Milwaukee Talks: Channel 4 anchor Susan Kim
Podcast: Susan Kim talks about what's next in her career
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Susan Kim started at WTMJ-TV Channel 4 in 1994 on the assignment desk as a reporter. She's covered Milwaukee since then. Her easy-going style, sense of community and family have made her a Brew City TV favorite.
Now on "Live at Daybreak" beginning daily at 5 a.m., Kim and co-anchor Vince Vitrano share the stories of the day and their lives with viewers, and she uses Twitter.
Kim lives in Wales with her husband and three kids but finds plenty of time explore Milwaukee, dine out and take in her old stomping grounds in the Third Ward. But how does she balance early mornings, family and other priorities? We asked this and more.
Learn more about Kim in this edition of "Milwaukee Talks."
OnMilwaukee.com: You've been at Channel 4 now for 15 years. That's a long time. What's changed the most in your time in Milwaukee and your time in Milwaukee media?
Susan Kim: The whole city, especially Downtown. I remember when I first came to Milwaukee for my job interview. I thought it came off as kind of a working class town. I remember the roads -- does anybody fix the roads around here (laughter), because the freeway was all bumpy.
But, honestly, Milwaukee was really pretty. On my interview tour they took me around and they showed me the lake, and some things Downtown. I just thought "what a pretty city." I feel like it's changed a lot since then -- just in terms of what there is to do, the development, the kind of people who live here. It's really a lot more cosmopolitan than a lot of people think it is.
OMC: Where were you before Milwaukee?
SK: I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. Right out of college I went to Juneau, Alaska, for three months. And then I moved to Anchorage; a cool city, too, but it's a whole different way of life up there. It's (media) market size is 250 or so.
OMC: Tell me bit about "Daybreak" and your schedule during the day. How do you make it all work?
SK: Well, sometimes I feel like it's not working at all. (laughter) I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. But, I get up at 2:30 in the morning -- so that means I go to bed by 8 p.m. at the very latest.
I feel very lucky to have the kind of part-time job where it's a career, but I still have time to be with my kids. Many days, I'll go from (the studio) and I'll either work out or I'll go to my daughter's third-grade class to volunteer or help at a party for my first-grader or pick up my son at preschool.
I think a lot of parents are trying to find a balance in life and I feel lucky because I do feel like I have that balance.
The only (bad) part of it is that I have to get up at 2:30 in the morning and go to bed by 8. So, I'm tired all the time. But it's worth it.
OMC: What's it like seeing Vince Vitrano every morning at 4 a.m.?
SK: Well, he certainly keeps us on our toes and is always very fun and entertaining. TV news is a weird business because you're sitting up there at a desk with somebody and it's a very close relationship.
We talk about chemistry a lot in this business, and good chemistry is hard to find -- it only comes along every once in awhile. I do feel like I have that (chemistry) with Vince because we are very good friends and we know exactly what one another is thinking. So, we get along, and can kind of read each other's minds, as well. I feel very lucky to work with somebody like Vince.
OMC: What are you most proud of?
SK: In my life, I'm most proud of my kids. They're really good kids; they're fun and smart and good people. In terms of my career, it is the Community Baby Shower. It's something that I started with the station eight years ago; well we're going to have our eighth in January 2010. It's grown every year; an army of volunteers really makes it possible.
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I agree about people choosing to live way out in the boonies; too many people suck the life out of the city and then burn up a ton of gas fleeing at the end of the work day. If people like Kim and all the other anchors who live in Grafton, Wales, etc., would actually live here, they would not only have more credibility but would also make a real contribution to the survival of the city. I am a big fan of Susan and Vince, though; Vince is snarky, and his little sister Emily is great when she does the weather reports. Have to change channels when that ghastly nasal-voiced automaton Melissa McCrady comes on; can't stomach her. All things considered, though, Channel Four is the best in the morning that I've seen.
I'm originally from Milwaukee, but lived in Anchorage in the early 90's. I remember watching Susan's farewell on KTUU. Congrats on 15 years!
I catch it every morning before I'm off to work. Her and Vince are good together as morning anchors. It took going through two other stations whose anchors tried way too hard to be chummy with their viewers and telling lousy one-liners until I settled on 4.
I watch Susan, Vince and Craig everyday. Great way to wake up.
I agree - can't stand folks who are down about being Milwaukee. Susan is right about the many wonderful things the city has to offer, and where we're going. What I don't understand is why folks then choose to live way out in Wales.
Show me the other 4 Talkbacks
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