DENVER — All this week on 9NEWS mornings, you’re going to see some familiar faces. We’re invited former anchors and reporters to join us.
Mark Koebrich retired from 9NEWS in 2016 after 46 years on the air. He hasn't gone far and, in the time since, has made regular guest appearances to anchor newscasts and report on Alzheimer’s disease.
Koebrich joined the 9NEWS team in 1978 as the station's southern bureau reporter. He later helped launch the 6 a.m. newscast and most recently anchored numerous evening newscasts including 9NEWS at 4 p.m. alongside Kim Christiansen.
During his tenure, he followed the Broncos during several Super Bowls and traveled to cover the Olympics in China, Salt Lake City, and Atlanta.
None of that, though compared to the coverage of the historic visit from Pope John Paul II as part of World Youth Day in 1993.
It was the first time ever the United States hosted the event, which is organized for young people by the Roman Catholic Church and held every two to three years in different locations.
"World Youth Day was thousands of young pilgrims who came from all over the country, converged on Denver," Koebrich recalled. "It was at Cherry Creek in August."
The station had big plans for the event.
"Channel 9, in usual fashion, went after it with all its passion," Koebrich said. "We had probably 15 live cameras. We had 70 technicians, all of our live trucks."
All of the station's resources were involved in the massive coverage effort, but things didn't go quite as planned. The mistakes though made for some memorable coverage.
"The sun was coming up, they come to me and they say, 'alright everybody, get ready, we're going live standby.' We're bringing all of our cameras up at 6 a.m. and all of the sudden, all of the other cameras were dead."
Koebrich and everyone else had to improvise, which is often the case in live television.
"I realized, I'm standing in the middle of a bunch of sleeping kids, and I have no idea what I'm going to do. In our ear, they're going 5, 4, 3..."
His photographer looked at him and said start waking up kids. And they did just that, on live television.
"We were dragging them out of sleeping bags, it was great TV, but it was purely the result of a technical problem," Korebrich said. "I was almost disappointed when they said, 'OK, throw to Mike.'"
So what is Mark Koebrich up to now? He's still on the air here at 9NEWS where he fills the senior reporter role.
"I relish the title," Koebrich said. "And I love the beat, and it's where I am in my life right now and I think have a lot of instructive things to say and to pass on to people who are also at that point in their life, sandwiched between children and older parents."
He and his wife, Kathy have several grandchildren who live in California. They're also caregivers for Kathy's almost 90-year-old mother.
"Her mom is undergoing a lot of change and that requires a lot of adapting," Koebrich said. "I don't think we ever thought that we would become responsible for parents. That's a revelation."
For now, he's enjoying more family time while continuing to appear on 9NEWS occasionally.
"I'm still really enjoying. I love being part of it. I think this is the new retirement."