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Friday, November 09, 2012

Fox 26's Natalie Bomke talks shirtless men and morning news

I’m teaming up with TXU Energy to help get the word out about the upcoming TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefiting Sheltering Arms Senior Services. The race takes place at Dillard’s near the Galleria on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012.

That means I'm also promoting the Houston media turkey calling contest (The contest will be 10am, Saturday, November 10th at the Houston Zoo - Butterfly Stage in the Children’s Zoo).

The media winner will have the opportunity to designate a public place to have a tree planted by TXU Energy and the Texas Trees Foundation.

KRIV FOX 26 Morning News' Natalie Bomke is a participant in the turkey calling contest. She talks with me about anchoring the morning shift and what she likes about Houston.

Mike McGuff: FOX 26 has a big morning show - in terms of number of hours and the number people on air during those times - how do you all juggle it?

Natalie Bomke: “FOX26 Morning News” isn’t just a 6-hour newscast, it’s a 24-hour operation. When “FOX26 News at 9p.m.” with Don and Melinda wraps up, our 4 and 5am producers arrive. The producers, along with our assignment desk, monitor network news feeds, Twitter, Facebook, local papers, police scanners (and the coffee machine) to provide new content for our morning news program.

There is a producer for each hour of the show, so you can bet that behind every (great) FOX26 anchor is a team of experienced producers developing unique news content for the viewer.

My co-anchor, Chris Stipes and I, deliver the news at 4,5 and 6am. And then, kind of like a rock band, Mike Iscovitz is on weather, Michelle Merhar is on traffic and Ford Atkinson and Andrea Watkins are out on the streets presenting either developing stories or hot topics that impact the viewers. Jose Grinan and Melissa Wilson pick up anchor duty at 7am, and then Melissa and Mike co-anchor “FOX26 Morning News Extra” at 9 a.m. In all, we have a team of about 40 people working on “FOX26 Morning News.” I like to think the imagination of our morning team though makes it more like 140.
(We’re still trying to figure out how Mike can do impressions of nearly all of our co-workers between his weather forecasts.)

Morning television anchors must be ready to wake up the audience and keep the show moving. What's your secret to having energy that early in the morning?

I have been anchoring a morning newscast for six years now and the hours never get any easier. That said, I adore my co-workers and spending 8 hours a day with them is incentive enough to get out of bed. With a six-hour newscast, there is always something to do. My favorite (extra) responsibility is live reporting, especially if it involves firemen, police officers or cats. Not all at the same time though. That would be too much.

Having worked in Houston a few years now, what are your thoughts on the city? Are you feeling settled in?

I love Texas! People complain about the weather, but growing up in Central Illinois, I’d take the heat over waking up in the mid-30’s any day! Using a credit card to scrape ice off your windshield, wearing heels and two pairs of pantyhose, is not my idea of a good time. But, I do miss my family.

I love the patriotism of this city. People here stand their ground. They are proud of their beliefs and their freedoms. This is what unites us as a city. I love the southern cooking, the Cajun influences and life by the Gulf. The Texas economy is strong and there are so many inspiring entrepreneurs in our midst.

But my favorite thing (and no, I’m not getting paid to say this) is my job. I LOVE IT! FOX26 is the best television station I’ve worked for during my career.  I have never met a more caring and compassionate group of people. The reporters genuinely care about the people they profile in their stories.
The engineers and photographers and directors, everyone, is here because news is a career they love. The support is overwhelming.

And, if I had to choose a runner-up “thing” to love about our city, it would be all the men at Memorial Park who think it’s a good idea to run shirtless. I’ve never encountered so many, anywhere else I’ve lived. But, it’s an idea I totally support!

See YOU in the morning!


Thanks Natalie!

Click for a list of all the other Houston media turkey calling participants.

Come by Saturday and see the fun. You can participate in a turkey calling contest too.

Get all the details for the race and Sheltering Arms Senior Services at

(This post has been sponsored by TXU Energy. Learn more about the company at

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