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Fox's Bret Baier expects DNC to rock town

Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

Bret Baier remembers well his first work day in North Carolina.

Baier, 41, now host for Fox News Channel's weekday "Special Report," arrived as a reporter at Raleigh's WRAL-TV on the same day in 1995 that tornadoes ripped through the Triangle.

After he reached a devastated mobile home park, police ordered everyone to dive into a ditch because another twister had been sighted nearby. "That footage and the coverage of the aftermath had me on CBS affiliates around the nation the next morning," says Baier.

At WRAL, Baier went on to cover the statehouse before leaving in 1998 to open Fox News' Atlanta bureau.

Baier is at the forefront of Fox's political coverage this year and will be one of the top personalities on the screen when the conventions open in late summer. His nightly program is No. 1 in cable viewers in its 6 p.m. time slot, and he's got more than 100,000 Twitter followers.

When the Democrats convene here, Baier expects one of the major story lines to be how the party poises itself for the fall campaign.

Though the Republican convention in Tampa is expected to offer more drama, Baier says Fox will send a similar-sized army into Charlotte to cover the Democratic convention, and it should provide good stories.

"It's still a party that's trying to rehabilitate a president that's had a couple tough years economically, and they're going to paint a picture of why Obama is attractive to moderates."

After graduating from DePauw University with degrees in political science and English, Baier worked his way up in the TV business. He spent time at stations in Rockford, Ill., and Beaufort, S.C., before Raleigh.

At Fox, he later rose through the ranks in Washington, covering the Pentagon and national security before being named chief White House correspondent in 2006. In 2009, he replaced Brit Hume on "Special Report."

Baier knows Charlotte, not only through stories he's done, but because of a personal connection - his brother, Tim Baier, is a sports reporter/anchor for News 14 Carolina.

Long a political junkie, Bret Baier says Charlotte should be expecting a big impact when the DNC comes.

"When a convention rolls into town, there's a lot of excitement, a lot of partying. I think what most of the stories will center around is the Democratic blueprint for the rest of the election. We'll get an insight of what the president and vice president will be talking about on the stump."

Media Movers

Longtime Charlotte radio personality Chuck Boozer returns to the local airwaves soon. He'll be part of the morning team on "Palmetto Mornings" with Sheila Caldwell on Rock Hill's WRHI-FM (94.3) starting March 12. ... WFAE-FM (90.7) has raised $172,000 in advance of its March membership campaign, meaning three days have been mercifully cut from the fund drive.

Washburn: 704-358-5007.
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