ORLANDO, Fla. — Thursday marked 35 years since Action 9 consumer reporter Todd Ulrich joined WFTV Channel 9.
Ulrich has covered thousands of stories since joining Channel 9 in 1984, but he said three of the more memorable stories include "covering the Challenger disaster in 1986 and how it impacted the Space Coast community that day; exposing boy band king Lou Pearlman as a conman and unraveling his Ponzi scheme that hurt hundreds of local families; and the consumer coverage after each hurricane, helping homeowners recover and rebuild."
Ulrich said he began his career in broadcast journalism 40 years ago this month.
"My first year, I worked weekdays at WENY in Elmira, New York, as an anchor/reporter, and (on) weekends, I anchored at WBRE in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania," he said. "It was seven days a week, and (I) loved it."
From there, Ulrich said he became the weekday main anchor at WHP, the CBS affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
"It was frustrating and not a good fit," he said. "WFTV news director Bob Jordan came along at just the right time in 1984. I joined (the) Special Projects (team) that same year and added a part-time anchor shift."
Ulrich said he has had no regrets.
"I moved into the Action 9 office in 1991 and never looked back," he said. "It’s the TV news career I had been looking for, and (I) thank (former news director) Chris Schmidt for opening that door and (current news director) Matt Parcell for supporting that decision for so many years."
Ulrich said technology has improved since the early days of his career.
"My first TV news reports were on film," he said. "When covering a dayside story, we had to be back in the building by 2 p.m. for film processing so the story could air at 6 p.m."
He said he finds consumer reporting so rewarding "because of the results we can achieve for someone, and by telling that story we can help many other families avoid the same mistake or scam."
"Despite some company owners' claims, I’ve never tried to shut down any business," Ulrich said. "The best outcome is changing how that company does business. Fairness and ethics matter, and so does giving the consumer a chance to be heard."
Last year, Ulrich hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit about restaurant violations. Click here to read his responses to viewers' questions about his reporting.
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