Mitch knew he wanted to be in broadcasting. Listening to Braves baseball, when he was in high school was exciting…but he really didn’t want to be a sports caster. A year after graduation he was in an Atlanta broadcasting school. Soon, he had a job as an FM DJ spinning middle-of-the-road music. After broadcasting school, he was a draftsman 8-5 an evening DJ 7-midnight, and later did AM station commercials from midnight until he was done. For the next fifteen years, he worked at 2 other major radio stations in Atlanta and was instrumental in building 2 more stations (including the REAL WKRP).
CNN’s Vice President Paul Amos called Mitch and asked if he was interested in Anchoring CNN Headline News. He started the next night. In addition, CNN Radio hired him for a fulltime shift as a radio anchorman (his real love). Mitch always said when he was on his way out of the business, just put me in a darkened studio with a microphone and let me go.
About a year later the head of the Foreign Desk, Jeanee Von Essen, asked him if he would be interested in going to the London Bureau to work on the Eurovision Desk. He had already been to England covering President Jimmy Carter and “The Friendship Force” in New Castle and again in Brussels, Belgium. Over the next 6 years, Mitch probably recorded several thousand news stories from London with his voice only and no on-camera. It was THE place to be if you are an international newsman…some of the biggest stories of the latter half of the 20th century took place in Europe.
Then the Middle East became a major story in world news. He remembers exactly…”I was interviewing British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on her front door step when it all hit the fan”. According to Executive Producer Robert Weiner in his book Live From Baghdad: Making Journalism History Behind the Lines, they needed someone to come to Baghdad to do some stories but there were no regular correspondents available. They wondered if Mitch Leopard would come in from London and do stories on and off. Once again, he was on the next plane!
It all began with Mitch secretly traveling with Peshmerga Guerillas in Northern Iraq from Syria with a handful of media guys before the war actually began near Kuwait. Many stories came out of The Gulf War.
Then it was Bosnia. The violence to reporters in Sarajevo was so intense that Mitch and a British partner manufactured 6 armored LandRovers which they rented out to the major networks. Mitch went freelance in 1991 and covered more of the Bosnia conflict Worldwide Television News out of a Sarajevo office. He was once asked to help an agent of the White House to get a message from President Bush to the Bosnian Prime Minister about how the US might be of assistance if peace were found.
In 1998 he returned to Atlanta…..went back to college and got his Master’s Degree and hung out his own shingle for Mitch Leopard Productions. And there you have it…Mitch is sitting in his darkened studio again narrating and producing audio books for 26 authors so far, including Bernard J. Fleury. Oh, and Mitch also substitute teaches on occasion. His students think he is the voice of Stewie on Family Guy.
Check out his latest stuff on: www.mitchleopard.com