Randy Bell has been covering Mississippi news for 38 years. He's thinking about making a career out of it. After getting his start in radio as a DJ at his hometown station in Vernon, Alabama (his first words on the air were introducing a song by Herman's Hermits), Randy thought he wanted to get involved in the technical side of the business. But after one semester of 8 AM labs, he decided a degree in Electrical Engineering at MSU wasn't a good idea and switched to Communications although he was already working in a local station and learning more about radio on the job than in school.
In 1975, Randy applied at WJDX as either a DJ or news reporter. Turns out, the station had an opening only in news and the rest is history. He has covered nine governors and six hurricanes, and has witnessed six executions. He has flown with the Blue Angels and had lunch at the White House.
Randy has been named Mississippi's Radio Newsperson of the Year 18 times and has won 21 national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He coordinates Mississippi's Emergency Alert System and helped develop the state's AMBER Alert plan.
He and his wife, Pat, have been married for 41 years and they have two children and five grandchildren.
Have you heard about the crazy ants? Entomology experts at MSU think the South American pest could become a widespread problem in Mississippi in the next 10-15 years. They're already on the coast and are spreading slowly to the north. Unlike fire ants, crazy ants don't sting-- but they can cause some other problems. They seem to be attracted to electrical equipment and have been known to crawl into computers and breaker boxes shorting them out. And they don't confine themselves to a mound. Once they take over a yard, they're everywhere. Their only redeeming value: they tend to push the fire ants out.