Channel 39 in San Diego, he was sent to a police shootout, where a man had barricaded himself inside a restaurant in the border town of San Ysidro. After spending hours crouched underneath the station's live truck ducking for cover from flying bullets, (both from the shooter as well as police) he realized he knew he wanted to do this for a living. Mostly because of his lack of math skills.
Ron later worked for WIS-TV in Columbia and then for a station in Charlotte which has an "S" in their call letters, thought he doesn't actually say which station on the WBTV site.
"he's reluctant to divulge the station's call letters because...in his words.."the nightmares have finally started going away".
Ron describes the transition from going from San Diego to Columbia in the middle of the summer as - "slamming your head in a car door over and over again for two years".
Ron has also worked in Charleston for WCIV NewsChannel 4, before being called back up the big leagues to work at WBTV.
Then in 2004, a manager at the station had an idea to send a photographer out to cover breaking news on his own, and on that day he became "The Cam Man".
Ron Lee is WBTV's on-air reporter for the morning show and you can catch him Monday-Friday from 5:00am-7:00am whenever there is breaking news and via twitter @WBTVCamMan.