You have heard their voices on radio and seen their faces on TV. Now The Blade goes behind the scenes to introduce you to your favorite media personalities. Stay Tuned appears the third Monday of every month.
First job: My first on-air TV job was at KECI-TV, Channel 13, the NBC affiliate in Missoula, Mont. Television markets are numbered by size. New York is market one, Los Angeles market two, and Chicago market three, and so on. Missoula is market 166.
Missoula is a small town of roughly 57,000 people nestled in one of the valleys of the Bitterroot Mountains. I am not joking that if you got outside the city limits, you could walk for days and not see anyone. The Rattlesnake Wilderness area begins on the edge of town. The Selway Bitterroot Wilderness area is just south. The Pintler, Mission Mountain, and Welcome Creek Wilderness areas are all within an hour's drive. The Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas are a two-hour's drive to the north. Combined, they are some 75 miles across and 180 miles long. It abuts Glacier National Park. Yellowstone National Park is a three-hour's drive to the south. That Brad Pitt movie A River Runs Through It was filmed primarily in and around Missoula.
Moving from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest was a culture shock to say the least. You were discouraged from leaving dog food or trash outside because the black bears were such a nuisance. In addition, one of the first news stories I did was about a mountain lion giving birth under an RV at a RV dealership. They had to relocate the animals, of course.
My first salary: $15,500. Luckily, I had a girlfriend who moved out there with me. She was the breadwinner in the house with her part-time job at the Gap.
My idol is: My mom. She was a single mother and raised me and my brother by herself on a salary of $25,000. She worked for 30 years at one job. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1998 of pneumonia associated with emphysema.
Most embarrassing TV moment: Wow, there have been quite a few I have a tendency to say things and not realize how they sound until afterwards.
Highlight of my career: Covering the 2000 wildland fire season for KECI. I got to work alongside reporters like Jim Avila, who at the time was working for NBC News. We were covering some of the same stories; he for the network and me for the local affiliate. Some of the video I shot was featured on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. I got to fly over some of the most intense fires you can imagine by plane and by helicopter.
My favorite thing to do outside of work: Spend time with my family, watch sports, college basketball, NFL, NASCAR. My wife pretty much watches and TiVos every reality show on television, so I also watch a lot of TV. And while it's pretty sad, I can probably give you a good update as to what's happening on The Bachelor.
I think Toledo's best-kept secret is: Raceway Park. To have a facility like that in our area that provides family events and an opportunity to watch horse racing is awesome! I can't wait until the season starts.
People may be surprised to know that I am: a bit shy. While I am typically outgoing, I do get shy when around people I do not know. They may also be surprised to find out that I have three kids, all under the age of 2.
In five years, I see myself: with no more kids than the three we have now, probably working in television and providing some of the best weather coverage in the area.
My dream job is: I really want to learn how to fly a helicopter and get my commercial license. My dream job would be to be a meteorologist/helicopter pilot providing weather and traffic reports while flying over a city, preferably with a warm climate.
Contact Kirk Baird at