Spotlight COlorado  

Have You Met?

When Bob Kendrick is unscripted and unplugged, he’s the funniest guy around! I was totally captivated with Bob’s charm, knowledge of the world, and self-deprecating, George Clooney-style sense of humor.

Kendrick co-anchors 9News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. with Adele Arakawa. He has 26 years of radio and television broadcasting experience; starting his career at a small radio station in northern British Columbia, and then on to ABC Action News WFTS-TV (as one of the original members of the team) in Tampa, Florida. He has won two Edward R. Murrow awards for excellence in feature reporting from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, and he's a five-time Emmy winner and six-time nominee from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Bob has come a long way from the early days of holding down part-time jobs like working as the only Caucasian waiter at a Chinese lunch buffet, being a newspaper music critic, bingo calling and hauling logs. Bob recalls during his bingo calling stint: "As the only time I actually fell asleep while in the act of broadcasting."

Bob Kendrick enthuses: “Always look Up!” and that’s just what Bob has done from the time he entered the news industry at only 19. As the overnight announcer at a 500-watt radio station in Northern British Columbia, Kendrick quips: “They were the only broadcaster in North America who would hire me.”

The more serious side of Bob believes in working hard, being patient, doing things at the right pace, and waiting for the “crack in the door” to be open.

A devoted family man and a real gentleman, Bob Kendrick is a pleasure to welcome into your home each evening. Getting to visit with Bob outside of the newsroom, you get a glimpse of a man who realizes the therapeutic value of humor.

Going back to when you first started with 9News to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment? That they keep paying me; and Adele is still speaking to me.

What influenced you to accept the offer to come to Denver and be the 9News Anchor? At the time, I was a #3 anchor working for the 5th place horse in a 4 horse race. KUSA offered me a job as a #1 anchor at the #1 station – and one of the best in the country. I’m no mathematician, but that seemed like a step up.

So, how do you like living in Colorado? We just love it. The climate is the best I’ve known, and it’s important for us to show Lucy how to get her kicks in nature. So far so good.

Will Denver be your forever home, or is there somewhere else you would like to live - someday? By pure fluke, I’ve lived in a lot of the most desirable retirement destinations in North America, so we’ve done our homework. If we win the lottery, we’ll be spending part of the year in Victoria, BC and part here so we can ski. If not, we’ll be living at the “A Bar G Motor Lodge” on Colfax, year round. Or, at least I will be.

What do you enjoy the most about being a news anchor? Apart from getting to pretend I’m a know-it-all, it’s enormously gratifying to be entrusted with presenting the team’s collective effort each day.

Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you whenever you needed their input? My own gut for professional guidance. My dad for personal. Both are batting 1000.

Being a TV News Person and having “hot off the press” access, is there still a magazine you really look forward to reading as soon as it arrives? My guilty pleasure is Vanity Fair Just can’t seem to get enough of the rich and aimless as they unravel.

You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met? In my experience, people are at their most interesting in private. One of the best arenas in which I met an interesting person was the Florida Everglades. Renowned Florida photographer, Clyde Butcher, and I were in water up to our necks in a swamp behind his home there. Clyde was waiting for the light to be “just so” on a wild orchid. We’d been standing there for about two hours, talking and waiting. At one point, a large snake swam by about a foot from my face, and I thought “This is the most interesting conversation I’ve ever wanted to flee from.”

I understand you and Kealy have always been quite athletic - running triathlons, marathons, etc.? Are you still doing all of that? Yes, although “athletic” implies ability. I merely have dedication. A daily newscast is absolutely analogous to playing a professional team sport. Put simply, in the newsroom is where I compete every day. I ride a high when we win – I’m devastated when we lose, and I perform poorly. But participating in a running event, or a tri, is the payoff for the dedication it took to get fit enough to participate. For me, that’s enough.

You are such a fun guy with a great wit and sense of humor, how do you manage to be so professional on TV? Off the air, I’m much freer to embrace my inner dork. Candidly, news content doesn’t always lend itself to levity – but I think, our anchor roster is a nice blend of sensitive people, who are good judges of when to let their hair down a bit and are able to do so naturally – because it’s who they are.

How many personalities do you think you have? A lot. Including a paranoid one that wants to know why you are asking.

What famous person in history – alive or dead – would you like to trade places with for one day – and why? Never ask a history buff for just one. I would like to be alongside William the Conqueror on October 14, 1066. The repercussions of his victory that day at Hastings and his subsequent rule of England would be felt in everything that nation touched for 800 years - that was pretty much the entire planet.

You have often been asked to moderate debates for political candidates. Do you think people can really get a good read on the candidates this way? It’s not a BAD way. I believe that the ability to debate a position is critical for an effective legislator. I like debates because, if a candidate’s position is attacked, you get to hear their defense immediately. However, many sources should be accessed to really “know” you’re casting a vote for the person who best reflects your values and agenda. I believe the savvy voter “shops around” and makes a debate part of that trip.

How about TV political ads; do you think people take them seriously? Yes. Unfortunately.

In your bio, it says that you won the “Hampton Dunn Award” for best historical coverage in Florida. Sounds very prestigious, can you tell us about the award? I’m not sure it’s prestigious, but I’m proud of it, because of the man for whom it’s named. Hampton Dunn was a longtime historical feature writer for the “Tampa Tribune.” He also authored numerous books on the state’s history. For a number of years in Tampa, I was part of a team that produced long form feature pieces that brought some of that history to TV. We were awarded it by the University of South Florida. A nice moment for a guy who barely got his G.E.D.

You emcee quite often for non-profits; is there a charitable event you really look forward to being at each year? When the audience is attentive, it’s hard to have a bad night when you get to use equipment that makes your voice very loud. My wife Kealy usually pulls me out of “Cocktails & Karaoke” both amused and embarrassed. The “Hispanic Salute” is always a great night and so is “Blacktie & Tennis Shoes” for Outward Bound.

What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to 9News? I’m pretty good at getting out of the way while Adele, Kathy and Drew make the very difficult look very easy. As a typically irreverent Canadian, I also dole out the occasional lesson in political incorrectness, just so we can all remember what that’s like.

What do you see as your greatest challenge at this time? Getting my daughter, Lucy, to practice even a reasonable facsimile of obedience.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Knowing when you have enough and to that end, I like T.S. Eliot’s idea: “To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing, that is enough for one man’s life.”

What is the most important thing you have learned through the years? To never sing where I might be heard.

How do you relax? - Do you have a favorite vacation spot? I’m not sure I ever relax – but if you have a pint of Newcastle and a soccer match on TV, I can be bribed to sit still for a spell. As for favorite vacation spots – Desolation Sound in British Columbia - and London.

What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of? Encouragement.

With what you have seen in the news on a day-to-day basis, how can we reach out to other people in the world? First off, by learning about other countries and not just the ones we’re fighting at that moment. When you know nothing about other countries, their pride, their influence, their geography, their agenda, then it’s easy to dismiss them and then believe your country can go it alone. I believe that showing another nation that your people have taken the time to learn about them and understand them, shows you respect them. Not a bad starting place in the foreign policy realm.

What can always make you laugh? High-brow humor; usually of British origin; Drew Soicher; headlines in “The Onion”; and Jon Stewart.

Is there something that can bring tears to your eyes? Aside from the Broncos offense, pretty much anything involving dads and daughters. That darn commercial where the dad goes to dance with his daughter at the wedding and keeps seeing her as a child. I need to lay down with a cold compress after stuff like that.

Is there a fond childhood memory you can share with us? Freedom. Freedom which began each morning at 8 o'clock and was usually preceded by the command, "Robert, leave this house immediately and don't come back until dinner!". When I was 8, I used that opportunity to go get a job at the dockyard.

When you were a little boy, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? My wife tells me I’m still a little boy. It’s funny, I don’t remember ever thinking about a “life-job” until I was 18. Then, suddenly I had one, and I grabbed on with both hands.

What was the smartest decision you ever made? Asking for my wife’s hand.

What is your vision and hope for the future? My hope is that we’re learning the hard lessons being taught to us right now.

From a newsperson’s view, what do you think is the biggest problem we are facing in this country today? Don’t get me started. Uninformed voters who place too much trust in authority to think for them, is in my opinion, among the biggest problems. That said, if we and our leaders don’t start keeping an undistracted eye on the nuclear weapons ball, all our current problems will be rendered moot.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? I have no illusions about being remembered by future generations. I do hope my child remembers I tried to show her you have to work for anything worthwhile. That and to recognize and ignore the meaningless pabulum our culture serves up in an endless trough.

Do you have a motto, or some words of wisdom, that has guided you through your life? Cheesy as it sounds, the 3 words that sold a billion running shoes are actually pretty good ones to get you to life’s various starting lines: “Just do it.”

As for words of wisdom, I’ve found: “Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things” to be really helpful.