Then: Sports anchor, KY3 Inc. Now: Sports anchor, KY3 Inc.
“At 39, I thought I had more time,” says KY3 Inc. sports anchor Chad Plein as he prepared to return to work Feb. 15.
Under 40 or not, Plein had a wake-up call just before Christmas in the form of a major heart attack. At the Springfield NBC affiliate since 2007, Plein assumed the sports’ anchor desk in October 2014 as nearly-50-year veteran Ned Reynolds prepared to retire.
In his March 2014 40 Under 40 profile – before he took on the upgraded gig – Plein says he regularly worked around 55 hours a week. He needed time off, but the eight weeks post surgery his ideal vacation time.
Post-heart attack, Plein says a poor diet – often meals grabbed on the way to or from a big game – a family history of heart disease, little to no exercise and high stress created the perfect storm for a 99 percent blockage on his right coronary artery.
“I’m eating well, and I’m exercising. That’s something I wasn’t doing before,” he says.
Before being honored in 2014, Plein had received a Mid-America Emmy for sports anchoring. Since then, he was nominated three straight years for top sports anchor in the Midwest region.
“And I’ve won two out of three. That’s with people from St. Louis, Kansas City, Arkansas and Iowa,” he says, adding the heart attack has given him perspective and made him more appreciative for his family and the life they have together. “It was a wake-up call. You’re not guaranteed anything.”
Plein, who was named the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year in 2012, began his television career in St. Louis in 1999 as a sports producer at KSDK-TV.