KFOR-4 news anchor Linda Cavanaugh might have the most recognizable face in Oklahoma City TV news, having appeared on the airwaves for a quarter of a century.
But when Cavanaugh's out of the studio, she prefers to go unnoticed. The 49-year-old tomboy prefers to go without makeup and blend in with the crowd. She said most people don't recognize her until they hear her voice.
"If I don't have makeup on, people don't have a clue," Cavanaugh said with a chuckle. "One of my favorite co-anchors, Dan Slocum, used to say, 'You would scare wild dogs,' and he was right. It's a totally different look."
The professional approach Cavanaugh brings to KFOR is well recognizable, though. Cavanaugh, who anchors the 4:30 p.m. newcast and co-anchors with Kevin Ogle at 6 and 10 p.m., has won numorous awards for her anchoring and reporting. On Friday, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Her success has resulted in job inquiries from bigger markets, such as Boston, and networks, but Cavanaugh has no plans to leave Oklahoma. For her, family comes first.
"Two of my three sisters live within a block of me, so we're real close," she said. "That was more important to me."
Cavanaugh and her husband, University of Oklahoma economics professor Dr. Will Clark, grew up in Oklahoma. Cavanaugh graduated from Bishop McGuinness High School in 1969 and OU in 1973 as a Phi Beta Kappa. She met Clark, a Duncan native, while at OU.
The couple also likes raising their two children here. Paul is a senior at McGuinness, and Ann, whom Cavanaugh boasts is a better writer than she, is an eighth-grader.
Although Cavanaugh is a pioneer TV newswomen, she actually got started in journalism through print, interning with Redbook magazine and the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat during her summers at OU.
She also interned with Channel 4, but her first paying TV job was with KOCO-5, where she was a reporter and morning news anchor for two years.
When Clark finished his doctorate at the University of Virginia, Cavanaugh hosted a talk a show at WVIR in Charlottesville, Va.
She joined Channel 4 in 1977, and two years later became the market's first female co-anchor.
"At that time, Channel 4 was a pioneer in local TV news," she said. "I picked up some of the crumbs that they threw out along the way, things that you never learn in school."
Although Cavanaugh enjoys anchoring, her first love is documentaries.
In 1988, she said, she was the first non-network U.S. journalist allowed into the Soviet Union under its new "glasnost." Her documentary "From Red Soil to Red Square" showed that much of Oklahoma's wheat crop was ending up on tables of Russian families.
When the Murrah Building was bombed in 1995, Cavanugh was thousands of miles away, in Vietnam, producing "Remember the Dragon," a series on on American POW's experiences in prison camps.
Cavanugh learned of the horrendous act when she went to the rest room in the middle of the night and accidentally turned on the television, which was connected to a wall switch.
"It was on CNN, and I'm hearing (KFOR reporter) Tara Blume's voice," she said. "They were in this news conference with (district attorney) Bob Macy, and they kept talking about this horrific thing."
Cavanaugh said she has no idea how many more years she will work in TV news, but said when she leaves the airwaves she will be busy. She has numerous hobbies, including photography, gardening and painting.
"There will be life after television," she said, "because I have so much I like to do." Besides, working nights does have some advantages. When she comes home at 7:15 each night to eat with her family, dinner is waiting on the table, prepared by her husband.
"I'm so lucky," she said. "That man did not cook when we got married, but out of necessity I think he learned." Staff writer Mel Bracht can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 475-4106.Archive ID: 795108