Spotlight Travels: Las Vegas with Jonathan McCall

Jonathan McCall is a television news anchor/reporter with Cox Media Group. He had the desire to become a newsman, watching local news at the age of 4. Jonathan grew up in Houston, but his career in TV news has moved him to Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Nevada, California and Oklahoma.

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Jonathan McCall

He’s had the opportunity to be on the scene of some of the country’s biggest stories including the copyright infringement trial of actor Tyler Perry, and was first on the scene as federal investigators raided the Las Vegas home of Dr. Conrad Murray as part of the Michael Jackson trial.

In 2013, Jonathan was named best News Anchor, and Breaking News reporter, by the Lone Star Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Jonathan grew up in Houston, but has lived in several states including Louisiana, Virginia, Nevada, California, and Oklahoma, thanks to his TV career.

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Having some fun

He also served as a certified forecaster in the United States Navy from 2003-2006. While in the Navy he had the chance to travel to several counties including Malta, Spain, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Seychelles, Bahamas and Italy.

HollyDayz: As a news anchor what has made Las Vegas stand out above the rest?
Jonathan McCall: There was never a shortage of news to cover… but Vegas definitely has an energy and feel I’ve never had in other markets that I’ve worked in. I remember one morning covering a preview for the ACM awards, then a double murder, and then a groundbreaking ceremony.. all in one shift.

HollyDayz: There are so many places to eat it can make your head spin, where is your favorite place to grab some food in Las Vegas?
Jonathan McCall: One of my favorite place is Hash House A Go Go… fusion with an American twist is the only way to describe it. I also enjoyed Gritz Café. It’s off the strip in North Las Vegas, but I went there every Sunday for brunch. I love their southern soul food. When I needed a BBQ fix… it was always the TC’s Rib Crib on Durango. Can’t beat the Mac n cheese.

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Out to eat in Las Vegas

HollyDayz: Living in Las Vegas and having been a news anchor there, what are a few common misconceptions people have of Vegas?
Jonathan McCall: People always believe the people there are very shallow, and don’t care, but it’s not the case at all. I think because it’s such a transient community people find things that that appeals to them and issues to champion.

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Jonathan reporting on the scene

HollyDayz: What was one of your favorite stories you covered in Las Vegas?
Jonathan McCall: Oh man! My first week in Vegas was shortly after Michael Jackson’s death. So I was sent to cover a raid on Conrad Murray’s home, and his office in Vegas. I’ve also had the chance to jump from the Stratosphere, but there’s always one name I’ll never forget.. Trevon Cole.  A man shot and killed by LVMPD during a drug raid at his home. Police confused him with another man with the same name in Houston.. who was arrested for drugs. So they (police) believe this guy.. who had just less than an ounce of weed was this major drug kingpin. Sitting through a trial to determine whether the officer was justified in shooting him was so tough. I watched his family, and his fiancée live through those agonizing moments. I’m glad his family got justice through a civil suit. Other stories of black men killed by police… always makes me think of him.

HollyDayz: There is so much to do in Vegas, what were some of your favorite activities?
Jonathan McCall: I always enjoyed going to the strip to buffets were some of my favorite. Red Rock, Mt Charleston, and Lake Las Vegas were some of the places….I also enjoyed taking a trip down to Primm to visit Buffalo Bill’s… especially to play the lottery.

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Hanging out in Vegas

HollyDayz: How was being a news anchor in Las Vegas differ from the other places you have been?
Jonathan McCall: Being able to learn to “run and gun” in Vegas.. has helped me to this day. Because there was so much news to cover somedays… I learned to be flexible, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I also learned how to just talk… about anything anytime. One time I was on the air for an hour straight during breaking news.

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Reporting from the Las Vegas Sign

HollyDayz: What makes Vegas special to you?
Jonathan McCall: I met a lot of wonderful, amazing, talented and special people there.. many I consider some of my most favorite people in the world. The opportunities I had, the fun and experience.. I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else.

HollyDayz: Describe Vegas to someone who has never been?
Jonathan McCall: For somebody who has never been I always describe it as Disney World for adults. It’s become more family friendly… but where else can you find strippers dancing in a plexi-glass box on wheels, people handing out smut numbers like baseball cards, but also see world class entertainment, get an amazing meal and do some world-class shopping. There’s no place like it.

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Hanging out on the strip

HollyDayz: Any tips for someone who has never been?
Jonathan McCall: Pack comfortable shoes. If you gamble, keep that money in a sock. The weather is always gorgeous. You won’t be disappointed.

For more on Jonathan McCall follow him on Twitter.

**All photos by Jonathan McCall**