Figuring It Out

One of the toughest things for me – moving from sports to news – is the sudden increase of air time. In sports, I was on the air three minutes at a time, maybe a total of 10-15 minutes a day. Now, I spend two straight hours on the anchor desk presenting the day’s news, while playing traffic cop and bringing in weather and traffic reports.

It’s become easier during these first two months – so much so that sometimes it’s hard to keep sharp mentally. At times, stories will run together and you will feel like every other word out of your mouth is the time and temperature.

Co-anchor Kelly Frey keeps things interesting as during the breaks, we’ll talk about everything from her gardening to my golf, but early in our partnership, we started doing something that keeps us both sharp during the final half-hour of the show — and something you don’t see at home.

We have a copy of the Trib on the anchor desk for us to peruse during the morning show and one day – around 6:30am – I pulled out the crossword puzzle and started doing it during the commercial break. Kelly looked over and suddenly started helping me with the puzzle. Turns out we both love puzzles. That’s when it began. Each morning, around 6:30am, we’ll get the crossword puzzle and try to figure it out before we go off the air at 7pm. So when do we have time to finish the puzzle” During commercial breaks, during weather ( Sorry, Demetrius ) and during traffic ( sorry, Melanie ). It’s become a fun thing we do together and not only has it sharpened our minds, I think it helps when we appear on camera because we really are a team – working on the set and behind the scenes.

The only bummer is when we don’t finish a puzzle. Sometimes, we’ll stay on the set until after 7pm to finish it or – if we feel like cheating – asking Pat who runs our teleprompter in the studio because he is a wealth of information and also pretty good at these crossword puzzles.

Speaking of puzzle answers, does anyone out there know the six-letter word for “smart teachers”? I’m kind of stumped this morning. Then again, my puzzle partner – Kelly – has the morning off.

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