Karole attended the University of Idaho from 1973-77 and graduated with a major in Radio-TV, with a minor in Communications. Shortly after her July 2nd wedding, she began work at KPVI Channel 6 in Pocatello. The station was brand new at the time, the first station for the city of Pocatello. There were four people in the newsroom. Breaking into a male dominated world of broadcast news took thick skin, a sense of humor, and hard work, but eventually Karole would become a lead co-anchor for KIFI Local News 8 in Idaho Falls.
Throughout her career, she has battled pay inequality, often with disappointing results, but she continues to mentor and advocate for equal pay for the women in her field. Karole's story reminds us that we have come a long way in the fight for equality, but we still have a far way to go to reach our goals.
What was your early career like?
I reported by day, and for a while, anchored sports. We were so new and so small, we had to pre-record the 10:00pm newscast. We left a black hole for sports, and at 10:00pm I had to turn on the lights and cameras and wait for a cue from master control. Then I 'filled ' the black hole we'd left for sports, so we could have current game video and scores. Those were some challenging 14 hour days.
Our main street office in Pocatello was an old bar. Some interesting people came through the front door on a daily basis. Our film lab, (yes, we were on 16 mm film) was in a bar south of town near the Ross Park Zoo. The deadline was 3:00pm for film processing in order to get the pictures on time for the 6:00pm cast.
We came back to the office to edit, then ducked under the Clark Street railroad overpass to an old furniture store warehouse. That was our studio. Three locations with four people to get newscast on the air. Those were the days.
How did the era you grew up in shape your career?
I was raised during the feminist movement. I was one of the first women in Radio-TV at the University of Idaho. Though I never did 'weather' I was always introduced at channel 6 as 'Weathergirl'. It took years to change that.
"Breaking into the male dominated business took thick skin, a good sense of humor, and strength."
We used to dress conservatively to be taken as seriously as the men around us, and I'm sometimes horrified by some of the outfits I see female anchors wear on the air today. I think people are so distracted by long legs and cleavage, they don't actually hear the words coming out of the anchor's mouth. I worry women are resorting back to a sexual sell that women in my generation worked really hard to get past. We wanted to be judged by our brains, not our boobs. And I fear some anchors are taking us right back to the dark ages.
What do you think women of this generation can learn from generations past?
Young women today don't seem to know how we got 'here.'
Here being: free to have a career, free to stay home, free to raise children or not have children at all. It wasn't easy, and if they don't pay attention to politics and be active in shaping culture, the rights they take for granted today will be gone tomorrow.
What do you think we can learn from young women?
Young women today are not afraid of science or technology. Many women in my generation are not comfortable with social media, but there are many benefits to it and young women can teach us how to harness that power.
How do you define empowerment?
Being empowered in my field means being prepared for any situation. Doing your homework before a tough interview, or presentation. Having answers at the ready for the questions that will come. Walking into a room with a confidence that is reflected from the way you stand, shoulders back, tall and proud, to the way you talk....educated on the topic at hand....ready to answer important questions and more importantly... ready to ask the tough questions.
When you close your eyes and imagine an empowered woman, what do you see?
When I think of an empowered woman, I think of myself and my girl friends. Mothers, wives, career women, making success of it all. We came, we saw, we conquered. Not always all of it on the same day, but most of it.
What life lessons did you learn from your parents?
Dad always said, ' Why is there never time to do it right, and always time to do it over? " and 'Take one day at a time." My mom always said" Take the high road. Always take the high road." and "Just be kind."
What's the best advice you've recently received?
Our newest grandchild was born with Down Syndrome. This was a surprise and really rocked me. I didn't want to cry because that seemed like an insult to this darling new soul.
But I was sad for weeks. My friends told me to grieve the little girl that didn't come into our world. That's ok. Then fall in love with the child that did. And we have. We adore her.
What's your favorite achievement?
My favorite achievement is the success of my family. I'm in the first generation of women working full time careers, raising three sons, managing a five-acre home with a horse, dogs, and rescue animals and celebrating a 40 year marriage. Our moms were stay-at-home moms in most situations. We tried to do everything they did, plus a job. We made a lot of mistakes, but we learned to balance it all, and as I look forward to my retirement in a few years, I look at my kids and grandkids and think...."We did it. They are successful human beings making great contributions to their communities. "
Have you experienced any setbacks in your career? How did you overcome them?
I have always been paid less than the male anchor. When I finally fought, fought, fought for equal pay, management said 'no.'
And then they cut my male co-anchor's pay. That broke my heart.
That's not what I intended to have happen, but I will fight everyday with young woman for pay equity. I can't believe in this day and age, it's still an issue.
What's your hope for women of the world?
That more women get into positions of power, through politics and in their industries. I hope that women, with their ability to multitask, take the lead and turn this nation around.
I want women to create jobs with day care provided. Better maternity and paternity programs.
I want women to help the world understand our future is only as good as the kids we raise to take over that future. I envision a world where women will be making the decisions and part of the conversation; from how to grow the economy to where to put Mom and Dad in the assisted living center. We better hope we've raised excellent kids.
If you had it all to do over again, would you change anything?
I would have had a little more courage to fight for what's fair in my industry. I always worried I wouldn't get another job. In retrospect, I think I would have, could have, probably should have.
"I lacked the confidence to take the leap of faith, and I counsel young women everyday not to be scared for taking a chance."