Retired longtime anchor for WCCO-TV and KARE 11, Pat Miles, needs no introduction, so this'll be brief.
Miles was always special as a woman with the bearing to anchor alongside the late Dave Moore, Don Shelby and Paul Magers.
She now splits her time between Minnesota and Arizona with her husband, attorney Bucky Zimmerman, who teaches at the University of Minnesota and has law firms in both states.
An AVID golfer, Miles just wrapped another role that she thoroughly enjoyed: MOB. That's the wedding planner acronym for mother of the bride. Her eldest daughter, Kate Cowley, married Tom Dolan in a gathering fit for its august locale, the Minikahda Club. Kate's sister, Betsy Cowley, was maid of honor.
If Kate had married Tom long ago, it might have helped Miles secure one of the interviews she desperately wanted when she was doing the Barbara Walters-inspired productions for KARE 11 that were "A Pat Miles Special." That was back when TV stations had money.
We talked about TV news, that big family event, and other stuff in my startribune.com/video interview, which took place at Hazel's Northeast, whose co-owner Adam Sieve earns my special thanks for being enormously helpful.
Miles was not quite as tough an interview to book as a certain famously shy Minnesotan was for her, but she stressed: "I don't do interviews anymore. This is just because it's you." I appreciate that.
Q: Who is the best anchor in the Twin Cities now that Paul Magers is gone to LA? I know that Don Shelby puts himself in the conversation, but that retired anchor just officiated your daughter's wedding, so I'm bouncing him from consideration.
A: You know, I don't know that I can answer that question because I've worked with almost every person who's anchored and I love them all. It'd be like "Sophie's Choice," I can't make it.
Q: Three things you would change about TV news if you ran a network news division.
A: Well, I would pay people more, because they work very hard. I would give them more freedom to be creative in what they choose to cover. We used to be able to do that. I would make it more about news and less about personalities. I mean, there's so much news right now; there's not enough time in a 30-minute newscast to give you a lot of information. Basically, I am saying I would like more information and less … Dave Moore used to say this all the time. He used to talk about the good old days. And oh, my God, here we are talking about the good old days. But he used to hate what they call chitchat.
Q: What was it like to prepare for your daughter's wedding?
A: It was fabulous. Fabulous. She met her soul mate. They really are soul mates. When you're around them they make you feel better. And so it was just a joy, the whole thing was a joy. I'm so happy for both of them.
Q: And Don was the officiant and Tom Tipton sang?
A: And [Shelby] was a great. [Tipton] sang "Amazing Grace." Have you ever heard Tom sing? He's amazing, so it was a perfect song. And Tom Dolan [her new son-in-law] has a friend from New York, a literary person, who wrote a poem for them. So the whole thing was just really sweet.
Q: Who was the biggest pain in the butt when you were doing those "Pat Miles Specials" for KARE 11?
A: She wasn't the subject but she turned out to be rather difficult to deal with — Roseanne Barr. We were actually doing a story about Tom [Arnold, who lived in Minnesota] but he, at the time, was married to her. We went to the studio in LA where he was taping and accidentally parked in her spot. It was a 911 call to get out of there.
Q: What was the most extreme concession you ever had to make to book a subject for your specials?
A: I'm not sure I had to make any extreme concessions but I had to be very extreme to get Garrison Keillor on. He was living in Denmark at the time and he didn't want to do the interview and I said, "Well, we're going to come anyway." He said, You can't do that. If you come all the way over here, I'm going to feel so guilty I'm going to end up doing it and I don't want to do it. I said, "Well, we're going to come." When we arrived, he was waiting for us at the airport. [We being Miles, producer Jane Helmke, now KARE 11's news director, and Jeff Wiltgen, now chief photographer.]
Q: If you could do one last "Pat Miles Special," which four people would be your subjects?
A: What's really interesting about that question: You know how life comes around full circle? There were two interviews that I wanted to do, that I never got. One was with Prince and one was with Mrs. Pillsbury, who lives on the lake in the Pillsbury mansion. I used to just rag on George Pillsbury all the time to help me get an interview with his mother. Well, all of those years go by, and Kate ends up marrying a relative. Sally Pillsbury was at Kate's wedding, actually.
Q: What questions would you like to ask Prince?
A: You know, like you, I like to think about my interviews. So off the top of my head, I would just like to ask him how he accomplished what he accomplished. It's a combination of talent and really hard work. I don't think he came from a background where he was given all kinds of open doors to go through, to make this happen, and he did it. Fascinating.
Q: Two more names?
A: My favorite historical figure is Lincoln. I mean, never gonna happen [laugh] but wouldn't you love to talk to him? I'm captivated by the Civil War, crazy about that whole time in history. And I need one more. There are so many. Probably wouldn't be a politician. It would be great if you could interview Jesus. How fascinating would that be?
Q: How many days do you play golf in a year?
A: As many as I can. My friends all think I'm crazy and mostly because they can't believe that my body has held up. Because I walk and a lot of times I carry my bag. It's about a 6-mile walk and if you're carrying a bag, it's 20 pounds. So it's good exercise.
Q: No hip injuries or knee?
A: No! No one can believe it. I don't have any back issues.
Q: Do you do the stretching and everything?
A: No! I don't. I started doing Pilates. I think it's helpful but I just started.
Q: Does Sheryl Crow call whenever she's performing near you?
A: No. We knew each other as kids. You know how your lives [diverge] and her life has gone wooongg.
Q: What's your golf handicap?
A: Now it's 10. It's gone up; I'm getting worse.
Q: Remember when you used to carry all those pictures around in your purse of your golf swing?
A: I do. [She laughed.]
Q: What can't you do without besides golf?
A: I love golf. I love to be outside. I love to walk, hike, and I listen to books on tape now because I have difficulty reading. That for me is great, I can do both. I can be outside and be reading a book.
Q: Remember when I had to make reservations under your name to have lunch at the now-departed hot spot Palomino? You said, "Use my name?"
A: [Laughter.] Did I say that? I don't remember that. I'm glad it worked though. It doesn't work anymore, I'm sorry to say.
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try email@example.com and to see her watch FOX 9's "Buzz."