13 at 65: Laughter, scoops - and lights - highlight Baltes' time at WIBW

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 8:01 PM CDT
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No two days are the same working in TV news - and in WIBW-TV's 65-year history, perhaps no one knows that quite like Sally Baltes. She anchored the evening news, served as news director, and showed her light-hearted side co-hosting "Take Five!"

Sally, who now uses her married name Sally Lunsford, worked at WIBW from 1990 to 1999.

"Certainly WIBW was more sophisticated than the little station I worked at in Alexandria, Minn., and, yes, you learn everything - you learn the art of the interview, storytelling, all kinds of things," she said.

Among Sally's most memorable moments was the 1990 general election, when Joan Finney upset Mike Hayden in the governor's race. Sally went to Finney's home and conducted the first interview with the governor-elect.

"She invited us in, we did a live shot from there - nobody else had that so you know as a TV person it’s exciting when you get an exclusive so that was a great night," Sally said.

Sally says she jumped at the chance to co-host Take Five with Betty Lou Pardue and Andy Weingarten because "everybody was having fun." She quickly learned she had a tough time keeping a straight face.

"Andy was just the kind of person that made me laugh," she recalls. "Everybody’s got one of those people in their lives, whether it’s a sibling of something, you just look at ‘em and start laughing and so Betty Lou would separate us!"

She also recalls an unexpected moment when interviewing former station manager George Logan.

"All of a sudden.. BOOM!.. and a light had blown out," she said. "It’s the loudest sound you can possibly imagine when a light blows out, and it wasn’t the sound - that was scary enough - here come these little pieces of glowing on-fire pieces of glass coming down, and George is lookin’ at me and I was just like, it’s gonna land on your George."

Sally went on to the work for the state. She is currently public affairs director for the Kansas Lottery. She says she loves her job, but WIBW has a special place.

"It absolutely is the people you work with and let’s face it, TV people are always a little lively and fun - and very much a family, and I appreciated that atmosphere," she said.