WBKO Presents: The Other Side of Gene Birk

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

You see him every weekday here on WBKO.

He's been a news anchor for South Central Kentucky since 1994.

He also worked as the Sports Director from 1986 to 1992.

You know him as your anchor man, but there's another side to Gene Birk.

As told by Sarah Goebel.

Gene Birk has often been compared to Ron Burgundy from the hit movie, Anchorman.

With his fluffy hair and burgundy suit.

"But that's where the comparison ends because I'm nowhere the ego or anything like that," says Gene Birk, WBKO News Anchor.

Gene's wife, Elizabeth says if Gene had a theme song, Frank Sinatra's "My Way" would be it.

"He had a lot of time to do things his way," exclaims Elizabeth.

That was before Gene had a family.

Within the past year, Gene's gone from single life, to married life, with three stepchildren and plenty of in-laws.

"Things just clicked, it was very special," says Gene.

"They're big into doing everything together and that's great. That's family."

"He's done pretty well, he's joined right in with us and the kids' always going, I teach dance, there's always something going on," explains Elizabeth.

Now the question we've all been waiting for!

What's it like to have Gene Birk as your step-dad?

"We get a lot of old women stop us, oh you're Gene Birk, we love you," states Hannah Slattery, Gene's stepdaughter

"It's pretty cool," adds MacMillan Slattery, Gene's stepson.

"It's crowded. Yeah, just a little."

It's about to get even more crowded.

That's right, Gene and Elizabeth are expecting.

This is Gene's first child.

"It's incredible, it's fantastic. I was stunned to find out we were expecting because I'm 57, I didn't think that was going to happen and then to see the ultrasound and see this creation moving and developing," remarks Gene.

Gene's best friend, Judge Steve Wilson, says his newfound family has definitely changed him.

"This has been a tough transition on an old dog," smiles Gene.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

"Before having a wife and four children myself, I would talk about having to do this. He goes, 'Well I'm going to play golf, I'm going to go do that.' Now, it's me, he's turned into me. He's got ball games, he's got responsibilities beyond going to play golf," describes Wilson.

Besides golf, Gene enjoys softball, and his favorite sports teams are the Cubs, Bears, and Bulls.

"I grew up on a farm in Northern Illinois, graduated from Harvard High School. So I can honestly tell people I'm a Harvard grad. And I do as often as I can," jokes Gene.

"He's theatrical, he's involved in plays," says Wilson.

Movies too, and we're not talking about his lookalike in Anchorman either.

While Gene was working at a television station in Mobile, Alabama, he got a small role in the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

"There's a news conference scene where they talk about UFOs and I'm a photographer in that and this old man says, 'I saw Big Foot once,' and I come from behind the camera and do a take and go back," recalls Gene.

There's more to Gene than just movies.

"He's got this great sense of humor about life. He's got a great laugh and when you're his friend he sticks with you," states Wilson.

Gene says his other side isn't always fun and games.

"The other side tends to be more serious and when you're serious you're not fun and you need to have fun," explains Gene.

That's just what Gene's other side is striving to do.

As Gene's TV lookalike would say,

"Stay classy Bowling Green."

Gene's movie-like life is about to get even more interesting.

Gene and Elizabeth just found out that their new addition to the family is going to be a healthy, happy, baby girl.

Congratulations!


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