It’s a great responsibility delivering the often-oppressive weight of what seems to be continuously rotten news to the community that you live in and have a great deal of respect for. Rob Blair felt the weight of that responsibility and did his best to bring some levity to your daily dose of world wrongs. He’s left a footprint full of accuracy, authenticity, and cheer on the early-morning news spot, and a footprint full of affection for his genuine je ne sais quoi on our hearts. We are grateful that he sat down with us to let us know what his upcoming plans are, and to tell us how he’s doing after KHSL/KNVN’s new parent company, GoCom, went rogue and let him go from Wake Up!
When we sat down for our last morning cup of coffee-closure, Blair spoke candidly about everything from his future plans, finding love, and how an inadvertant on-air stumble led him on a journey paved with silver linings from Vegas to Chico.
So…how ya doing?
Well it was shocking at first, but I’m a person of faith and I guess this was a sign.
Have you been following the social media response to the news?
I try to stay away from them, [but] my husband will say, “Oh my gosh! Listen to this!” Like 98% of the comments have been incredible, and after such a tumultuous happening in Vegas, to have a community that has embraced me so much…
I will talk about Vegas…here’s what I’m going to say to you, to set the record straight one last time, the last time I will ever talk about it until I write a book: I’m a Christian. My mom was a minister at an interracial church; I grew up loving people for who they were. I’m also a gay man who knows what it’s like to be rejected by some family—not just a community, but by some family. It was a stumble. It was NOT a slip of the tongue, because that means it was in your head already. I didn’t even know what that word was.
But—I do believe things happen for a reason.
I had been single for eight years. I asked God, “When am I gonna find the right person in my life?” And after Vegas happened, I went to Costa Rica and did a mission trip. I had to get out of my head and help other people because I couldn’t help myself at that point. I just couldn’t believe that people would think that about me.
So I went and worked with the Salvation Army in Costa Rica, and worked with different homeless organizations, and worked with an HIV/AIDS organization, and then I moved to Los Angeles, back where I went to school. I went to Chapman University in Orange County. So, I went to L.A. and it was there that I met someone—and we’ve been married (we are legally married still, we were part of that little window) since 2008. So I believe everything happens for a reason. If Vegas didn’t happen, then I would not have met Michael. And if I had not met someone so supportive of my career, then I wouldn’t be in Chico. I think yeah, we’re scared right now, but we have faith and we have each other.
Now, Michael is a history teacher and two weeks ago he got his pink slip, so we’ve both just put our heads together and said, “Ok we’re getting the signs.” And it looks like we will be moving.
Oh noes! Where are you moving to?
Long Beach. We met in Long Beach and it’s a beautiful area. Michael’s already looking at schools and I’m having a blast looking at the possibilities in what lies ahead. I’m not looking at this with fear…or at least I try [not to]. I’m trying to look at this with curiosity and hope. I’m even looking at the possibility of mortuary sciences, which I know might creep some people out but it’s something that helps and offers hope to people. I’m also looking at counseling, grief counseling…you know I’m a crier. I cry at every sad movie, that little Westie in the puppy commercial, I cry at everything. And you know what? I haven’t cried once yet. I think I’m going to cry when I’m sad…and I’m not sad.
Have you been wearing your pajamas for an extra long time in the morning?
Yes! I’ve been sleeping! That’s what I’ve been doing!
A lot of people are going to miss having their first cup of coffee with you in the morning. If not you, then who should they have their coffee with?
I think we’re all special, and they should have coffee with someone who is genuine, [someone] who is real. I think that’s what I was known for. I’m not perfect; I make fun of myself all the time, and hopefully people could relate to me. And hopefully they could see that I wasn’t trying to be a TV character, I was just trying to be me and be authentic. I really didn’t know the footprint that I’d left on that 5:30-11 slot until I was let go.
Sometimes when you were doing the weather did you feel like, “It’s gonna be hot for three months, just roll the same tape from yesterday”?
It was a challenge! That’s where some personality comes into play. You have to have a strategy: “What can I do that’s different? What can I do that’s informative and not just goofy?” I wanted to be fun and informative and accurate. Accuracy was important to me. Summers are a challenge. It’s allllll sun and it’s alllll 100s. People, it’s just gonna be hot. Wear extra strength anti-perspirant and SPF 30.
But getting in front of the green screen and just dancing around was not my goal. My goal was to be myself, have some fun, make people laugh, and give people a break from [bad] news.
Except when you were a banana, you were in the zone there.
[Laughing.] But there are other sides to me, I’m not just a goofball. I have my bad days, and I’ve had a tough life—everybody’s had a tough life. But when I had a job to do, I did it to the best of my ability and again, I really didn’t know how much I was appreciated. I’m so grateful.
So what will you miss, and what’s next?
I really enjoy community service. I really have loved the time that I’ve been here, the times that I’ve been able to get out into the community and do things with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Humane Society…that’s the fun stuff. Because, you know, we live here too, we’re part of this community. I’m leaning toward the non-profit sector, public speaking. I don’t know what that means yet, but I’ve gotten some calls already.
Everybody wishes you the best of luck and thanks you for being part of our community, Rob.