INDIANAPOLIS — She’s a star behind the scenes and in front of the camera and she’s a Hoosier through and through.
Kristi Lee recently returned to WRTV for the first time since she left as a WRTV Technical Director and discussed her career with WRTV’s Megan Shinn.
“I was so looking forward to this day, I know I shouldn’t have waited thirty years, or whatever it’s been,” Lee said.
It’s changed a lot, but for Lee, the rooms and halls still hold cherished memories and familiar faces.
“I really loved working here. I loved all of the people here. I was blessed to have that opportunity,” Lee said.
She credits her time at WRTV to good advice during her years at Ben Davis High School.
“(I) ended up here (WRTV) on a fluke,” Lee said. “My high school radio teacher said you should get a first-class FCC license and back then, a lot of TV stations required an FCC first-class to work there.”
Out of the blue, Lee said WRTV’s former chief engineer called her.
“I said I’ve never been in a TV station,” Lee said. “(They responded), ‘That’s ok, just come on down, we’ll just talk’.”
Looking back, Lee realizes she’s one of the first female engineers, at an Indy television station.
When asked if she considers herself a trailblazer, Lee was quick to answer.
“No, heck no. I didn’t know what I was doing,” Lee said. “I just came and Dick Pratt goes do you want a job, and I go sure I’ll try it.”
For nearly seven years on the job, Kristi worked as a Technical Director.
“Three of us would sit in a room and then there would be a news producer behind us, screaming at the director the whole time, and the director would then scream at me and we would put a newscast together.” She said, “It was the power days, Ed Sorensen, Tom Carnegie.”
Now Lee’s joining broadcast legends on the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.
“I think the thing that really stands out for me, and I’m honored and humbled by the award,” Lee said. “But the fact that I was born here, raised here, and always worked here, makes it really special.”
Her journey takes her from news and TV to sports and of course, The Bob and Tom Show, on the radio.
“A lot of people don’t know I was on TV for ESPN, ESPN2, Pacers,” Lee said. “I got to do a lot of things. I got to do a lot. So, I was very very lucky.”
It’s non-stop work over decades.
“I was with Bob and Tom, I would go catch a flight on Friday, and work for ESPN and work whatever they had me do that weekend and fly back on Sunday morning,” Lee said. “So, I usually got Sunday afternoons off. That was it, for a long time.”
Now she works much more than the four hours of live radio time, people watch her on.
The Bob and Tom show broadcasts nationally and internationally. Now she’s a co-host and the News Director.
“I’m the only person in the News Department, so I can say whatever title I want,” said Lee. “I call myself a comedy writer. I write the straight stuff (laughs) and then they go from there.”
It was syndicated in 1995 and Lee credits team chemistry for its decades of success.
“They’re my family. I’m with them more than I’m with my own family,” Lee said. “No matter what is going on in your life, me personally, or my cast members, when we walk in that door, it’s all forgotten.”
Their presence generates a comedy-based morning show people turn to for an emotional release.
“And that’s why I’m in this business, that’s why this show is good, and that’s why I continue to do it and will continue,” Lee said. “I’m not retiring, never, ever.”
It’s a dedication earning her a spot forever as a Hall of Famer.