Why Karen Borta Became a Morning Person

After 20 years at CBS 11, she left the nighttime newscast to anchor the early hours.

How badly has the new schedule kicked your butt?

Not at all. I’m really amazed. People forget that I wouldn’t get home until 11:30. By the time you unwind—because you have to be so on for the 10 o’clock show—it’s 12:30 or 1 o’clock. I was living on little sleep anyway. 

What time do you have to get up in the morning?

I get up at 2. It kinda hurts. I’m at work by 3. So I aim for bed at 8:30.

You said when you went to mornings in January that you were excited about finally getting to go to your kids’ sporting events. Has that happened yet?

Yes. It has enabled me to spend so much more time with them. It is so hard to describe, but there was this gaping, yawning hole in my chest. I always felt so empty. I was missing out on so much, and I felt like such a failure as a mother. In a year and a half, my oldest son will be off to college, bye-bye. I did not want to be that parent who woke up one day and thought about all the things I’d missed. I mean, they had this thing in the fall where, after games on Thursday nights, they would go to Pluckers and have wings and celebrate. Every Thursday night, I would miss the dinner.

You had a hole in your heart and you were missing the wings.

Yes! I was missing wings. Just those family moments. My 12-year-old said to me, “Mom, we’re just not used to having you around. You’re taking over.” I was like, “It is our house. You’re just living here.”

Doug Dunbar was your co-anchor on the evening newscasts. Is he bitter that you left him? Has he gone catting around town to make you jealous?

[laughs] I think he was disappointed because we did have a really great relationship. He’s a great guy. He’s a friend. Yeah, so I think there was that element of “Why are they breaking up the team?” But I think for Doug, this, too, shall pass. 

This year marks your 20th at CBS 11. That’s an elite group of folks in Dallas who have worked for the same station that long. Who else is in that club? Dale Hansen?

Clarice Tinsley. Maybe Tim Ryan? Deborah Ferguson?

You guys should form a club, the 20 Year Club. Go on cruises together.

I like it! There would be five of us at our meetings. 

How has the business changed in the 20 years you’ve been at CBS 11?

Oh, my. So much. There are too many things for people to choose from. And unfortunately, these days, so many people don’t want to watch the news. We are faced with a shrinking audience. Mornings have more opportunity, though, because people still want to know what the weather and traffic are going to be like, and because of that, you’re going to be stuck with me, giving you some news in between. [laughs]

Tell me what the biggest gaffe in your career has been.

That would be 1988. I was solo anchoring in Waco at KCEN. It was the last game of the World Series. Orel Hershiser was the winning pitcher. We’d gone on late. We were an NBC station. What I was supposed to say in one of these reads was “the Temple City Commission,” but what came out was “the Simple Titty Commission.” Yeah. So. 

How long before the job takes its toll and you wind up getting arrested in Aspen for punching a bellhop?

[laughs] Oh, God love Brendan Higgins! We’re hoping for never. 


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