For almost five decades, one person's name has been synonymous with KFYR TV. Dick Heidt started as a reporter and then moved up the ladder to become an anchor, assignment editor, News Director and then General Manager, a position he's held for 11 years.
Today is his last day. Heidt is retiring after 46 years of service. Here's a brief look back at his career and a glimpse into what he has planned for the future.
Heidt grew up in Mandan, North Dakota and got the itch to be a journalist as a teenager and worked as a newspaper writer in Mandan and Grand Forks..
"It was love at First sight, I knew it was something I wanted to do as I grew older," said Heidt.
Heidt started his career at KFYR-TV on June 1 of 1969. He served in the Navy for four years and then returned to Bismarck where he worked with some of the state's best journalists and photographers.
"I worked beside him and under him. He always treated me fair," said KFYR-TV Chief Photographer Dwayne Walker.
During his tenure his staff grew from 9 to 22. It was his job to instill accuracy to his employees.
"He is an old time newspaper guy and was a stickler for the getting things right. Just the facts, just the facts. And that is something I learned from him," said KFYR-TV News Room Manager Cliff Naylor.
Heidt has won two Emmys and was honored in 2008 with the Silver Circle Award by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the national Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2009 he received the lifetime achievement award from the Northwest Broadcast News Associations Mitchell Charnley award for lifetime achievement.
Heidt hired long-time anchors Lee Timmerman and Monica Hannan. People who not only have learned from him, but have also become good friends.
"We have played poker together, we have played softball back when a guy could do that, we were on the same team, so I spent a lot of time with Dick both in and out of work," said KFYR-TV Sports Director Lee Timmerman.
"Of all the people I have ever known he is the most generous. He will do anything for a friend. If you are in trouble for some reason even if he doesn't have any money on hand, he always finds a way to help you and that is one of his best qualities, his generosity," said KFYR-TV Director of News Monica Hannan.
Another hire for Dick was general sales manager Barry Schumaier who will take over as the new general manager for NBC North Dakota News and West Dakota FOX.
"Dick will take in the information, he'll give it some very careful thought, he takes it seriously and then he makes a decision and I love that and I've learned a lot from Dick about that as a manager," said KFYR-TV General Sales Manager Barry Schumaier.
Heidt had one last bit of advice as he heads off to retirement: "You are never going to replace local news no matter how it's disseminated, whether it's on a cell phone, a computer, whatever, it still has got to be there because people want their local news. And, especially in a rural state like North Dakota. So keep your passion for this business, it's not going to make you rich, but if you think you're a writer and you enjoy the news business, give it your best, because it's the best thing you could possibly do."
All of us at NBC North Dakota News and West Dakota FOX would like to thank Heidt for his leadership and hope you enjoy your retirement.
Heidt plans on golfing, spending time with his family and continuing to be involved with various organizations and charities in the community.