CRANFORD, NJ — Ed Davenport’s last day at Cranford’s TV 35 will be Monday, July 31. “Aug. 1, I’m done,” he said. “It’s the first time in my life I never had a plan.”
Davenport began volunteering for Cranford’s local cable access channel in 1986. The station that now reaches more than 350,000 viewers in Cranford and nine neighboring towns on Comcast was just a public education and governmental access show back then.
“It was pretty rough in the beginning,” Davenport said. “It was a very small operation. We’ve come a long way.”
Davenport, who had been living in Cranford since 1978, decided to volunteer for the station because he felt it was a way that he could pay something back to the town for giving him a great place to live. While Davenport was in service, he traveled all over the world. He said, “I lived in Taiwan. I lived in Japan. All over the place. I never had a hometown before.”
But it was joining the Army that prepared Davenport for his career at TV 35. “In 1963, I went into the Army and took some tests to see what I was good at,” he said. “I found out I had high scores in electronics. I was guaranteed that I’d be in electronics if I went in the service. Little did I know it would lead me to Vietnam.”
After his time in service, Davenport attended Rutgers at night — beginning in Newark, then transferring to New Brunswick — and got a degree in management and marketing. He graduated from Rutgers in 1973 and was hired by Hoffmann-La Roche in Nutley two months later. He ended up as manager of corporate communications.
While working at Hoffmann-La Roche during the day, Davenport worked evenings at TV 35 three or four nights a week. Then, in 1993, he started his own company doing repair work on video equipment for schools. When TV 35 began paying him per diem, he dropped his company. He worked at both Hoffmann-La Roche and TV 35 until 2010, when he left Hoffman-LaRoche. “On a Friday, I left (Hoffmann-La) Roche, and on a Sunday started working here,” he said.
For those who would like to work as a studio manager, Davenport advises, “You have to love it. You have to love taking pictures and making things from nothing. You’re always showing your heart. When you edit things, if you make a mistake, you re-do. You don’t let mistakes go. You have to be able to put the time in. It’s not a 9 to 5 job. I come at 8:30 in the morning and sometimes don’t leave until midnight.”
Because Davenport stayed at the station for so long, he feels he gets a lot of attention, but wants it known that he loved working at TV 35 and “it was always a team.” And what he loved most was working with “the kids.”
While there is no set strategy, Davenport said, “I’m sure something will pop up. I’ll drop by and take a look at things.” In the meantime, he enjoys hanging out in the backyard with his wife and 2-year-old puppy.
For more information on TV 35, visit: https://www.cranfordnj.org/tv-35.
Photo Courtesy of Ed Davenport