Dale Dixon was content in his post as news director and principle anchor at WVII-TV (Channel 7). But home beckoned.
After three years at Bangor’s ABC affiliate, Dixon will depart Wednesday, the last day of the May sweeps. He will then become an anchor and reporter at KTVB-TV in Boise, in his home state of Idaho. Dixon’s family lives within 30 miles of the station, while his wife’s family is five hours away.
“I wasn’t looking to move,” said Dixon, 26. “But the opportunity in Idaho was one of those things where everything fell in place and fit the parameters my wife and I had set. It was an anchor job at the No. 1 station in the state.”
Dixon landed in Bangor on Jan. 3, 1995, several days after graduating from the University of Idaho. He began as 11 p.m. anchor and nightside reporter, then got promoted to principal anchor after two months. Ten months after that, he was promoted to news director.
What Dixon appreciates most is the knowledge that he has gained while at WVII.
“It would be everything I’ve learned, from the basics of reporting to the administrative and management roles of being news director,” he said. “When you throw in anchoring and dealing with people, it covers a vast expanse of experience that not a lot of people my age have.”
Even though Dixon came to Bangor from college, he was a nontraditional student who already had quite a bit of experience.
While attending Boise State University for a year, he worked as a radio DJ-news reporter in Caldwell and as a cameraman at a TV station in Nampa.
While taking time off to figure out exactly what he wanted to do, Dixon ran the video department of a farm magazine, providing news stories to three in-state TV stations.
“That’s where I got my love for doing news, because I was doing it all — shooting, writing, doing interviews, editing, meeting people from all over,” he said. “That’s where the bug bit me.”
Dixon finished up his broadcast journalism degree in 3 1/2 years, picking up a criminal justice minor along the way. During that time, he also worked part time at KLEW in Lewiston, Idaho, filling in where needed.
Now Dixon is moving again, this time from Bangor, the 155th-biggest market in the United States, back to Boise, the 127th market. But unlike many newscasters, market size isn’t the main issue.
“It’s not really the jump” that’s important, he said. “It’s where I want to be for the next few years.”
At the NBC affiliate, Dixon will serve as a reporter three days a week and as weekend anchor, doing five newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.
He will be replacing the station’s departed political reporter, giving him the chance to renew old acquaintances.
“I’ll be getting my hands dirty in the political game, which I’m looking forward to,” Dixon said. “The people who are in office now were just running for their freshman terms when I was there. So my old connections will still be there.”
Dan Havens, WVII’s general manager, praised Dixon’s efforts, pointing to five recent Associated Press awards the station had received.
“Under Dale’s leadership, the look and focus of our early and late news blocks has moved into a very positive view in terms of the community and service to the community,” Havens said. “Our on-air look is excellent, and our local coverage is expanded and improved. Dale’s also been instrumental in developing a team attitude among every employee involved in our news operation.”
Havens said that he is a believer in promoting from within, but if the right person can’t be found, he will hire from outside for Dixon’s position.
“We want to find somebody as quickly as possible,” he said. “But I want the right person to fill the responsibilities that Dale currently handles. If it takes a little longer to find the right person, so be it.”