WFAE's Mark Rumsey Reflects On 22 Years At The Helm Of 'All Things Considered'
After 22 years at WFAE helping listeners understand the dynamics of this region, Mark Rumsey is stepping away from the microphone Thursday night.
During Rumsey's time at WFAE, he served in various roles, including as news director. He's crafted thousands of newscasts, questioned politicians and pastors. Now, Rumsey sits on the other side of the microphone to give WFAE's "Morning Edition" host Lisa Worf an update on what's next.
Lisa Worf: So, 22 years. That's a long time. How's it feeling right now?
Mark Rumsey: It is a long time. It feels a little surreal. I've told this story that when I came to work at WFAE I told my family and maybe others that this was a place I could see myself working for 10 years, which in my career up to that point was a long stay, and it's worked out even better than that.
Worf: Over that time you've seen this region change a whole lot. What are some of the moments that shaped this region that are going to stick with you?
Rumsey: Yeah. When I came to WFAE in 1997, I guess we were really heading into that season of so much dramatic change in the local business and banking scene — all the bank mergers that helped shape the skyline and a lot of other things around this community. And then we were really just coming into the that era of Charlotte becoming a major league pro sports town, if you will.
The Hornets were of course already here, and the Panthers were here and just getting going strong and how that changed the landscape and the things that people talk about, and of course the demographic changes of the community and the growth and sort of the changing face of Charlotte as we used to refer to it. Those all made for a tremendous amount of stories to tell and things to watch and have a finger on the pulse of that.
Worf: Of those stories and of those interviews that you've done, what are some of those stories that really brought it home to you?
Rumsey: You know, I have to admit, looking back on on all of that now, there is a cyclical nature to the news, and that feeling can come at times that we've told all these stories before and we've told them over and over again. So, in that sense there there is a sameness to it.
But, at the same time, some of the things that I mentioned that were so significant for this community over the last couple of decades in the business scene, just the makeup of the community, the way people relate to each other in this community.
You know, I've I've had an interest in reporting on the faith communities in Charlotte and seeing the changes there, how Charlotte has gone from a community where in the old days it used to be said about being a city of 700 churches and a church on every corner, and now it's much more diverse than that. And so that's all been interesting to watch and talk to people over the years as that was unfolding.
Worf: I've always marveled at your unflappability on air and off air, too. How do you do that?
Rumsey: Oh, my. People say that. I hear that, and I appreciate that, and I have found an ability, somehow, in the midst of some of the big breaking stories that come along where there's a lot of intensity, maybe a lot of emotion and certainly a lot of moving parts, if you will, with the story to somehow get in a zone with the situation and me and the microphone and all the input that's coming in and just do my best to try to sort out the chaos, if you will.
I guess that process is something that I have felt privileged to be able to do in some really difficult stories, too.
Worf: So, what's next for you?
Rumsey: Well, a big change, as as you know. So, I'm going to be actually making a significant career and vocational change. I'll be stepping away from here and stepping into a yearlong residency program with one of the major local health care systems in the community here as a spiritual care or chaplain resident.
Worf: And why do you want to do this?
Rumsey: Oh, this is something that has been percolating with me for some time over the course of several years now — some study and training that I've done already that's geared in that direction. And I've had the opportunity to do a couple of courses of training with the hospitals locally in what is called clinical pastoral education, and it's basically learning the ways of hospital chaplaincy. And I've been fascinated by it. I'm finding that it is a different way to connect with people.
Worf: Well Charlotte listeners have learned a lot from you, and I've learned a lot from you, too, as a colleague. So, best of luck, Mark.
Rumsey: Thank you very much, Lisa. The feeling's mutual.
Worf: That's Mark Rumsey, "All Things Considered" host. It's his last day on the mic this afternoon.