Beantown called and “The Choe” had to go.
Fox 9’s Jonathan Choe, who’d be up there if I had a list of Best Dressed Twin Cities Broadcasters, ditched the Twin Cities to go work in his hometown, Boston.
“It was so covert,” said Choe when I complained that he left without a goodbye. I never saw him around the Fox 9 studios because he came in after my morning appearances at the station. We usually ran into each other while covering stories. “We passed each other, we just never hung out. I was afraid you were going to have some dirt on us,” he laughed.
While in Alabama earlier this month attending an 89th birthday party, I was fooling around on Twitter when I came across a photo of former KSTP-TVer @JoyLimNakrin and two others. I didn’t recognize the other woman in the photo, @Natasha_Verma, but the guy holding up his hands looked extremely familiar. His Twitter name was @choeshow. And that’s how I found out Choe was outta here.
“C.J., I miss you girl! These ladies out class me,” Choe wrote on Twitter. “NO ONE outclasses the CHOE,” Verma added on Twitter.
“It was just a crazy opportunity,” Choe said when I caught up with him. “Mim [Davey, Fox 9’s news director] wanted to re-sign me; I will always be grateful for the confidence she showed in my game. But there was this NBC brand-new station starting here. When a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes your way, like working at a television start-up in your hometown, it’s hard to say no. They made me an offer and I’m like ‘I’m coming back home.’ It was a difficult decision since I grew a lot as a journalist during my three years at Fox 9. … Minnesota is also my wife’s hometown and her family connections run deep.”
This new Boston station doesn’t start broadcasting until next year so I wondered how Choe spends his workday: “I get this question all the time.… Currently, I work for NECN, also known as New England Cable News, a 24-hour cable news channel serving six states. It’s owned by NBC Universal. Once January 1, 2017, rolls around, I will be reporting for NBC Boston, which is being built out as we speak. So I will be on both platforms.
“And to add more intrigue, I also work in the same building as Telemundo, the Spanish language station also owned by NBC Universal. It’s going to be a television triopoly under one roof. Are you still with me?” he asked via e-mail.
Choe was not afraid of wearing color — purples, pinks, pastels — on Fox 9 but how’s that going to work on TV in a place with a boring nickname like Beantown? “Ha, ask NBC’s fashion consultant,” wrote Choe. “Let’s just say I’m going through a makeover. It’s a work in progress with some give and take. We’re going to find a happy medium. I like a little pop on my shirts and ties. I used to get fan mail about my outfits. They either loved it, or hated it. Nothing in between.”
Although Choe always looked like he’d just stepped off a fashion runway, he claims he doesn’t spend much. “Whatever’s on sale at the thrift store or consignment store” is what he buys. “eBay is also great. No joke. I should have taken you shopping … There are so many decent places for cool finds. But you have to develop an eye and know what to look for. This is the economical solution for any reporter making $19k at their first TV job in the middle of nowhere. Find a decent $10.00 suit, $5.00 shirt, and $2.00 tie. You are in business for under $20.00. Of course, tailoring costs extra. This is still my game plan.”
Choe’s replacement at Fox 9 is Samuel King, one of my mother’s favorites when he was on Montgomery, AL’s WSFA. The buzz in Montgomery is that King is a great reporter and an intellect. I notice that King’s been showing more energy on Fox 9 — that’s a plus — but he may need the Choe to take him shopping when Jonathan returns to the Twin Cities to visit relatives.
A couple weeks ago KARE11’s Adrienne Broaddus and Belinda Jensen wore the same blue dress to work.
“It’s from Nordstrom but I don’t know the brand. I simply like clothes on clearance and material that allows me to lug around a camera & tripod,” Broaddus wrote via Twitter. “What can I say @abroaddus has great taste in clothes & we both love @Nordstrom sales!” tweeted @BelindaKARE11.
They apparently didn’t notice each other because Broaddus was in the field reporting on Philando Castile protesters while meteorologist Jensen was at the station. My thanks to the fashionista with the flawless style who pointed out Broaddus’ and Jensen’s fashion twin-ness.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show” and “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.