In a clear case of “what’s old is new again,” veteran broadcaster Dan Rather is going digital and slightly rogue.
Rather has inked a deal with Mashable and opened an independent production company with seed money from entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Both enviable endeavors for any broadcaster, but Rather is 83—and a product of the analog era.
For Mashable, Rather will report and analyze as he did in his article, “Why you shouldn’t get caught up in the 2016 election drama just yet,” published three days ago.
For News & Guts, he’ll meet with entertainers in “The Big Interview,” which pairs the former White House correspondent with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Don Rickles, Dolly Parton, Aaron Sorkin, Josh Groban and Weird Al Yankovic in an hour-long format. Dwight Yoakam and Bob Weir are set for August.
The deal with Cuban “is very meaningful work in that it keeps us in business while we look around for other things to do,” said Rather, as reported by ABC News. “We also continue looking to find a home to do the kind of work that is deepest within me and deepest within the people here—and that is first-class, quality journalism and deep-digging investigative reporting.”
Next up on The Big Interview: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Premieres Tuesday, July 21st on AXS-TV at 8 pm ET/5 pm CT pic.twitter.com/2F62OP042H
— Dan Rather (@TheDanRather) July 16, 2015
Such a pleasure to meet this one of a kind talent. pic.twitter.com/Q5U6SdKW25
— Dan Rather (@TheDanRather) July 15, 2015
— Dan Rather (@TheDanRather) July 13, 2015
In his 45 years at CBS, Rather covered everything from the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate, the space race, political conventions, to wars in Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the September 11 attack on New York City. But his exit was contentious, precipitated by his role in a discredited 2004 story about President George W. Bush’s military service over which he and CBS parted ways.
News & Guts is working on several projects he prefers to keep quiet about, but he knows today’s market is a different ballgame. “I’m finding it tough to convince anybody who is at the lever of the delivery systems of my belief that the market for this kind of news exists,” he told ABC News. “Time and again, the subject is changed, eyes glaze over and, either spoken or unspoken, the feeling is, ‘Dan, you can’t live in the past.'”
Fortunately, Mashable’s executive editor and chief content officer Jim Roberts appreciates the contrast of Rather’s old-school approach in a digital world. “He really does want to be part of the conversation,” Roberts said on ABC News. “Other people in his generation would have slowed down long ago or, more to the point, wouldn’t want to be part of the conversation—it’s chaotic, it’s crazy. He really wants to be part of it. He really wants to be in the thick of it.”
“I love to work,” said Rather. “I have my flaws and I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve always loved covering news and I have a passion for covering news. I couldn’t see myself not doing it as long as I have my health. I’d much rather wear out than rust out.”