In the mid-1970s, Joan Lambert became the first female news broadcaster in Knoxville TV history when she began co-anchoring the news for what was then WTVK Channel 26.
Her career boost at a time when the proverbial glass ceiling was still much lower for women was no doubt aided by the fact that her husband, Duane Eastvold, happened to be the station’s general manager.
But this man who claims to have had an eye and, yes, an ear for talent knows he made the right choice after interviewing several people.
“She had done enough stuff and her voice was perfect for it,” he recalled. “She had everything we needed.”
For Lambert, it was simply an opportunity for which she was prepared.
“I loved news,” she said. “I remember (radio and early TV broadcaster) Edward R. Murrow. I was a fan of him and Walter Cronkite. I was not nervous.”
This historical moment happened quickly, but it took several years – and hundreds of miles – of preparation.
As the two talked recently along with their daughter, Terryl Oliver, from their home in the Suburban Hills area of West Knoxville, they said their careers began in North Dakota.
She grew up near future baseball star Roger Maris, but Duane was the one who made the big catch after meeting her at a roller rink in Fargo.
As a young man, he had become fascinated with television after seeing an on-air light at one station and thought that TV was the medium of the future. As a result, he would go on to become a TV news pioneer of his own.