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Published: Monday, 7/9/2001

Ottawa Hills native is a multimedia success story

Robert Rand loves telling in-depth stories - whether he does it on television, in newspapers and magazines, or, soon, in a book. He has never met a medium he didn't like.

The Ottawa Hills native was recently honored for his television work. He won a regional Emmy award for his investigative reporting on KCOP-TV in Los Angeles. The award-winning story - his third Emmy nomination in four years - was instrumental in the release from jail of a man who was wrongfully convicted 10 years ago.

The Los Angeles television market is intensely competitive, with 10 stations having local newscasts (three of which are in Spanish). Rand has worked on a freelance basis at KCOP for six years. He previously worked in full-time newsroom positions at television stations in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Miami.

Ottawa Hills native and kilt-clad Robert Rand: shown here with his fiancee, Laura Watson. Ottawa Hills native and kilt-clad Robert Rand: shown here with his fiancee, Laura Watson.
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He branched out into writing while in Miami, contributing stories to the Miami Herald's Sunday magazine from 1987-90.

“I left WPLG in Miami because I realized being a TV news manager wasn't much fun and had very little to do with journalism,” the former executive producer said.

Rand wound up in Los Angeles, where he parlayed his coverage of a high-profile murder trial - brothers Erik and Lyle Menendez were convicted of killing their parents - into a virtual multi-media enterprise. He made regular appearances on Court TV, as well as network morning news shows, during the first of two Menendez trials. He wrote two articles about the first trial for Playboy magazine. He even dabbled in radio, frequently appearing as a guest on a radio talk show in Los Angeles.

As if that wasn't enough Menendez coverage, Rand is writing a 500-page book about the brothers. It has a working title of Strange Sins and is due at bookstores early next year. Only one problem: The prolific writer's manuscript is already at 800 pages.

Rand, 50, enjoys the variety that his projects offer.

“Comparing TV to print is not easy,” he said. “They are very different sides of the same genre. ... I've found print to be a more satisfying journalistic experience. Since I like taking my time while writing magazine stories, it is sometimes nice to finance that leisure with a fast and easy TV payday.”

He is the son of retired commercial real estate broker and developer Robert Rand, 85, and cousin to Pete Silverman (president of the Toledo school board) and Judd Silverman (director of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic).

NEW HIRE: WTOL-TV, Channel 11, has hired Angela Brown as a producer/reporter, news director C.J. Beutien said. Brown was an associate producer at WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Before that, the University of Michigan graduate worked for television stations in Wilmington, N.C., and Fairbanks, Alaska. She replaces reporter Chris Casquejo, who left the station in June.

RADIO RATINGS: The much-anticipated results of Arbitron's spring survey won't arrive at local radio stations for a few more weeks, but we're nearly two weeks into the summer ratings period, which continues until Sept. 19.

Russ Lemmon's column on the local media appears Mondays. Readers may contact him at 1-419-724-6122, or e-mail rlemmon@theblade.com.



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