If it seems youve been watching Steve Johnson for a long time your local television news, youre right. Currently the co-anchor with Lisa Washington on WHNT-TVs NewsChannel 19 early morning show, Johnson has been a familiar on-air face at Channel 19 for nearly 36 years. For the first 22 years, he was an acclaimed sportscaster in a crowded market of three fiercely competitive stations. Over the past 14 years, he has worked in straight news, first as a reporter and eventually as a news anchor. Whatever the assignment, Johnson has always been recognized as one of the regions most reliable TV journalists. Johnson, his brother and his parents moved from North Carolina to Huntsville in the 1960s when his father went to work for the Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal. I grew up during the heyday of the work that developed Americas first missiles and the moon program at Marshall Space Flight Center, said Johnson. One of my best memories is the way the whole town shook when they tested the Saturn 5s main engines. A Huntsville High graduate, Johnson majored in Journalism at Auburn University. His first job after college was in Anniston at a small TV station that no longer exists. He returned to Huntsville in May of 1977 as the youthful Sports Director at Channel 19. But by late 1999 he had started transitioning from sports to news, eventually moving up to Senior Reporter. Last October, his job changed again when he was named co-anchor on NewsChannel 19 This Morning. Johnson still has fond memories of his time in sports, although he finds it difficult to pinpoint a single favorite moment. I vividly remember covering Bear Bryants final game, and even as an Auburn fan, I knew that was special, he said. I also remember interviewing a legend like Dale Earnhardt on a regular basis. I covered some incredible games between Auburn and Alabama. As I think about it, I realize the most memorable thing for me as a sports journalist was meeting coaches and players and other athletes and making friends for life. These days, thats what I think about when I consider my sports career. Well, maybe that and the moment Bo went over the top in the Iron Bowl. His career nowadays revolves around the news side, with its own collection of memories. My favorite, he said, was covering NASA and our space program. I covered several shuttle launches, including the last one. Ive been fortunate to interview and get to know veterans of the Saturn 5 years. Its a point of pride for me that a great majority of the things accomplished at Marshall in the glory years were accomplished by engineers from Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State and every other southern school with an engineering program. This is one particular time that southern pride is warranted. Working in sports, Johnson said, helped make him a better news reporter. Certainly, when you cover a sports event, you have to pay attention, he said. Learning to talk to people is a very big thing in sports, and in news. When you want to talk to someone about a subject theyd rather not talk about, knowing how to talk to them is vital. I think the skills required for both are similar. Obviously, covering sports is more fun. Still, both sports and news reporters have to use the same basic skills, and both are required to tell a story that includes the important facts. Maybe the most important thing I learned as a sports reporter is not to let your personal biases get in the way of your job. I was an Auburn fan, and still am. But no Alabama player ever knew that. I learned to be a professional journalist. I wouldnt trade that for anything. Johnson enjoys running, motorcycling and collecting first edition books and art. He and his wife Sue have two married sons: Chris works at Huntsville Hospital and Wes lives in Auburn but works in Columbus, Ga.