FOX 8 bids farewell to Kim Holden
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Thoughtful, kind, dependable, wise, loyal, dedicated, mentor, friend: all of these are words used to describe Kim Holden by her colleagues who have worked alongside her for years.
After 34 years at FOX 8, Kim has decided to retire. Kim is a Louisiana girl through and through. After graduating from Dominican, Kim enrolled at Tulane University to study pre-med, but she quickly realized chemistry wasn’t her passion.
After searching for a new major, Kim discovered a love of journalism, and eventually graduated from Loyola University. Her passion for journalism would allow her to share stories from here at home and around the world with her community for decades.
In 1988, Kim got an internship at the station and never left. She quickly climbed the TV ladder, moving from associate producer, to producer, but ultimately, Kim knew she wanted to be on air.
“I begged to get a chance to report. And I had two news directors tell me, ‘Nope.’ And then I finally got a break, a weekend reporter went on medical leave. And they said, ‘okay, we will let you fill in just on weekends reporting.’ And then that was it,” she recalls.
Kim eventually got to anchor the weekend news. Then, after a brief role as a manager at the station, she returned to the news desk, helping to launch the FOX 8 morning show.
In 2010, she started anchoring the 10 p.m. show and took over the 5 p.m. broadcast a few years later.
KIM’S GR8 NEIGHBOR SERIES
Spending 34 years at one TV station, in one’s hometown, is a rarity in the news industry.
“I think what I’m most proud of personally, is just the way I was able to work my way up from an intern to a main anchor,” said Kim. “And I think that I want other young women to know that they can do that. They can also work their way up. They can work their way up the ladder in a business that, let’s face it, when I started, it was male-dominated. And now you look around the newsroom, and it’s a lot of women.”
One of Kim’s closest friends at work is longtime reporter Natasha Robin. She and Kim first bonded when Natasha started working at the station more than two decades ago.
“Kim Holden was like a mentor. She was like a sister. She was so much more than a coworker. I’ve been here for 25 years. So, you know, through the years, we’ve become so close,” said Natasha.
And Natasha isn’t the only person Kim has impacted at FOX 8. Over three decades, she’s become a teacher, a mentor, and a leader in the newsroom. It’s a path longtime FOX 8 employees knew she had the ability to grow into when she first started.
“She didn’t just do the job. She enveloped it. She took that job and ran, and I saw growth. And I said someday, she would be an anchor. You could just see it. You knew that Kim had that quality, that command about her. When she was given a story, she embraced it,” said former FOX 8 chief meteorologist Bob Breck.
Longtime anchor John Snell says Kim brings something special to the job.
“I think she’s a great storyteller, for one thing. I think she has an ability to understand … what makes this story important to the viewer? Why does the viewer care about the story? And how do I tell it to them in a way that they can relate to? It takes a little bit of a gift to do that,” said John. “And it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to learn how to be able to talk to people in a way that that you can relate information in a way that they understand and appreciate. And I think she’s good at that.”
Over the years, Kim has traveled the country and the world to report on important stories, and some of those have stuck with her.
“One of my all-time favorite stories was after 9/11, Louisiana got together and put together a fire truck, ‘The Spirit of Louisiana’ to send to a fire station in New York. And so, we followed the journey of that fire truck being built. And then when it was built, we actually drove with the fire truck all the way from Louisiana to New York,” said Kim. “We delivered it to the fire station. We went to the White House for a big ceremony. I still get chills talking about it today. That was one of the most patriotic feelings I’ve ever experienced. I can remember driving along the interstate, and people out with flags the whole way. I mean, it was just incredible. And to be able to be part of that. Who gets to do that?”
Kim says her main reason for retiring is to be there for her parents and to spend more time with the rest of her family, including her four children and six grandchildren.
“You know, you have that inner voice that is talking to you and telling you, ‘okay, it’s almost time. It’s getting there. It’s getting close.’ And it’s been there for a while. And I think that during the pandemic, it got a little louder. During Hurricane Ida last year, it got really loud, almost deafening, to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. The bottom line is that I have people who have supported me my whole life, who have been there through thick and thin, who now need my support,” Kim said.
She says a scare during Hurricane Ida involving her parents helped make it clear that she needs to be there for her family. The day before Ida made landfall, Kim’s parents went missing while evacuating.
“We’re in wall-to-wall coverage and Ida is bearing down on us. I sent my parents to Tallahassee, Florida, to evacuate. I’m tracking them on their phone, there are people waiting at the hotel for them, and they disappeared. They disappeared in Florida. And while I’m in live coverage, with no commercial breaks, I’m on the phone, trying to get their license plate number, trying to get police in Tallahassee, Florida to start searching for them. I have friends making phone calls, and I still have to keep my composure. And, again, that was when the voice in my head became deafening,” Kim recalled. “They eventually found them several hours later, lost and driving around in circles. But I can remember thinking ‘I can’t do this. I can’t expect my 80- and 84-year-old parents to evacuate themselves.’”
Another factor in Kim’s decision to retire actually happened seven years ago. But she says it changed her perspective. Kim started struggling with headaches and says she just knew something was wrong. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a brain tumor that had grown to the size of a lime.
“I ended up having to undergo a pretty massive surgery, seven hours. I can remember coming out of the surgery, thinking, ‘I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to work again. I don’t know if I’ll be able to anchor again.’ I was a mess,” said Kim.
“At my six-week post-op visit the doctor, he said, ‘You know, I wasn’t going to tell you this, but we almost lost you on the operating table.’ He said ‘I couldn’t get it out.’ And then he described what he had to do. He said, ‘I had to step back and think for a minute.’ And he said I was just bleeding profusely. And he said, ‘we almost lost you. I didn’t want to tell you that, but you look so good now and everything looks fantastic. So, I thought I’d let you know that.’ And I just remember thinking, ‘Wow.’ That really puts a lot of things in perspective,” said Kim.
Lee Zurik has worked side-by-side with Kim for 12 straight years. They spend about 90 minutes together on set five days a week.
“She’s my work wife, a great friend, a talented journalist, and a calm voice. She’s able to easily navigate reading the news flawlessly while being sandwiched between chief meteorologist David Bernard and me and can put us both in our places. She’s handled a tough job with elegance, humor, compassion, and determination each night,” said Lee.
For the team here at FOX 8, Kim’s retirement is part sadness and part celebration for our good friend who’s dedicated most of her life to this TV station and her hometown viewers.
“It’s been a great ride. And look when I started at channel eight, we were third in the ratings. We were not that great. And we stayed that way for a long time. And to be where we are today; a strong number one. That makes me proud. Because it took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get there,” said Kim. “I remember, it was so defeating years ago. We’d work so hard, and it just wasn’t where we needed it to be. And then, a lot has changed over the years. You know, it’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people. And we have such a great team. We have a great, great team of journalists, a great team of photographers, and a great team of managers. I mean, the whole building is full of just incredible people, and to be able to walk away and see the station where it is today, it just makes me so proud. And I know it’s going to stay that way. I just know it will.”
See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.
Copyright 2022 WVUE. All rights reserved.