Tom Halden has ended a 20-year broadcasting career at what is now Fox 9 to become the communications director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Mr. Frying Pan, have you met Mr. Fire?

That's been the reaction of some friends, but Halden, the married father of four, is not worried: "I'm pretty Catholic. I may not understand it all, but I believe it all. The church has been around for 2,000 years. It's going to keep on being around, and I think it needs people who care about the church and about the people in church. I hope I can be just a small part of that."

In recent years, Halden has worked the early to midmorning shift, which meant he went to bed with his kids and woke for work at 1:15 a.m. He said he was ready for a change but not because of the hours.

There is one aspect of being a TV newsman and a spokesman that comes naturally to the man nicknamed "Tommy Talks Too Much" in grade school. To the delight of viewers, there was a time when Halden and I used to get into it on TV when he talked through my segments on Fox 9.

"Our show was just starting, so we were trying to find ways to be different," he said. "I wanted it to be more of a conversation [and you were] Shut up already. I wanted to be an informed interviewer and show you I was paying attention. … We've been good since then."

So good that when Halden said he was remodeling two bathrooms — his wife, Sarah, had some between-jobs projects for him — I asked if I could help with the demolition for the accompanying And when I asked him about impersonating his eldest daughter throwing her purse over her shoulder and sashaying to church, I was hoping to get those moves on video. Halden did not take the bait.

Q: What's appealing about your new job? Some of your media colleagues think you are jumping from the frying pan into the somewhat earthly fire.

A: I've heard that a lot and from people who are very close to me. But it's something I feel called to do. It was time. Sarah and I were talking and saying how God has a really good sense of humor, because we came off at Fox 9 morning news, the 5½ hours, in February, the ratings book, for the first time ever, all No. 1. And then the job was offered and I took it. I thought, "God, you're pretty funny. Finally we get to the summit and most people would want to stay there." I think part of me did, but despite that it felt like it was the right time and most importantly the right job. It is going to be tough. There's only growth through struggle.

Q: I have good friends in PR who often tell me how a big part of the job is educating the people for whom you do PR about how the media operates, what they can control, what they can't. Have you pulled together a little PowerPoint presentation regarding this for your new employers?

A: No PowerPoint yet, but it was part of one of the interviews. I talked about, it was a scenarios interview. These are people who are really smart and informed; most of us don't think about it. All they think about the media is what they see on television or news media. If they have an encounter once a year or twice a year, that's all they see and no one explains it to them. There were a few eyebrows raised and "Oh, that's how it works?" I think a lot of time they don't think there's any control. Organizations, businesses, whoever, are in a lot more control than they think."

Q: Did you get to ask them some hard questions before you took this job?

A: Yes, there were quite a few questions asked before the job was offered and accepted. I got to ask quite a few people, quite a few questions. And members of the leadership team, we've either gotten together or will be in the next couple of weeks. Yeah

Q: How are you going to feel the first time you're on the other side of not returning media calls because you know your bosses are not going to want to respond to something?

A: There's a difference between not responding and not returning the call. I hope to at least return a call or e-mail or text and say, "We're not taking right now." Common courtesy. If no word is coming out, we can just say: We've got nothing right now. We'll have something. That's something to work toward; having somebody available on just about everything.

Q: You are unfailingly polite. You don't like rudeness.

A: Oh, I want to be kind. I try to treat people how I want to be treated. I'm not perfect either, that's for sure. No question about that. You should have asked Sarah before she left. I apologize a lot around here.

Q: At what age did you start believing?

A: I think around confirmation time. That's the time when you really decide what you believe and if you believe. When you become an adult, you make that choice. I think in the early years going to mass brought a sense of peace. Especially in those college years, having four jobs and running around like a crazy person. I think it's been different things at different times. In a season of your life, the church is always there for all those different seasons, no matter how you're feeling. Whether you're in doubt, whether you're just not feeling it. We're very emotional people; we kind of get caught up in our emotions rather than what we think.

Q: So you go to church because it gives you peace?

A: That's one of the things. We go there as Catholics. We believe that the Eucharist is truly Jesus come down to Earth and mass is the closest place we're going to get to heaven on Earth.

Q: Media I've talked to think you'll now be working for people who don't think they are wrong, who think they are infallible.

A: The funny-slash-sad part of that is the people I have known and every person I've ever worked with in any capacity are the first people to admit that they're sinners and fallible like everybody else. Sometimes not having a lot of communications with the public, people think, "Oh, their not responding means they're not wrong." There are a lot of lawyers involved in things and when you have things that have been going on for 50 years and big heavy legal issues, it's easiest especially for a large organization just to not say anything. I think that's a big part of it. I've never heard anyone from the church say they haven't made mistakes. They are in that church every day because they realize how they have failed. I think that's the heart of it. I think there is a huge disconnect.

Q: What were your thoughts when the church was being brought to task for all the problems with the priests abusing children?

A: It was the saddest thing ever. It was frustrating, angering, and there are still a lot of things that make a lot of us sad. The hurts that the church and people in the church have caused, so many, and those kinds of scandals have caused so many people to drift away and not realize what being a part of the church is and that the church is run by people, but it's God's church. And there are some people who are always looking for an excuse to leave. You are going to have that in anything. People who want to find an excuse to leave their job blame it on the boss even though the boss is doing what the boss is supposed to do. I think that's a fair analogy. It's been sad to see good people taken down because you know not every claim is true, but you know a lot of the claims are true because the hurt has run for decades. I've talked to people in the archdiocese about this. The reorganization plan, I don't work for the archdiocese yet, but from what I see I think it's the right thing to do. Should it have been done decades ago? I don't know. I haven't been in on any inside conversations. But for the archdiocese and for Jeff Anderson to get together and say we are going to make these steps.

Q: Did you ever have any personal pause with your children with priests?

A: No, Matthew was born in 2000 and Sarah and I, working at church, have been through all the safety training. We haven't had any pause because there are no times when anyone in any church is ever alone with anybody. I assume there are lapses sometimes somewhere, but from what we've seen, no. What we talk about just in general with them [his four children] is making sure they are safe. It starts with going to doctors' offices. Those are the kinds of things I remember my parents talking with us about when we were growing up in the '70s. Your private area, your space. Never really been an issue for us.

Q: Where are you in the heaven and hell debate?

A: Jesus said there is heaven and hell. I'll go with him. If you want to get philosophical about it, there's free will and if God really loves us, he allows us to choose which way we want to go. He doesn't send us; I think he finds us. If he finds us there, he finds us there, he doesn't send us there. I think we choose him or not.

Q: What will you miss about Fox 9?

A: The people, without question. I worked with so many different groups of people. When I got there, I was on Channel 29 for a few years, even though I was in the same newsroom. I think I worked every shift in some capacity. I was with the 9 and 29 people. I'm going to miss the viewers. It was time for a change. This was my goal, going through college, was trying to get back here not because it's a great news market but because it was home. And to be near family and do that for [many] years and be able to leave on your own terms for a job you really care about. I never got to the point that I disliked it. The hours were crazy. I never got up and I thought [with dread in his voice], "I've got to go to work." I'd get up and say, "Wow, this is early." Every once in a while Sarah would be up and say, It really is 1:15 a.m. You have no idea how early that is.

Q: Well, you won't have to wear makeup on your new job — or will you?

A: I hope not. If I never have to appear on television again, I'm OK with that.

Q: Are you really?

A: Yeah, I am. Twenty years. I'm sick of me. People are probably sick of me.

Q: I don't think women get tired of looking at a good-looking man.

A: Oh, I don't know. Who couldn't love all this. [Waved his hands to call attention to being dressed for demolishing bathroom.]

Q: Will you buy more suits or take a vow of sartorial poverty?

A: I don't know if I can buy cheaper suits. Maybe I'll just buy one or two nice suits.

Q: How many do you have?

A: I have six. They were in a pretty regular rotation, if you looked carefully over the years, which I hope no one did.

Q: What has home schooling your son taught you?

A: Ah, that we've forgotten a lot of the math that we learned. Also, you're never done learning. It's been fun to go back with him and relearn some parts of American history. My wife's in the health field, so she quizzes him on all the science stuff. It also reminded us that being a teacher is hard. Having your student live in your house and be your child is very difficult. You have to set some new boundaries. It's also been wonderful because those teenage years are when kids drift. They get caught up in their activities and we're pretty close with him still. He's a heck of a kid. He's a sweet boy, smart kid and thank goodness. It's been fun.

Q: Going to home-school the three coming behind him? [Caroline, Andrew, Greta]

A: No, with job changes, working job with normal hours that's going to be impossible.

Q: Who named you Tommy Talks Too Much?

A: That's you. Oh, let's see. I think that was a high school thing. I'm trying to think of who is was. It probably went back to elementary school.

Q: Which of your kids is punishing you by talking too much?

A: Oh. Three out of four. The youngest three have my gift for gab. Without a question. Matthew, the oldest, he's 14, he's pretty quiet. Caroline is 12; she's in the sixth grade. It's all craziness. [He waved his hand like a performer in "All That Jazz."] She's got crazy things to say. Andrew is 8; it's all about sports and World War II. Those are his two obsessions right now. He's always got a question to ask, our most curious. He's always talking, whether it's asking you a question or telling you something you don't know. And Greta, she's almost 7, she loves to talk, too. My poor wife.

Q: You remember how you used to walk around the TV station imitating how Caroline walked with her purse on the way to mass?

A: Greta does that now, too, yeah. She [Caroline] did it all the time. It's always a fashion show. There's a lot of sass here.

Q: You're very handy around the house. What can't you do?

A: I try not to do much electrical stuff. We haven't remodeled, remodeled anything. We did some stuff in our kitchen but flooring and tiling replacing sinks. If you know where the water shut-off valve is in your house, you're usually pretty good. A place like the Home Depot, they have a lot of helpful people who can save you some money.

Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try and to see her check out the Fox 9 "Buzz."