ANCHORAGE, AK - A broadcasting career, which had a hint of its beginning in the Naselle valley, continues for Lars Peterson, a 1995 graduate of Naselle High School. Peterson is now the weekend sports anchor/reporter of KTUU-TV (an NBC affiliate) in Anchorage, Alaska. Peterson says, "I didn't write AK (on his written job description) because I actually had someone ask if it was Anchorage, Arkansas."
Peterson's journey to Alaska has taken him on a circuitous route from Naselle to the state with the motto "North to the Future." Peterson outlined the steps which he has taken, thus far, in the field of broadcast journalism.
"After graduating from Naselle in 1995 I attended Washington State University in Pullman where I received my bachelor's degree in communication," Peterson wrote. "During my time both in high school and college, I commercial fished with my dad (Larry Peterson of Kelso) for eight summers in Bristol Bay.
"Fishing in the summer helped me pay for my college education but when I graduated from WSU in the summer of 1999 I told my dad that was the last year I would go north." (Little did he know, at the time, that Alaska would again play a large role in his future).
When Peterson returned from Alaska that year, he interned for KTVZ-TV (an NBC affiliate) in Bend. Peterson said, "I worked my way up to weekend sports anchor/reporter. After six months at KTVZ, I was named sports director and worked there for three years with two of those years as sports director.
"In the summer of 2002 I told myself I did not want to be around for another football season and in early August I was hired by KTUU-TV in Anchorage. In the last week of August I hooked up a U-Haul trailer to my truck and started for Alaska. It took five days to drive up the Alaska Highway," Peterson explained.
Peterson is now the weekend sports anchor/reporter for KTUU. He said, "Ever since I came up here fishing for the first time, and even though I was a three hour plane ride from Anchorage, I always told myself I would like to return. It was funny the first week I was here, because I remember following a diesel pickup and it reminded me of being back on the boat in Bristol Bay!"
Peterson's broadcasting experiences in Alaska are giving him some experiences that he wouldn't have had in Bend or in any other stations in the "lower 48."
He explained, "The great thing about being in Alaska is that I get to cover a wide variety of sports that are unique to Alaska. This year I will be covering the Iditarod sled dog race which begins the first Saturday in March and takes racers from Anchorage to Nome, a 10-day trip through the bare Alaska wilderness.
"Alaskans also love their hockey and Anchorage has a minor league team plus a Division I team at the University of Alaska which plays in the Western Collegiate Hockey League. They play teams like Minnesota which won the NCAA Championship last year.
"They also have the Great Alaska Shootout, which has grown into one of the country's biggest preseason college basketball tournaments, over the Thanksgiving holiday.
"All in all, It's been a great ride so far. I don't know how long I will stay in Alaska, but I do plan on staying for at least two to four years. I'm hoping to make it back to the Northwest one day and eventually end up in Portland so I'll be close to home," Peterson concluded.
As for that broadcast beginning in Naselle ... Bruce Wise, Naselle High School English teacher, said, "Lars was a good student in his English classes in high school. Even in high school, I can remember, he wanted to be a sports announcer. He always had a good sense of humor and was not afraid of voicing his opinion on any topic."
Lyle Patterson, retired Naselle basketball coach, recalled, "We needed an announcer for the basketball games and Lars stepped right in and filled the spot very well. I believe that he was a high school junior at the time. He has moved right along in his chosen profession since then."
Peterson is the son of Sherry Hartline of Naselle and Larry Peterson of Kelso.