Whether you enthusiastically stayed up past midnight to kiss, toast and mumble your way through “Auld Lang Syne,” or were quite happy to fall asleep before the ball dropped, 2018 is behind us and it’s time to say hello to 2019.
Like many of us, I’ve always been someone who is somewhat comfortable with the status quo and can be a little apprehensive to change. However, I have made monumental changes all my life, some planned, some unexpected, and yet in the end, they have always pleasantly surprised me and turned out to be the road I was meant to travel.
After 14 years, I am about to once again shake things up! But before I do, I would like to reflect upon what has been a great decade plus four.
Back in 2003, after seven years as the main anchor for ABC15, I left my job to explore another passion, creating programing for film and television. My first concept was to produce a television show all about the state I had fallen in love with, Arizona.
So, with this newfound passion and excitement, I approached my friend Win Holden, the former publisher of Arizona Highways magazine and said, “I have this brilliant and unique idea, I want to create the Arizona Highways Television show.” Win looked at me with a half-smile and said, “Sewell, if I had a nickel for everyone who wanted to do the Arizona Highways Television show, we’d be rich.”
I quickly discovered that my idea was not so unique. However, despite all the inquiries and attempts to make it happen, no one had followed through with their big intentions.
It was a risk, a challenge and a big departure for this former TV news gal. I could always look for another news job and I would always look back and be thankful I wasn’t afraid to try or to fail. In other words, I would have no regrets that I didn’t pursue my dream.
The road to making this show a reality was not only uncharted, but it was full of bumps. First, I had never produced a syndicated television show and at the time, I couldn’t find anyone else here in town that had either. There were more naysayers and detractors than supporters and I remember that feeling of being overwhelmed as I searched for sponsors, a television station, a team and a crew who were as passionate as I was about this new and unproven production.
Fortunately, I found my people – believers and visionaries who were willing to take a chance and who had the guts and imagination to envision the state’s very own television show that showcases all that is beautiful and magical about Arizona.
Thanks to all of them, Win could now tell the next person that approached him about doing a show based on the famed and spectacular Arizona Highways magazine that it was already “in production.”
In 2004, Arizona Highways Television debuted on 12 News. Since then, we’ve expanded to Tucson, Yuma and a version of the show even appeared on the Travel Channel. To this day, people still ask me, “After all this time, aren’t you going to run out of stories?” And I always say, “The magazine has been around since 1925, we have plenty of catching up to do.”
Starting in February, Arizona Highways Television is moving to Channel 5 and Channel 3 to partner with Arizona’s Family. Instead of only being seen on one station, we will now harness the power of two. This gives us more opportunities to travel the state and share with our viewers all the treasures that dot Arizona highways and the stories of the people and places that make the Grand Canyon State unique and unforgettable.
I’m looking forward to a new year and a new beginning and I hope all of you will join us for the journey to our new destination.
— Robin Sewell is the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award winning Arizona Highways Television.