Ernie Bjorkman, news anchor for the WB2 News, is the real deal. By the time Ernie was a teenager, both of his parents had died, and he found himself on his own. This courageous and strong young man never forgot his modest roots; and as Ernie says, “I worked hard and absorbed everything around me like a sponge.”
Maybe having to be responsible for his well being at such a young age helped him acquire a “take life as it comes” attitude and has also helped make him the easy going, down to earth person he is today. There’s no: “The grass is greener on the other side” thinking with Ernie. He is happy at home, at work, and at play. Ernie is very accepting, and fair-minded. Being like a sponge certainly has provided him with much knowledge about many worldly - as well as timely - subjects.
Even in this fast-paced world, he seems perfectly comfortable being “Ernie Bjorkman.” Ernie is thrilled to be working as the Anchor for WB2. The people there are like his family, and he would be happy to stay as long as they wanted him to. Ernie reflects on the future and says, “Luckily, older men are still in fashion. When we both decide that it’s time to put in a younger guy, I’d love to work in management. I’d like to work behind the scenes. I’ve learned a lot, and believe I can bring in some fresh ideas. With my knowledge and experience, I would probably make a good news director.”
After coming to Denver from Atlanta 23 years ago, and having made careers at only two stations in Denver, Channel 7 and the WB2, Ernie wants to stay here for many more years. As we talked, a newly created slogan was born: “The Bjorkman stops here!” It’s refreshing to see someone with such a great attitude. Ernie is a perfect example of someone who enjoys every minute of life, and he sincerely wants everyone around him to do the same.
How did you get into the world of broadcasting? I had a job in high school as an announcer at Sea World. That got me hooked on the communication field.
What’s the best advice you have for someone who wants to become an anchor news personality? Start small, expect low pay for a while, stay curious, be fair, and your talents will take you as far as you want to go.
What’s the most serious side of being a news anchor or correspondent? Providing important, and many times critical, information to people is a very powerful job. You know the news before anyone else, and you are responsible for telling everyone what that news is.
Being in the broadcasting news industry, what does the future look like? As an anchorperson, you can be on top of the hill for a while, if things change, and you aren’t on top any more, you could be gone. You have to be thick-skinned to be in this game. Ratings can be good or bad at any time, and you are competing against so many other programs. There are so many choices now with CNN, Fox News, CNBC, all the local news channels – and with the addition of the Spanish speaking news channels. You can’t get the whole pie; you just hope to get a small slice of it. WB2 follows the young demographics because our news program comes on after such shows as the Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven. Both young people and baby boomers are getting up early these days because of their jobs or because they workout early in the morning. This is the group our time slot appeals to. It’s quite competitive out there with so many options. I hope our viewers still want some personal interaction with a TV personality they have gotten to know and are comfortable with.
What makes you always look so professional and polished on the air? Good Makeup.
Is it hard to report something that is sad? How do you take the emotion out when you know your job is to report all types of news to the public? Because professionalism must prevail, you have to learn to become somewhat immune to sad stories. It’s difficult, especially if it involves young children.
What will we find you doing on one of your days off? Playing golf or fishing.
What do you do to “decompress” after a stressful day? Usually when I come home late in the evening after doing the 9 p.m. news; everyone is asleep; I just start reading a good book. Like Pavlov’s dog, I’m so used to doing this, it just puts me to sleep.
What three things are always in your refrigerator? Skim milk, Braunswieger and a cold beer.
What social or charitable event is your favorite? They are all very worthy – and that’s not just a diplomatic answer. They are all doing great things for our community.
What fundraising activities are you involved in at this time? “Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic.” We read and record textbooks for blind and dyslexic students. I volunteer there every Tuesday morning for four hours.
Who is your hero, and why? I admire and have learned from many people. I look up to people like Martin Luther King who always had their priorities straight and remembered where they came from.
What would you like our generation to leave behind for future generations? A balanced budget.
Who is your favorite writer? Tom Clancy.
What is your favorite magazine? Time/Newsweek.
What is your favorite television show? Cold Case.
What is a favorite childhood memory? The innocence of meeting a new girl and holding her hand; What a thrill!
When you were a little boy, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? An Archeologist.
What is a moment in your life you will never forget? Riding in Air Force One.
What do you most value in your friends? Trust.
What is one thing nobody knows about you? I’m color-blind.
What do you like most about yourself? I like everyone, or at least give everyone a chance to be liked.
What do you like least about yourself? I’m unorganized.
What makes you laugh? A good joke.
What makes you cry? A child in need.
What is your greatest indulgence? Chips and salsa (hot).
What is your favorite clothing store? Bolder Dash.
Which one word describes you best? Kind.
What one word would others use to describe you? Friendly.
Who is the real Ernie Bjorkman? A man who has accomplished more than I ever thought I would. A person who loves the outdoors and enjoys people.
If there were one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? To be more assertive; but maybe I wouldn’t be as nice.
If your life were a movie, what actor would best play you? Kevin Costner.
What is your pet peeve? People who are too quick to judge others, and those who are prejudiced.
What do you consider the lowest depth of human misery? Poverty and everything that comes with it.
What are your hobbies or other interests? Fly Fishing, Golf, and Bird Hunting.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you’ve ever met? President Bush (Senior).
What is the first thing would you do if you were King of the World? Stop Wars.
What is your most treasured possession? A picture of my deceased parents in a canoe.
Tell us a little about your family heritage? My Dad was right off the boat from Sweden, my Mom was originally from England. He was 51 and she was 43 when I was born. 10 years ago I took my entire family to Sweden, and we learned a lot about my father that way from the people who knew him and knew our family. They were well into their 80’s and up. Our family goes way back to the 1500’s in Sweden; and the word “Bjork” means birch like the birch trees. The Bjorkman’s were known as the “men of the birch.” Many Bjorkman’s who immigrated to this country changed their name to Birchman. There are lots of Birchman’s in the U.S. Now ethnicity is cool – so everyone is going by their real name.
What is your greatest extravagance? A condo in Belize.
What is your personal motto - or favorite quote? Everything happens for a reason.
What is the best advice your Mom/Dad ever gave you? Buy Real Estate; God doesn’t make any more of it.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be? Buy more real estate.
Aside from your family, tell me what you love the most? Animals – all kinds, all shapes.
Share with us the funny story about when you were working in Atlanta and your daughter was just in kindergarten? My daughter Ashley would watch me on television in Atlanta, and our news program was called “Action News” – so they would start the show by saying “Ernie Bjorkman - Action News” Ashley’s Kindergarten teacher called us and suggested we might want to explain a few things to Ashley: The teacher said “We were asking all the kids their names today, and your daughter said “my name is Ashley Action News! ” She truly believed that was her name. She couldn’t pronounce Bjorkman but she would always hear daddy say on TV, “Ernie Bjorkman Action News!” so she thought her last name was “Action News.”
What is your current state of mind? I’m peaceful, happy, and thankful. I’ve done, more things, I’ve met more people than I ever thought I would growing up in St. Augustine, Florida. Being without parents at such a young age, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be doing what I’m doing today, making the money I’m making, traveling, meeting great people. I truly have enjoyed it all and hope to for years to come.
What’s in the future for Ernie Bjorkman? Aside from more years as a News Anchor, and then a management job in news, buildng a little mountain house down in South Fork, Colorado by Wolfcreek Pass. It’s by the golf course on the Rio Grande River.
What is something you would still like to learn to do – like play an instrument, learn a certain language – skydive? Master Spanish.
What might your epitaph read, or what would you like to be remembered for? A fair man who gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. A man who was “pissed off” the day he died because he loved life so much!