Recently I woke to discover on Facebook that my friend and mentor Joel Connable had died suddenly at the age of 39 after suffering a diabetic seizure.
I hadn’t seen Joel in years — since we’d both lived in Los Angeles, but we kept in touch online. Joel had just recently gotten married and moved from Miami to Seattle to relaunch his television career. He also had an adorable dog named Lola, whom I’m sure would have been great friends with Abby! Joel also hosted his own travel tv show with expert tips and trip adventures from around the world.
Joel was a wonderful, kind, funny man and a brilliant reporter. I had the fortune to meet him through Frank Mottek, my USC Newsradio professor and then KNX colleague. Joel came to speak to our class at USC — since he was a fellow broadcast journalism major at USC — and we became fast friends.
When I saw him around the CBS building one day (I was a News Writer at KNX 1070 upstairs, and he a reporter downstairs at KCBS2/KCAL9), he offered to take me on a reporter ride-along. I could not have been more thrilled. Most of my experience had been in radio, so this was a dream come true for me. We went on these ride-alongs about five times before the bosses decided it was a liability and banned the practice. These were some of my best days EVER! We had a really fun time — no matter the story we were assigned.
Joel was a wonderful mentor. We’d talk about the story we were covering, who we were interviewing and the best way to tell this story given our medium. It sounds like work, but it was a lot of fun. The photog (that’s what they call the person with the huge camera) drove and we’d start by picking up snacks and drinks. One time we covered the anniversary of the Santa Monica farmers’ market crash; another time we boarded a boat alongside a paraplegic man swimming to Catalina Island.
Joel would help me record my own intros and then we’d watch it back and he’d give me advice on how to improve different aspects of my craft. He was incredibly knowledgeable and talented.
I still remember his advice that my natural make-up made me look washed out on camera… I immediately signed up for USC’s Theater Make-up course and learned how to do camera-ready make-up!
Joel was a good friend and mentor I won’t ever forget. Rest in peace, Joel Connable. May your memory be a blessing. Sending my deepest condolences to his family.