Everybody’s business

Rob Blair

Rob Blair

Photo By Tom Angel

Blair to air?
If you’ve been wondering about the fate of Rob Blair, the former Chico TV anchor whom News & Review readers twice voted “best local personality,” he’s doing great.

“I’m taking a little break,” Blair told me in his first interview since he was unceremoniously ousted from the job for which he left Chico: reporting the weather in Las Vegas.

There, in a January taped broadcast for ABC affiliate KTNV, Blair stumbled over his words in such a way that it sounded to some as if he referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “Coon-King.” He’d been with the station for about three months.

Being fired and having his name smeared in newspapers and sundry blogs as a possible racist was “probably one of the worst experiences of my life.” Even the National Association of Black Journalists lambasted him.

“I have never had any racist feelings and never felt that way in my life,” Blair said. “That’s just not the way I am.”

People who know Blair, who is gay and has himself faced prejudice, rushed to his defense. He’s also a religious man and has worshipped in black churches and done missionary work in Jamaica.

With the support of family and friends, whom he’s currently visiting in his home state of Kentucky, Blair has come out of the depression, fear and anger that immediately followed his dismissal.

Blair couldn’t or wouldn’t say if he’d received a monetary settlement from the station. But he has been traveling. He’s already visited Mexico and is leaving this week for Costa Rica. He plans to visit Chico, which he grew to love during his three years at KNVN, in late June. Blair has also been doing volunteer work for Alzheimer’s-related causes.

An agent in Los Angeles is already looking into job opportunities for Blair, who is 30 and has been in the media business since age 14.

“Hopefully, people will be seeing me real soon,” he said. “Everyone in Chico has been so sweet and kind.”

SIFE for life
Those SIFE students are at it again, clogging up my column with their happy news.

Students in Free Enterprise at Chico State University continued a longtime winning streak by sweeping a regional competition held April 14 in Los Angeles.

The team’s multimedia presentation on SIFE’s community outreach projects bested those by schools including the University of Southern California. (Boo, Trojans.)

The group also took home $3,500, good capitalists that they are.

It’s magic, you know
The Community Collaborative for Youth is understandably jazzed about its May Magic event, set for Friday, May 6, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Park Tower Pavilion at 2040 Park Ave. It’s the third-annual fund-raiser for the organization, which reaches out to underserved young people in the Chico area.

“We have some real exciting things going on this year,” said Emily Alma, CCY’s executive director.

The event will feature entertainment including: Seckund Naychur, the Gibberish Clown Troupe, Cabaret Players and Pulse Hip-Hop Dance. Also, “art chairs” (see them at the Drive-By Gallery at 117 W. Seventh St.) will be auctioned off, and there will be a raffle to win a guitar signed by Shawn Colvin. Kids are welcome, and tickets are available at Sports LTD and Chico Natural Foods.