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WJZ Bids A Fond Farewell To Kai Jackson

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's time to say goodbye to Kai.

Kai Jackson is leaving us to join Sinclair Broadcast Group as a special correspondent based in Washington, D.C. covering stories around the nation. New Year's Eve is his last newscast with WJZ.

Mary Bubala shows us how, for 20 years, we've watched Kai develop into the accomplished journalist he is today.

Kai's commanding presence on the news desk, combined with his warm smile and authentic kindness, mark his legacy at WJZ.

From his very first days at the station to his in-depth reporting on public safety at the crime lab and at the police academy, Kai also brought the best of our community into our homes as the long-time host of "On Time."

We ask our viewers, "What connects us?" Well, that answer is easy. Kai connects with all of us, no matter whether he's out in the field or in the studio.

"So here's the deal--you leave and I get all of your stuff. So, I really wish you well. You've been a good friend, you're a wonderful news person and you really have good taste. Best wishes to you," said meteorologist Tim Williams.

"Kai, I've watched you grow up from a young man with so much promise into the gentleman journalist that you are today. When I think of you, I think of three words: kindness, respect and family," said news director Gail Bending.

"I can't begin to tell you how much we're going to miss you. You're a great reporter, you're a stellar anchor and you're a role model for so many young journalists," said anchor Vic Carter.

"May all your cold fronts be short and your warm fronts be long! Have a great life, you've got a great family. Good luck to you, Kai," Bob Turk said.

"You are one of the best anchors, and not just that, but one of the best people I've ever known," said director Orrie Hicks.

"Kai, you are a gentleman among men, truly a good person---a rarity in the newsroom. You truly will be missed," said assignment editor Pete Amorgeanos.

"We are going to miss you, working with you in the field and being here," said photographer Allen Cork.

"Kai, you know I'm usually behind the cameras, but for this I had to come out front and just say how much I love you and I am going to miss you after 20 years," said public relations manager Susan Otradovec.

"What a great friend, what a gentleman. And truly, I will appreciate that forever," said Mark Viviano.

"You have been a great colleague to work with, but more of all, a great friend. I am going to miss you a lot," said photographer Sparkal Day.

This past May, Kai celebrated his 20th anniversary at WJZ. It was full of laughs, a few tears and mainly pure joy for all that he's accomplished.

"You are truly one of the most genuine, gentle anchors and reporters I have ever worked with. You are going to be missed, but I will treasure the friendship that we've developed," said assignment editor Tanya Black.

"When I started at WJZ, I got this ["KJ"] tattoo. And for years, everyone's been saying that they got my initials backwards, but you and I know the truth. I love you," said Jessica Kartalija.

"I won't even go on camera for you, but I did have to tell you how much I am going to miss you," said assistant news director Chris Coleman.

"Hi, partner. It has been a true honor to sit by your side for these last four years," said Mary Bubala. "I've watched you interact in many different situations, under deadline pressure a lot of times, and you never waver in your kindness to people. No excuses, you are kind all the time. Kai, I am going to miss you so much. Good luck to you in your new job. Happy holidays. Please keep in touch with us; we love you."

"Kai and I have shared so many milestones over the last two decades. We have said some very painful goodbyes, some right here on this set. And we have also said some hearty hellos to many new colleagues, and most importantly, to his two beautiful daughters and to mine," Denise Koch said.

"We have welcomed New Years dozens of times, we have covered countless stories, and in the end, in those 20 years, I have maybe seen Kai lose his temper... twice. Once a decade. And that's what everyone will miss the most. Kai, you are a true pleasure to work with. It's that simple. We all appreciate your kindness, your camaraderie and your good nature."

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