Kirk Varner, News Director
"The most meaningful journalism is, in my experience, practiced on the local level. KSTP-TV has been a pioneering force in gathering and delivering local news since it began, and I'm very happy to have the opportunity to be a part of this team of professionals and to help lead 5 Eyewitness News into the future."
Prior to joining 5 Eyewitness News in April 2019, Kirk was the News Director for WSPA-TV & WYCW. An experienced and innovative newsroom manager, Kirk has been a news director for leading television stations in Buffalo NY, Hartford/New Haven, CT and Cincinnati, OH. Over the course of his career, he has also worked in wide range of news and production roles in newsrooms ranging from his first television news job as a news photographer for WCBD-TV in his hometown of Charleston, SC to working as an Executive Producer for CBS's flagship station, WCBS-TV in New York City.
Kirk was the News Director for ESPN's "SportsCenter" in the network’s first decade, where he helped launch its legendary slate of studio programming including "NFL GameDay", "NFL Primetime" and "Scholastic Sports America." Kirk has also been the creator of innovative television news operations. As VP for Local News with Time Warner Cable, he oversaw the creation and development of ten different 24-hour local news channels across Florida, Texas, North Carolina and New York state.
He is a winner of a Peabody Award, the industry's most prestigious honor, as Executive Producer of WTNH's 2006 series of investigative reports into continuing problems with spare parts produced for the Black Hawk helicopters used by the US military. The reporting triggered congressional hearings into the issue. The newsrooms Kirk has led have been winners of multiple EMMY® awards, including Best Newscast for the past three years in the Southeast region.
Kirk is a long-time member of RTDNA, the Radio Television Digital News Association. He and his wife have two grown daughters. Kirk enjoys watching and attending as many sporting events as possible. He and his wife look forward to experiencing the dining, theater, and sporting happenings in the Twin Cities.