"On the Road" turns 50: Steve Hartman opens up about iconic segment

50 years of life "On the Road"
50 years of life "On the Road" 03:08

Steve Hartman brings CBS Evening News viewers unique stories from around the country in his weekly "On the Road" segment on Fridays. Modeled after the legendary series of the same name which was originally reported by one of America's greatest TV storytellers -- the late newsman Charles Kuralt -- "On the Road" is marking a milestone as it turns 50 this week.

CBS News' Anthony Mason sat down with Steve Hartman and discussed what makes "On the Road" so special. For Hartman, the best part of his job is "meeting the people." 

"I went into this part of journalism because I didn't like competing for the lead story," Hartman explained. "I liked the people that you saw more at the end of the newscast. I just got along with them better. I was always nervous around celebrities and politicians, but I could go interview the guy who's the one-armed wood carver and I would get along great."

Hartman admitted that it's becoming more difficult to find quirky story topics, which is why the segment has evolved from Kuralt's days. 

"It's getting harder and harder to find the real eccentrics," he said. "Fortunately there's still a lot of people out there who are extraordinary in more ordinary ways, which is kind of where I've taken it."

Kuralt's legacy lives on as Hartman makes sure the stories are truly unforgettable.

"[Kuralt] felt like the news was too focused on the big cities and this was his way of going out and finding what he called regular people," Hartman said. "It's overwhelming. I mean, I really try not to think about it too much. I try not to think about whose footsteps I'm following in, and especially because I don't -- I can't live up to those footsteps. So I try not to think about it."

For 50 years, "On the Road" has delighted audiences, and there seem to be many more miles ahead -- and many more stories to tell.

Watch more of Steve Hartman's interview with Anthony Mason in the video above.