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Jun 29, 2009 1:43 PM

KRTV Memories from Claire Baiz

Here's a touching - and entertaining - KRTV Memory from Claire Baiz:

"And what does your daddy do?" the lady asked my five-year-old brother.

"I'm not sure," Roger replied, blinking into the camera. "Daddy spends all afternoon locked in the bedroom with Mommy."

My mother was mortified. My dad, no doubt, strutted around the Fire Department for weeks afterwards, getting slapped on the back.

I'm sure the folks at KRTV loved the entendre, since Roger was on Playtime - the live local version of CBS' House Party, with Art Linkletter's famous segment, "Kids Say the Darndest Things". It was the early 1960's, and I had been on Playtime too - but Roger said the 'darnest thing'.

Going up Havre hill to KRTV for Playtime was like visiting Mount Olympus: mothers preened their tots and everyone tuned in. I remember marching around plastic chairs and feeling sorry for a kid in a cowboy shirt who seized up under the huge swiveling black camera.

When I was in junior high, my mom, who had been active in the League of Women Voters, became KRTV's Montana legislative liaison. During several 90-day sessions, my mother, Arlyne Reichert, would drive to Helena one day a week to gather details from state representatives and senators. She taped her report at KRTV, often while I waited, sitting on furniture made from wagon wheels and cowhides, trying to catch a glimpse of somebody famous, like Norma Ashby or Bill Whitsit.

Sometimes I got out of school to go Helena with my mom. Thanks to her and KRTV I learned about government, politics, deadlines and how bad the road could get in winter. I fell in love with the newsroom at fifteen and have been a news junkie ever since.

When I was in high school KRTV was in full flower. Ed Coughlin ran the 70th largest news market in the U.S. so well that he was offered a news job in the number one market: Los Angeles. It was like being drafted to be the quarterback at the Superbowl when you're playing high school ball. Ed's newscasts were legendary (rumor has it that several were delivered in underwear from the waist down) and his team was so tight that his L.A. news station soon snarfed up several more KRTV alums.

When I opened my own small business in the early '90's, I approached Art Taft (creative director) at KRTV for a little advertising help. Art and I have forged a bond of trust and mutual respect that I treasure. He's one of those people who could work anywhere in the world, he's so good at what he does - but he chooses to work at KRTV.

A few years ago, KRTV influenced a third generation of Reichert women when they hired my daughter Samantha, then a student at Indiana University, as their summer college intern. She learned how to operate a multi-line phone, an editing suite, lighting, and once in awhile, I think she's still in our house when I hear her voice in an ad for a map company, lamenting, "I'm lost in Great Falls!"

Look up, Honey. See that antenna on the hill? That's KRTV. That means you're home.

Claire, thank you for sharing your KRTV Memory during our golden anniversary!

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