Saturday, July 02, 2005

Dick Kay to retire. This time it’s for real, boys and girls.

U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) awarded distinguished war medals to World War II-era veterans Corporal Robert Lukasik and Private First Class Mark Goodman on Friday. The ceremony, at the Klucynski Building Lobby in the Chicago Loop, was followed by a press conference dealing with issues relating to President Bush's nomination of a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Senator Obama's "advice and consent," to the President regarding that nominee [more to follow on those issues in this blog over the next few days].

Just before the ceremony, which NBC5 News’ Dick Kay and I were covering, I chatted briefly with Kay [Long-Time NBC5 News Political Editor and host of the Sunday morning show, “City Desk”] about his possible retirement.
After Senator Obama’s press conference concluded,Kay graciously agreed to do a taped interview with me. A portion of that interview is included, below, and the remainder will be posted on this blog during the next few days:

Jeff Berkowitz: I’m standing here talking to Dick Kay on July 1, 2005. Tell me, Dick Kay, is it time to “hang them up?”

Dick Kay: It’s time. I want to do it in January or February [2006]…All my friends kid me about it. I have been talking about it for eight years. I’ve never been able to do it. A lot of things happened in between, including 9/11. You know what happened. The old joke is that 401Ks became 201Ks. I mean the market crashed. But, this time I hired a financial planner. I got smart. I want to go [in] January or February [2006]. There is no guarantee. But, I announced, last election, on the air that it would probably be my last election night.

Berkowitz: So, January or February is pretty likely. That’s what you are saying.

Dick Kay: I think so.
I think, so far, it is the most realistic of all of the times I have been talking about it. And, I am not getting any younger. My family wants me to step down. I have grandchildren in California; I need to travel to see them.

Berkowitz: How long have you been doing this at Ch. 5?

Dick Kay: 37 years.

Berkowitz: Who is the best person to replace you-- after you have been there 37 years.

Dick Kay: I don’t want to jinx anybody.

Berkowitz: Just give me some names.

Dick Kay: I mean-- Who would be good at it?
I have some people that I think are good reporters—whether they would want to be politics—

Berkowitz: Who are they?

Dick Kay: Mary Ann Ahern; I think Marion Brooks; I don’t think Phil Rogers would do it. He wants to be an—He likes investigative stuff. And, Charlie Wojciechowski—I mean, who they would-- Charlie Wojciechowski has done it; Mary Ann Ahern has done it—

Berkowitz: Has done what?

Dick Kay: Politics, from time to time.

Berkowitz: How much have they done politics?

Dick Kay: Oh, they haven’t done a lot of it.

Berkowitz: Like a few months, here and there?

Dick Kay: I don’t even know that they have done it a few months here and there. Just, from when I am not here, various assignments. [Actually, Ahern’s bio indicates that she was a political reporter for a few years in the late 80s in Atlanta]. You know, but—

Berkowitz: How about somebody who does it [political reporting] full time? Carlos Hernandez Gomez, for Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ [91.5 FM]. You know Carlos, you were on Chicago Week in Review just last week with him.

Dick Kay: I know Carlos and he is a good reporter …but I am not going to make that call. I know who I admire and I admire him but management may decide they don’t want a full time political reporter, anymore, too. I don’t know.
Interview with NBC5 News’ Dick Kay, July 1, 2005, after U. S. Senator Barack Obama's [D-Illinois] Press Conference at the federal Klucynski Building in the Loop
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at