She hails from South Carolina, an hour inland from Myrtle Beach. Growing up, Kristen Kennedy thought she would pursue a career in medicine, until she did a job shadow with a surgeon in high school.
“I thought I wanted to go into surgery but it’s lots of numbers, math, and science. I’m not good at that,” she said.
It wasn’t until she shadowed a local news anchor that Kennedy put a career in broadcasting on her radar. She recalls meeting the local anchor for the first time.
“She was sitting in an edit bay putting a story together for the evening news. She showed me how she pieced audio together and wrote. I thought that was the neatest thing. I was hooked,” Kennedy recalled.
She went to school in North Carolina at Elon University, a small private university known for their communications department.
Kennedy got her first job in television in Lubbock, TX. Two years later, she moved to Lexington to work at WKYT.
“It feels like home to me. It’s very comfortable,” she said. Kennedy says the welcoming spirit of people in central Kentucky remind her of South Carolinians and that is one reason why she has been here for seven years.
"I have so much respect and understanding for other mothers. I get it now. Before I wondered why they were tired and feeling like their time was going in all directions. Mom guilt is a real thing. I totally get that now."
“This was going to be a stepping stone,” she said. But that all changed when Lee K Howard, KYT’s weekend sports anchor, moved to Lexington. The couple met in Lubbock.
“We got engaged here. We got married here. We had a kid here. We bought a home here. This is home. We like it a lot,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy welcomed her first child last September. “I have so much respect and understanding for other mothers. I get it now. Before I wondered why they were tired and feeling like their time was going in all directions. Mom guilt is a real thing. I totally get that now,” she said.
Baby Meg is in her discovery phase. “It’s fun to see how she looks at things. She is crawling and will be taking first steps soon,” she said.
After the birth of her baby, Kennedy left the weekend anchor desk and moved to mornings where she anchors from the Alert Desk and then goes out and reports later in the morning.
She enjoys meeting people and hearing their stories.
“People who open their hearts. The average viewer may not remember that story, but you sure do,” she said.
One of Kennedy’s first stories here is among her most memorable. The World Equestrian Games were in town. It was quite the welcome to Kentucky.
“It felt like Disney Land at the Horse Park. We spent long days meeting people from all around the world. That was a lot of fun,” she said.
Outside of work, Kennedy and her husband enjoy spending time downtown pushing Meg in her stroller. Thursday Night live is a favorite. They also enjoy all the restaurants.
“That’s what I love about Lexington. They have such great local fare. They have amazing chefs. We are amateur foodies. We like to try different places,” she said.
Work. Family. Community.
Running is another favorite pastime although she admits she doesn’t get out as much now that she is a mother.
“We want to get back into 5k’s. It’s slow going, but getting there,” she said.
As for long term goals, Kennedy laughed and said “To get Meg to her first birthday. That’s how I feel about long term now!”
She says working at KYT is like working with family. “From the anchors to the management, they really value you as a person,” she said.
Kennedy was hired as a reporter, but says from day one she has been encouraged to grow. “They are incredibly kind in shaping that for me. They also make sure I am enjoying what I do they ask if I am having a good day,” she said.
Work. Family. Community. It’s a combination that makes Kennedy happy to call Kentucky home.
“We are really enjoying it here. We are in a good spot,” she said.