Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 15, 2004

Waverly resident directs KARE 11 newscasts

By Liz Hellmann

What started as an internship 10 years ago for Waverly resident Stephen Philbrook has turned into a directing job for a top television station in the Twin Cities.

Philbrook has worked his way up in a competitive job market, and now directs approximately four nightly newscasts a week for KARE 11 news.

“I’ve been in the right place at the right time,” Philbrook said, “but I’ve also worked hard.”

The Howard Lake graduate moved to Waverly seven years ago with parents Stephen and Kathy Philbrook.

Although KARE 11 is based in Golden Valley, Philbrook continues to live in Waverly and commutes every day.

“I enjoy the small-town feeling and knowing all the neighbors,” Philbrook said. Living in Waverly allows him to stay connected to the people he graduated from high school with, and he enjoys getting together with old friends.

The suburb offers a simpler life and more of nature, which Philbrook will take any day over the hustle and bustle of the city, he said.

As director, Philbrook is responsible for what happens during a live broadcast of the news. It is Philbrook’s job to meet with the producer, go through a rundown of the script for each broadcast, and mark notes on the script to coordinate what everyone will be doing during the show.

When five o’clock hits, Philbrook is the one calling the shots. “Directing is a rush. I enjoy it a lot,” Philbrook said.

Sitting in the directing chair is Philbrook’s favorite spot to be. From there, he is responsible for what happens on the air.

“It can get very intense at times; there is only so much time to get the message out,” Philbrook said.

Philbrook wasn’t always interested in television.

He originally attended the University of Minnesota, Mankato as a pre-med student. After his first year there, he decided pre-med wasn’t for him. Philbrook took the next year off before enrolling in TV programming at Eden Prairie Community College.

He spent his internship at the KARE 11 station before graduating from Eden Prairie. A month and a half after graduating, Philbrook received an offer from KARE 11 for a job.

“I must have impressed someone,” Philbrook said.

He didn’t start as a director, but had to work his way up. Philbrook held a number of different positions, including production assistant for the morning show, floor director for the night show, and director for the Vikings Extra show on Sunday nights for three years.

Philbrook got his opportunity to direct for the evening newscast when the station was competing more than usual for ratings.

“Ratings are the bread and butter of the TV business,” Philbrook said. He is in charge of the newscasts that most homes in the Twin Cities area are tuned into on any given night.

Philbrook enjoys his job, and especially the people he works with. He describes everyone at KARE 11 as “one big family.”

“I get to see things that other people don’t, necessarily,” Philbrook said.

Philbrook is going on his 10th year at KARE 11. He has worked hard and it has paid off.

Although he loves directing, Philbrook still has a few things he’d like to try. Given his love for sports, he wouldn’t mind directing for ESPN, or maybe even the Super Bowl, someday.

For now, he’ll settle for being one of the main directors for an important news station in the Twin Cities.

He’ll also stay in Waverly and enjoy the company of familiar faces and friendly neighbors. “The Cities I can work in, but living is a different thing,” Philbrook said.

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