NBC 15 anchor Carleen Wild has other talent

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Posted by madcityradio.com on November 05, 2009 at 11:06:38:

Doug Moe: Anchor by day, rocker at night
Wisconsin State Journal

It was last week Thursday, around 9 p.m., when the lights went down in Babe's on Schroeder Road and a woman with a highly familiar face launched into a great country rock song:

"Friday, payday, Lordy got to get away/

"Had it with the wife thing, living on a shoe string/

"What's a poor girl got to do just to have some fun?

"All these years without any help/

"Guess what, honey, clothes just don't wash themselves/

"Neither do dishes, neither does the bathroom floor/

"So, now if anyone asks, not that they would/

"I'll be down in Mississippi and up to no good."

The rollicking song was a hit for Sugarland, but it's doubtful that they or anyone else ever had more fun with it than Carleen Wild did last week.

"Down In Mississippi (Up to No Good)" led off the second set for Main Street Wisdom, the band Wild -- news anchor at NBC 15 -- put together this summer. The Babe's gig was the band's first at an indoor club, and they aced it.

Former colleagues from Wild's time as a Channel 3 anchor were in the crowd, including current police spokesperson Joel DeSpain and Wild's former co-anchor John Karcher.

"Karcher closed it down," Wild was recalling Wednesday.

For that matter, one of the band members is a Channel 3 alum -- Dan Smith, who played guitar and did some vocals and seemed to be having as good a time as you can have with your clothes on.

"You can't rein in Dan once you put a microphone in front of him," Wild said.

If you missed the party, here's good news: Main Street Wisdom will be back at Babe's this Saturday night, starting at 8 p.m.

It's a dream realized for Wild, who took piano lessons as a kid growing up in Poynette, though she really wanted to play the drums.

"I was told I didn't have enough rhythm," Wild said. "I think I have pretty good rhythm."

Attending UW-Madison, she performed with the UW Marching Band and in two different bar bands, The Potentials and Blue Shift and the Madtown Horns. She also drifted between majors, finally deciding on International Business.

"The problem was I hadn't taken a math course in four years," Wild said.

Her dad suggested broadcast journalism, and her last year in school she landed internships with both NBC 15 and Channel 3. She found she enjoyed getting out and meeting people, and telling their stories.

Out of school Wild landed a job with the NBC affiliate in Missoula, Mont. She loved the mountains, and the job, too, which involved traveling the state in search of residents with colorful stories.

A story on the state's longest school bus ride took her to the town of Wisdom, where she also met a woman who makes cowboy hats and does it so well she's in the cowboy hall of fame.

Wild loved Wisdom -- "one of my favorite places on earth," she said - and it stayed with her when she returned to Madison in 1998 to work at Channel 3.

She had a good run there, left TV for a time to work as director of development for the UW's Comprehensive Cancer Center, and came to NBC 15 in 2007.

Her last newscast these days is at 5 p.m., so playing music at night was possible. When Wild put a note on her Facebook page about wanting to explore starting a country band, she heard immediately from an old friend, Kal Watson, who said if she was serious, so was he. They recruited a few others, including Smith, and practiced every Tuesday night in Wild's basement. From the start, they had a ball.

There was a faction in the band that lobbied to name themselves Carleen Wild and the Man Killers -- perhaps a reference to their cover of the Dixie Chicks song, "Goodbye Earl" -- but once Wild mentioned her love for the Montana town of Wisdom, Main Street Wisdom won out.

Whatever they call themselves, they rock. They'll be at Babe's on Saturday night, but they'll also be down in Mississippi -- and up to no good.

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