For more than 25 years, Rod Denson Sr. was a jack-of-all-trades at WETM.
Whether it was, well, being a weatherman, anchoring the news, working as an engineer at the station, or whatever it may be, Denson knew a lot about the news business, and how it all worked.
Beyond that, those who worked or knew Denson will remember how he helped make everyone who worked at WETM come to work more prepared for the next day, or helped to make them a better person.
“Rod loved the craft, he loved the work, he loved the process and he always gave that to whoever worked with him,” says Terry Day, who worked as the sports director with WETM from 1983-1999.
“He was all about, whether it was news, weather, engineering, whatever it was, he just loved the nuts and bolts of it, he loved being responsible for delivering it and he let you know that it was a responsibility. We had a job to do: to help get people the news.”
Rod’s passing, in a way, is the end to an era. As he worked alongside fellow WETM legends like the late Carl Proper, and the late Bruce Flaherty.
But what he did for young journalists coming to WETM, whether they came in while he worked there, or decades following his retirement, will always remember him as a teacher, mentor and friend.
“Rod was one of the three pillars of the news department over the years at the station, with the late Carl Proper and Bruce Flaherty,” says current WETM anchor Jeff Stone.
“He was very dedicated, very passionate about his job, and despite having a lot of responsibilities, because he was one of about six people in the news department back then, he always took the time to help the new guy out, like myself,” says Stone.
“He was always willing to help, both professionally but also just to be someone in the community that you could kind of lean on,” says Shannon Lins, who worked for WETM as a reporter from 2012-2014.
“Especially as a young reporter coming to a town like Elmira, which is a great place, but you don’t know that many people. And he was sort of a good connection to the community that could teach you a lot about history and about WETM and about how to get along in Elmira.”