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She wants more to life than on-camera time

Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Kim Brattain, longtime personality at WSOC (Channel 9), isn't sure exactly what's making her move on.

Combination of things, probably. She wants to spend more time with her three kids. She started a video production company on the side and it's taking off.

And then there was that reminder that life's too short.

A close friend of hers got a diagnosis of bone cancer not long ago. Though doctors now believe it is a different disorder, it staggered Brattain.

“It forces you to evaluate just what you are proud of in your life,” she says. “Main thing I'm proud of is that my children are decent human beings. Things that are important to me were the Christmas mornings, going to school and helping with the Halloween party…

“Being on TV is not all there is. If I were to die tomorrow, I'd want more time with people I love – and less on the camera.”

Brattain has painful experiences in bereavement. She lost her husband, videographer John Paustian, to cancer in the early 1990s. Their two boys were still in diapers.

Born in Albemarle and raised in Charlotte, Brattain was doing TV before she was even out of high school. A teen modeling career had led to commercials.

Pals called her “the weiner queen” after one ad – and she can do the script verbatim more than 30 years later.

“This summer the Weiner King and Big A Drive-In Theater present wholesome movies for the entire family – plus free prizes and gifts!”

She also remembers vividly how she did it standing next to a pony that kicked her in the shins throughout the many takes.

Brattain went a year to UNC Charlotte and then transferred to UNC Chapel Hill, where she learned broadcasting. She came to WSOC after graduation as a reporter for two years and went on to a job in Greenville, S.C., then to an anchor seat in Cleveland.

After her husband died, she returned to Charlotte, where she has been a star at Channel 9 and anchors the 10 p.m. report on sister station WAXN (Channel 64).

About a year ago she put together a cooking show aimed at teens that Charlotte-based Inspiration Networks is interested in picking up. And with former Channel 9 anchor Suzanne Stevens, Brattain has been producing infomercials. Her Phase2Productions is also getting approached for other work.

Turning 50 at the end of this month, Brattain just figured it was a good time to move on to other things. But she admits she has lost sleep making the decision.

For one thing, there are always benefits to being in the limelight.

“It's kind of nice not to have to produce your driver's license when you go to write a check,” she admits.

Changing the lineup

Brattain's departure after the July ratings sweeps has touched off a cascade of changes at Channel 9.

Replacing her as co-anchor of the 5:30 newscast with Blair Miller and on the 10 p.m. news on WAXN will be Erica Bryant, currently co-anchor on “Eyewitness News Daybreak” and the midday broadcast. She has been an up-and-comer since joining the station from Charleston's WCBD in June 2004.

And replacing Bryant in the early newscasts beginning in August will be Natalie Pasquarella, who joins Channel 9 from the sister Cox station in Steubenville, Ohio, where she anchored the late newscast.

Media Movers

Coretta Robinson, who left WCNC (Channel 36) as morning traffic reporter in November 2006 after 11 years on the air, is opening her own fitness business called Exercise Matters and will be hosting summer camps at the new Winget Park Recreation Center in southwest Charlotte. Since leaving the station, she has been teaching at J.T. Williams Middle School and will be moving to Alexander Graham Middle School in the fall…

Patsy Queen of Kings Mountain, a nursing instructor at Gaston College, will be a contestant on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., Channel 3). Queen grew up in Kannapolis. Allen Queen, her husband and a professor at UNC Charlotte, accompanied her to New York for the taping, and while there they celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary...

American Advertising Federation-Charlotte, formerly the Charlotte Ad Club, honored Barry Wilson of Planet Central Advertising with its Silver Medal Award on Thursday. Wilson's advice for success in the ad business: “Hire people who are smarter than you are.” Attending were former Silver Medal winners Russ Dymond, Darlene Jones, Jennifer Appleby, Debbie Smith and Max Muhleman

Look for the Charlotte rock band The Spongetones Friday mornings on the overnight ABC newscasts. They'll be featured right before the 3:30 a.m. close of “ABC World News Now” with their video version of “World News Polka,” a long-running theme that usually closes the Friday show, says guitarist Steve Stoeckel. Their song “Skinny” had already been appearing on “World News Now” as a theme for “The Skinny,” an entertainment news segment…

Jon Reep of Hickory, 2007 winner of NBC's “Last Comic Standing,” will do a one-night show Aug. 28 at the McGlohon Theater in Charlotte... Nationally syndicated radio host Cigar Dave will celebrate 10 years in broadcasting by doing his show at the Lodge at Ballantyne Resort today, noon- 2p.m.

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007; mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

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