GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Brent's bio page online begins "Life, and often times one's career can be a book of chapters...".
Now he begins writing a new chapter, or in this case, maybe an entirely new book. After decades of finding, collecting, and telling unique stories from around the state, Brent is putting away the pen but still collecting--pursuing a second career as a buyer and seller of coin collections.
“It’s been quite the 31 years in the West Michigan TV business,” said Brent. “The last full-time job I had that wasn’t in West Michigan TV was in the summer of 1989 when I was a lifeguard at Pleasure Island Water Park near Norton Shores where I grew up.“
Brent created his signature franchise, "Our Michigan Life", which set out to tell unique stories that capture viewers' attention and make them feel. From shipwrecks, to 103-year-old yoga instructors, to athletes overcoming adversity, to a former heroin addict seeking atonement for selling the drugs that killed his best friend, Brent's stories have had a lasting impact on viewers.
"Brent's stories ran the gamut of human experience. They were curiously interesting. They made you laugh, they made you cry, some even made you laugh so hard you cried," said Julie Flynn, 13 ON YOUR SIDE's News Director. "His contributions to the newscasts will be missed."
Brent's storytelling earned him 65 Michigan EMMY nominations, including 30 EMMY wins. He's also won 9 "Edward R. Murrow" awards, including a National Edward R. Murrow award in 2016 for his story entitled, "Big Ann", about a local student-athlete, AnnaLee Konsoer-Rose, who was fighting for her health during her senior year of high school after a rare diagnosis.
"People recognized the great work he was doing," said Dan Baylog, President and General Manager of 13 ON YOUR SIDE. "You always can tell a Brent Ashcroft story when you see it."
"My story is a unique one for this business," said Brent. "I've spent my entire career here in West Michigan. You never hear that kind of thing in the TV industry. But this is my home. And I am proud I was able to tell stories about it."
Brent started his West Michigan TV career during his junior year at Grand Valley State University. He was hired as a sports intern by the late Warren Reynolds at WOOD TV-8 in Grand Rapids. After graduating, he landed his first full-time TV job at WZZM TV-13 as a news photographer. Less than three years later, the sports desk called, and he got his start as a sports anchor/reporter.
Six years later, He became Sports Director of Fox 17 WXMI in Grand Rapids. He covered many major sports events: Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals three separate times; Ryder Cup in 2004; Pistons in the NBA Finals in 2004 & 2005, The MLB All-Star Game at Comerica Park; 2006 World Series; Super Bowl 40 in Detroit; PGA Championship in Detroit; Detroit Tigers Spring Training in Lakeland in 2007 & 2008, as well as NASCAR's Daytona 500 in both 2007 & 2008, not to mention all the high school and local college sports teams.
In June 2010, he bookended his career with a return to WZZM where he was able to dive deep into the storytelling that made him stand out.
As for the next chapter of the story, starting in January, Brent will be writing it as he joins his friend Ben at Grand Rapids Coins, a national and international buyer and seller of coin collections and precious metals.
“I’ve always been a history buff and few things possess more fascinating history than old coins, I’ve learned,” Brent said.
Together they will be opening a storefront in Rockford in 2022. We shall see where the story goes from there.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.