The clear, competent voice of KSWO's Jan Stratton has echoed through living rooms in Southwest Oklahoma for more than three decades, her words advising and interpreting in times of need, comforting and relieving in times of distress.
Having fulfilled the roles of reporter, anchor, producer and director at different and sometimes simultaneous times throughout her career, Stratton will sign off of the air one last time following the 5 p.m. Friday newscast.
"My children kept asking me, 'You keep talking about it, when's the day?,'" Stratton said. "So I thought, I'm just going to set a date in my head. I have no idea why Jan. 31 became the date it just seemed to be the day so I gave my notice 90 days out and I never looked back."
Devising a plan and sticking to it "never looking back," Stratton calls it is part of her steadfast ideology. It's a sentiment that has led her to more than a successful career; it has led her to a fulfilling life.
"It never ever occurred to me to say, 'I can't do this,'" Stratton said, reminiscing on her personal and professional experiences. "I always said, 'Well, I'm going to do this, and I'm going to figure it out.' You've got to keep one foot in front of the other and just do it."
Stratton had originally interviewed with KSWO in 1980 after learning that the station was looking to expand its news department. With no prior experience in the media, however, she was hired as the public affairs director.
Determination, charisma and the ability to maneuver earned her quick promotions. She transitioned to the news side of things a year later.
"I didn't know a thing," she said, recalling her first few months. "I didn't know how to get it from here to the TV screen. There was nobody to teach me, because the job I had hadn't been filled for two years. But I learned. I asked question after question after question, and everyone was wonderful and I caught on. It took very little time within two weeks I think I kind of had it figured out."