Bill Green is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor schools and the University of Maine. While still 18, he was hired as a cameraman at Bangor TV station WLBZ (Channel 2) and found his lifelong passion. He became a sports anchor and eventually moved to WCSH-TV in Portland. Thirty-nine years later, he’s still in front of the camera as host of “Bill Green’s Maine,” which airs Saturday nights at 7. Bill will soon be celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary. He and his wife have two children who are both in college.
Q – How did your Bill Green Outdoors segment come about (whose idea, inspiration, etc.), and how did the transition from sports anchor to outdoor segment/show host go for you?
A – I grew up reading the Bangor Daily News with Bud Leavitt’s columns right on the sports page. When I became a sportscaster, I felt compelled to try to do some outdoor reporting amidst the stick and ball stuff. So, I would try to go out and do a feature here and there. The upper management really liked my feature reporting and thought we should do more. They basically had me start doing that at the expense of the more traditional sports. In the end, I was probably a better field reporter than I was a sports anchor.
Q – What did your collegiate education/preparation for a career consist of and did you go to school intending to study one thing and end up going in a different direction?
A – It did a lot. I got a job as a studio cameraman when I was 18. I was a freshman at Maine. I immediately decided to major in broadcasting. I loved it from day one. The station manager was a Harvard graduate named Ed Guernsey. I think he appreciated that I was getting a degree and working full time. He gave me a chance to be a sportscaster, and I remain very grateful. I’m also grateful to the university. It was really the one shot I had at college and I think I got a great education.
Q – What’s your most personally embarrassing TV/broadcast moment?
A – Oh, so many. Where do I begin? Leaving a camera on the roof of a car and driving off. Dropping an F-bomb during the commercial on Candlepin Challenge with Charlie Milan. The program was on tape and the master control operator missed the break getting my faux pas on the air! The night I ripped the baseball scores off the wire and ran to the set. I raced through the sportscast and grabbed the scores and — while live — discovered they were from the night before and that I didn’t have that night’s scores, so I crinkled them up and threw them over my shoulder. One of my favorite writers, Leigh Montville, was watching from his camp and reminds me of it every time he sees me to this day.
Q – What do you enjoy most, in terms of covering or broadcasting?
I enjoy the craft of storytelling on TV. I like to find a good story and create the vehicle to share it with people. I’ve really worked hard at getting better and still put a pretty good effort into what I do. Although you start with a good subject, the event isn’t all that important. I think it’s important to sort of get out of the way of a good story. I guess I really enjoy the variety of what I do.
Q – If you could have any other job in the world, what would it be?
A – I’d open a Coffee Pot. I’d put on a little black bow tie like Skip Rist. I’d give people a sandwich and they’d give me a dollar. At the end of the day, I would count my dollars and know if I had a good day or a bad day. In TV, the ratings come in once in a while, but it’s too esoteric. Managers and sales people can mess with those. Either that or I’d become Amish. I’d work all day and not worry about the Red Sox. We work really hard at living full lives and becoming “self-actualized.” In the end, who lives a more fulfilling life than the Amish?