Royal Reporter: Michelle Milne King's Rise in Journalism
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Alumni Report

Royal Reporter

Once BYU’s reigning Homecoming queen, Michelle Milne King (BA ’78) now rules over Utah’s KUTV television news desk as veteran nighttime anchorwoman.

Headshot of Michelle Milne King.
BYU’s reigning Homecoming queen and KUTV nighttime anchorwoman, Michelle Milne King (BA ’78).

Once BYU’s reigning Homecoming queen, Michelle Milne King, ’78, now rules over Utah’s KUTV television news desk as veteran nighttime anchorwoman.

In the mid-1970s Michelle Milne left El Monte, Calif., bound for Provo and BYU, where she sang with Sounds of Freedom with which she traveled the world. During her junior year, acting on the suggestion of a roommate, she entered the Homecoming queen competition. As a contestant she modeled campus wear (not swimsuits), answered interview questions, and sang a medley of popular songs. Students crowned Milne by popular vote. “I got roses, a pendant, and a crown,” she says. “No scholarships. Just a lot of teasing from my colleagues.”

And so Michelle Milne’s portrait came to hang in the Wilkinson Student Center. “I still have the crown,” she says. “We pull it out for costume occasions.”

While a student Milne reported local news nightly on KBYU’s Newsroom 11. She says KBYU was light-years ahead of the broadcast opportunities at other universities. “The practical experience they offered was incredible,” she says. During her senior year she anchored and produced the news broadcast.

Her KBYU experience led directly to later success in television journalism. “In a business where you’re not hired by your GPA but by your audition tapes, we had something to show,” she says. “We thought we were hot stuff. I sent out 60 resumes to big cities. What was I thinking? Now I show the tape as a warm-up for student audiences. All that blue eye shadow! I tell them, ‘If I could get hired, anyone can.’”

After graduation Milne worked part time at Salt Lake City’s KUTV doing consumer reports on the noon news. She lived something of a double life, working days at the station but returning to her graduate studies and Raintree apartment each night. Four months later she was offered the noon news anchor job. “Times were different then. Women were just getting their feet wet in broadcast journalism,” she says. Everyone wanted to put a woman on the air. Six years later, she moved to nighttime anchor.

Michelle Milne married Steve King (BA ’80), a creative director, in 1979. The couple has four children, the oldest of which has been studying graphic design at BYU and is now serving a mission in Mexico.

Although Michelle King’s 20 years on the air have made her instantly recognizable throughout Utah, she enjoys participating in her community at the grassroots level. “I like to be heavily involved in schools, like my mom was with us. I help a couple of hours a week at the elementary school and with my daughter’s high school. It’s fun to be involved,” she says. “I’m a mom first.” She has arranged her on-air schedule so she can attend soccer games and theater performances. “I’ve always said the day I quit is the day this no longer works for my family,” she says. And she credits her husband with making it happen.

Television journalism has brought King interesting opportunities, including interviews with Church of Jesus Christ President Gordon B. Hinckley and entertainer Gladys Knight. Most of her days, however, are more routine–writing newscasts, recording promotional spots, and producing special reports. And each year as Homecoming rolls around, King’s KUTV colleagues find her infamous Homecoming portrait for on-air display.

In spite of the teasing from her colleagues, King speaks fondly of her days as BYU’s reigning queen. “It was a good experience,” she says. “Everything you do boosts your confidence in different ways.”