Many of us are familiar with Baihly Warfield – the cheerful yet polished television anchor and host with a long-term presence at WDIO.
We gladly invite her into our homes as she presents the evening news. She also uplifts us with her afternoon lifestyle show, The Lift. At this point, she feels like part of the family.
“I was born in Rochester, and grew up in Savage, Minnesota,” she explained. “And I swore the one thing I wouldn’t do was move further north for a job.” However, it seems fate had other plans.
During her job hunt, Warfield applied for multiple jobs around the country, and received another offer in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and interest from Columbia, Missouri. But Duluth was lucky enough to make the final cut.
“I knew a few people who worked at WDIO, and the station had a great reputation,” she noted. “Ultimately, Duluth was the best fit. I thought I’d only be here two years, and here I am eight years later,” she added with a chuckle.
Warfield was initially hesitant about Duluth. But the city has an almost magical way of growing on people. Today, with a husband, career, and house that she loves, she considers herself home.
Love of Performing
Warfield has many talents and abilities that lend themselves to success in broadcast journalism. For instance, she loves to read and write. She also enjoys singing and acting.
“Beginning in middle school, I performed in community theater productions, school productions, and theater camps,” she explained. “I was also in choir and loved being on stage.
“In 9th grade, we had a career day where we could sign up for different sessions, and one of the local news stations came in. I thought broadcast journalism could be a good marriage of my skills, and decided to pursue it.”
After graduating from Prior Lake High School, she attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Here, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism, with an emphasis in broadcast journalism.
While she had a few internships during college, WDIO was her first real job. She was hired immediately after graduating college in 2015, and moved to Duluth three weeks after her commencement ceremony.
Warfield was initially hired as a reporter. Here, she handled general daily reporting from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Eventually, her shifts changed to Monday – Friday, and in 2019, she was promoted to co-anchor of the 10:00 pm newscast.
Among her various talents, viewers appreciate the skillful way Warfield can quickly transition her on-air skills as required. For instance, she compassionately reports on the day’s tragedies with an authentically somber tone. She also can quickly pivot to cheerful banter with her colleagues when appropriate.
After seven years, the station presented her with a wonderful new opportunity: to host their brand-new lifestyle show, The Lift, which premiered September 6th, 2022. Warfield explained how the show came to be.
“After Ellen DeGeneres retired, that left a gap in our afternoon programming, and we were thinking of ways to fill it. Our sister station, KTSP in the Twin Cities, had a show called Twin Cities Live, that we aired every day from 3-4:30. But we still needed to fill that 4:30 slot.
“My boss approached me with this idea for The Lift, and I was on board right away. It’s an afternoon lifestyle show that is community-oriented and positive-focused; it’s a show where we want people to be able to take what they see and try it for themselves – like a recipe, a hiking trail, or a new coffee shop that helps people feel more connected to their neighborhood.
“The Lift provides positivity, which is what people are asking for. They don’t just want to hear about fires and city council issues. Our mission statement at The Lift is ‘Finding good as we explore, learn, and play.’”
The Lift features lighthearted topics such as Food Truck Friday. During the warmer months, Warfield visits a new food truck every week and samples their fare. Another popular – and hilarious - segment showed a good-natured Warfield climbing aboard the Weiner Cruiser – a floating hot dog cart cruising around Lake Vermilion.
In addition to Warfield as host, The Lift employs Megan Graftaas as producer; photographer/editor, Kyle Aune; and Kenny Johnson, who reports on-air two days per week. The Lift airs Monday through Friday at 4:30 pm.
The Lift is always on the lookout for exciting and positive new content. To submit a story idea, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Warfield also continues to co-anchor the 6:00 news. Admittedly, these venues are vastly different. And they certainly keep her busy. But Warfield likes it that way.
“One of the things I love about news is that every day is different,” she said. “It’s a good reflection of what real life is in the Northland. It has to be a balance.”
In addition to her bosses taking notice of her work, the Upper Midwest Emmys have, too. Warfield, along with her colleague Kyle Aune, won a 2017 Upper Midwest Emmy for their story about LeeAnna Warner, the Chisholm, Minnesota child who went missing in 2003.
Warfield is also up for several more Emmys this year. She is nominated for her story featured on The Lift about the all-women’s sailing team, Kicks; and for a story about a man who spent 20 years transcribing his father’s letters during WWII. She is also nominated for an Emmy for one of WDIO’s 6:00 pm broadcasts about a snowstorm.
Warfield and her husband, Andrew Blackwell, have been married since 2020. Andrew works in IT at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Together, they are dedicated to their church and to helping others. Warfield serves on the Board for Eastridge Community Church, and Andrew enjoys helping friends and family by donating his handyman skills.
In her spare time, Warfield enjoys walking, hiking, reading, and patronizing Duluth’s breweries and restaurants. “I was always a library regular – then and now. And I love walking at our city parks,” she noted. “That’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed in Duluth – no matter where you live, you’re close to a park.
“I also love football,” she added. “I’m a huge Vikings fan and I also enjoy fantasy football.”
Looking ahead to the future, Warfield has some big goals. “I’d love to see The Lift continue to grow. There are a lot of directions we can go. It’s very encouraging to see how people have embraced it. Maybe I’ll even have a cohost someday.
“And, Andy bought a foreclosure in 2013, and fixed it up. We still live there today. I would love to do that again – find more gems that just need some TLC.”
Tips for a Rewarding Career in Journalism
Warfield has a few helpful tips for others interested in a career in broadcast journalism. “I would say commit yourself to being a lifelong learner. I recently took a strengths assessment and my top strength is as a learner, which totally fits. I enjoy seeking out people who know a lot, and sharing that knowledge with our viewers.
“Ultimately, the most rewarding thing about my work is connecting people to things and other people that will enrich their lives,” she added. “And the variety is my favorite part of the job. Every day is different. I just love connecting with people and having a good sense of what’s going on in our community.”