Karole Honas, the self-described newsroom mom, is retiring from TV news in Idaho. Honas said her “kids” graduated to big markets including Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle.
Karole Honas, the self-described “newsroom mom,” is retiring from TV news in Idaho today. Honas is stepping down from KIFI, the ABC affiliate owned by News-Press & Gazette in Idaho Falls (DMA 162), after 29 years as an on-air anchor and reporter.
“Because we are a small market station,” said Honas in a press release, “our employees are usually graduates just out of school. In the beginning, they were my age, my peers. Then I got a little older and became more of a trainer. Then I got older and became a coach. One day a new rookie came in with her parents to start her first job, and I realized the ‘parent’ was younger than me! That’s when I became a ‘mom’ in the newsroom.”
Honas said her “kids” graduated to big markets including Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle.
“They are such fine journalists, and I take great pride in the fact I may have started them off on the right foot.”
Honas worked at another Idaho TV station, KPVI Pocatello, prior to Idaho Falls.
During her time on TV, Honas also found time to teach broadcast producing and writing at Idaho State University for 14 years as an adjunct instructor, and served as a member of the advisory board for the School of Journalism and Mass Media in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho, her alma mater.
The University of Idaho Alumni Association honored Honas for her achievements and service to the university in June.
And The Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognized Honas by inducting her into the 2015 Silver Circle, an award honoring dedicated broadcasters who have made significant contributions to the industry and communities in their region.
I spoke with Honas recently about her retirement and her career. I wanted to know if she thought, as a woman, she was treated equally in her career, how she thought the business has changed over the years, and what advice she gives to students aspiring to work in TV news.
Honas turned 65 in September and said COVID-19 and a long commute were the final straws in her decision to retire.
“Most of the young people that I work with, that I love, that are the light of my life, are all working from home so I don’t see any of them. There are just a couple of producers in the newsroom and I just thought yeah, this would be a good time to go.”
When Honas was honored with a Silver Award, she said she couldn’t figure out why. A co-worker from KIFI, Laural Porter, who now works at KGW in Portland, Ore., nominated her. Honas said she just thought of herself as a meat and potatoes reporter.
“I don’t have any Emmys, why is she nominating me. And then when I got to the event and I watched the video, and saw this woman has contributed to the foundation of journalism for 25 years plus. I was shocked at what I have been doing for the last 25 years.”
Honas said surprisingly, she specifically tries to discourage aspiring students from going into TV journalism.
“I tell people, this is not a job. It is a lifestyle. This is 24/7 and there is never a second that you are not thinking about the next story or should that be a story or why haven’t we done that story. I had never been told, the whole time I went to school, you are going to work every day, seven days a week. Yes, you will work Christmas and you will work Thanksgiving. You will miss your children’s birthdays, you will miss many of their soccer games, football games, basketball games. You will be paid very little for the first few years until you get to a bigger market. In fact, your parents will probably have to subsidize you for the first couple of years because the pay is so low.
“That is what I would tell them and they would be shocked because you work in television, you make money. No. You might when you get to the next market, but you don’t make any money in this sized market. This is your training market.”
The biggest differences between local TV news today vs. when she first started?
“I feel like we try too hard now to be first, instead of to be right.”
Although Honas said women in TV news have “come a long way, being a woman when I very first started, yeah that was a challenge. We had to wear suits that kind of made us look like men. So yes, it was a little bit difficult as a woman.”
Honas said until the day she retired, she was not paid as much as her male co-anchor, Jay Hildebrandt, “who is absolutely one of my best friends in the world.”
Did Honas ever get an itch to work in a bigger market?
“I never sent a tape out, I never once sent a resume outside the market,” she said, but did get unsolicited offers.
“I go, such a compliment. Thank you. Nope I am not really looking. Everything I wanted I got right here. This was my dream to have horses. So I got what I wanted.”
What Honas wants now is be with her husband, Ken.
“We have been married for 43 years. In all that time we have been together very little because he works day shift, I work swing shift in another town so I can’t even come home for dinner.”
Here’s to Karole and Ken and many happy dinners together.
Morgan Murphy Media is seeking an experienced broadcasting professional for an exciting and rare General Manager opportunity to lead its broadcast, digital, and print operations in Madison, Wisconsin (DMA #84). The General Manager will have full oversight of our highly respected and successful Television Wisconsin, Inc. operation which includes WISC-TV/News 3 Now (CBS), our secondary channel, TVW (MyNetworkTV), our award-winning internet site, channel3000.com, and our monthly city/regional print publication, Madison Magazine. This is a unique opportunity to join a thriving, privately held broadcast group and duties include oversight of an exceptional operation with an experienced, dedicated, talented staff and state-of-the-art broadcast and digital facilities. Click here for more specifics and how to apply.