The one thing Dave Kent and Kelcey Carlson won’t do to celebrate Valentine’s Day is create another life.
“No more babies. We’re done. We’ve got all we can handle,” laughed Kent, a KOOL 108 radio personality and a voice talent on those commercials we are forced to watch for a few seconds before viewing YouTube videos. Kent and his Fox 9 anchor wife created a little surprise, a third child, they named Kathryn, since making the move from North Carolina to Minnesota in 2014.
Baby Kathryn, 8 months, has added an interesting degree of difficulty to the lives of a couple already being put through their paces by two sons, Charlie, 9, and Kellen, 4, with scout meetings and swim team.
Kent told me a cute story about how much he liked the name Carlson selected for their daughter, even though he had to peek over Kelcey’s shoulder, as she filled out the birth certificate, to find out how it was going to be spelled.
The parents’ work schedules have dad doing much of the child care duty, because mom’s workday begins in the afternoon and doesn’t end until after bath time and bedtime.
“Thank goodness for ESPN Go on your phone, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to watch any sports,” said Kent.
Watching sports might be preferable for them on Feb. 14.
“Kelcey and I are not the biggest Valentine’s couple. We don’t really make huge go-out-to-dinner-flowers- chocolate-plans,” he said. “We just lay low. We let the kids celebrate Valentine’s Day but Kelcey’s theory has always been it shouldn’t be one day a year but spread out throughout the year.”
Sanity and kindness are important pillars in this media marriage.
Q: What’s life like when you are splitting your time between three kids, two jobs and one wife?
A: [Laughter] It’s fulfilling but in no way is it easy. Kind of reminds of that Jim Gaffigan joke about having so many kids: Imagine you’re drowning and somebody hands you a baby. It hits on a whole other level once you have a third kid and you have a split schedule and you each have the kids for a certain portion of the day. It’s just a crazy house but at the same time these years are going to fly by so I try not to stress out too much. But at the same time it’s tough, especially if you are trying to do anything, any one thing, from beginning to end. That’s just impossible. Thank goodness they invented locks for bathroom doors. Otherwise you would absolutely have no privacy.
Q: Your wife is one of the nicest people in Twin Cities TV. She likes EVERYBODY. I don’t understand it, explain it to me.
A: She never used to be like that until we met. I really brought a lot of humanity [He started laughing at this line of BS.]
Q: It’s the other way around from what I’ve been hearing.
A: She’s almost freakishly nice. She cares so much about everybody. It’s really reflected in her job and how she approached journalism from when we first met. People really trust her and it’s because she is really genuine. She has made me a genuinely nicer person.
Q: Yeah, tell me about your road rage?
A: I used to have a tad of road rage when I was younger. When we first met I was a little upset about the guy driving slow in front of me and said a couple of choice words. She said, Dave, you never know about the history of the person behind the wheel of that car. In fact, why don’t you look at his license plate right now. And it was a World War II veteran, as it said on the back of his plate. I felt like dirt and ever since I always hear her voice: Dave, you never know what people are going through. Don’t take it so personally. She truly is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. It’s not just an act when she meets you with a smile and hug. She is genuinely happy to see YOU. She loves talking about you, she cannot stand talking about herself and that’s just the way she is.
Q: They’ve got a crazy woman on “The Bachelor,” and she is doing all kinds of damage to the image of TV anchor women.
A: Well, you don’t want a nice person on “The Bachelor.” That’s boring. You want the crazy ones and let me tell you in TV, there are plenty of crazy ones to go around.
Q: Tell me a story about a crazy one, don’t give me the name.
A: About crazy people on television? No. Because if people saw this, they’d know exactly who I’d be talking about.
Q: Don’t give me the name!
A: How can I be nice about this? Umm. There are plenty of people who will take advantage of her kindness and … No. I don’t want to go there. It’s too personal. I tell you when [cameras are] off.
Q: That’s one of my questions here. Tell me a story about obnoxious TV people!
A: What’s funny is that there are still plenty of people who fit the profile of “Anchor Man,” the movies. But the people she works with now — and this is why she is so happy — Passolt and Leonard and all these guys are so nice and so genuine. I don’t know if it’s because we are back in the Midwest or what but they’re really nice people and they care deeply about her and what they do and they don’t stress about much. That’s the biggest change from where we were; the stress level has gone way down.
Q: Have you ever had her on your radio show?
A: I have. I always find it a little uncomfortable.
Q: She’s not supposed to be there because you’re working …
A: If she’s on my radio show it’s, “Hey, by the way. It’s great to have you on but we need milk. Can you stop on the way home and get some milk and we’re going to do bills this week.” When I talk to my wife now, it’s basically we’re high-fiving as we cross and pass kids back and forth.
Q: You’re not just high-fiving because there’s a new baby...
A: Well, basically she’s handing me the baby. [Before Kathryn surprised them] we had the boys and we had some plans, that didn’t involve a newborn. Kelcey walked down to the kitchen and said You’re never going to believe this. I thought “Oh no. Here’s a woman in television, she gets her dream job, we’re here just a few months. She’s a main anchor and now she has to go in and tell her bosses that she’s pregnant.” It was very stressful, all joking aside. She didn’t feel well. Nobody would know how bad she felt. She was unbelievably strong, during that pregnancy. She just felt sick all the time.
Q: How much jogging did she do?
A: She jogged up until the day before she had the baby, just like all the other pregnancies.
Q: She’s like Ethel Kennedy who played tennis almost up until she delivered?
A: Right. I give her credit. Our kids are strong and I think it’s because she was very, very active. But still it doesn’t take away from [how sick she was]. The only thing that made her feel better was hot cinnamon spice tea from Caribou Coffee. I would buy her two of three of those everyday, just to keep her feeling OK, so she could last through the newscast. I’d watch her on TV and you’d never notice she wasn’t feeling well, at all. But right [he snapped his finger] when she had that baby, her whole mood changed. She felt great. She started making fun of my hairline. I looked at her and said “Nice to have you back,” and she said It’s nice to be back. Right there in the hospital room we ordered Chinese food and laughed. It’s amazing we survived the whole thing. It was a tough time and she deserves so much credit for being so tough for making it through a pregnancy when you’re this new in a TV market.
Q: Are Minnesota NFL fans crazier than the Panther fans?
A: NFL fans are crazy everywhere, I discovered, but there’s a very reserved kind of crazy in Minnesota. Unlike anywhere else. It is the politest city when it comes to major league types of sports. I grew up in Detroit, a Tigers fan. If you were a Tiger fan and went to a Chicago game or anywhere else you’d get killed. Here we’ll go to a Twins game and I’ll wear my Tigers hat and everyone is so nice and they’ll say we hope you’ve got a shot today and you talk to them. These are the toughest fans, to go out when it’s below zero in their Viking costumes. I have never met fans like this anywhere.
Q: Your hobbies include beer-making? When do you have time?
A: I started when we moved here. I thought, “That’ll be a cold weather thing to do when we move from the South.” All of a sudden I started to grow a beard and wear baseball hats and brew beer and I think Kelcey got real worried about the direction I was going. I shaved and I haven’t brewed beer since then. [Laughter] We had a few hobbies; ran a few races, tried to keep fit.
Q: Do you jog with her?
A: Oh, gosh, there’s no way I could ever keep up with her. She convinced me to run my first 5 k. She said, I’ll run with you the whole way. Well, as soon as she heard that little buzzer, I didn’t see her. She took off; all I saw was the back of her head, flying. She crossed the finish line 20 minutes before me. I said, “I thought we were going to run it together?” She said I couldn’t help it. She hears that gun and she’s gone.
Q: Who cleans the house better: you or Kelcey?
A: Umm. She is much more organized than I am. But I tell you, that’s a huge stress on the weekend because you pile on with two jobs and three kids and by the time you get to the weekend, the last thing you want to do is clean. Which is great as our kids get older. You dangle their allowance in front of their face and give them a sponge and say “Get to work.”
Q: Your wife is not the big cheese where you work but she’s the big cheese in the house.
A: Is that what you think? [he laughed]
Q: Yeah. I don’t think she flaunts it.
A: I grew up with a very strong mom and I have always been Kelcey’s biggest fan. And she encourages me as much as I encourage her. When this opportunity came up in her dream market, a dream job, what am I gonna say: “No, because you’ll make more money than me?” That would be ridiculous. Any guy who does that is not a guy you want to be around. We thought about this job for … 2 seconds before we said, “This is a good opportunity.” I quit my full-time job and am doing something new at this advertising agency but she couldn’t throw me more support. We’re very supportive of each other and I think that’s our strong point.
Interviews were edited. To contact C.J. try email@example.com and to see her, check out Fox 9’s “Jason Show.”