Where in the world is Ken Schwall? Try the library.
Super slow internet at home and a need for structure send him to the Greenback Library every Friday morning.
GREENBACK - Most days you don't know where you'll find Ken Schwall. His travels take him to restaurants, the mall, even an occasional anvil shoot. But on Fridays, you'll find him in a particular chair in a particular place. You may even call it his Friday office.
Ken Schwall is a card-carrying member of the Greenback Library.
"Membership has its benefits," he said, holding his prized library card.
One definite benefit is high speed internet, which he needs to complete his weekly work assignment: answering viewer emails.
"I have to discipline myself because if I did it from home then it would never get done. Plus, I live as we say out in the boonies. I don't have the high speed modern Internet. We have dial up. Do you remember dial up? We have it at our house," he explained.
So every Friday, he has a standing appointment.
"I sit right here at the last computer on the right as we call it," he said.
Bambi Walker is the head librarian at Greenback Library.
"If it's 9:00 on the dot I have to tape a sign to the computer so that nobody gets his spot. If you don't have this face - I had to go on your website and get a picture of him - if this is not you, don't sit at this computer," she said.
Ken said, "Matter of fact if I'm not here at 9:00 the librarian, Bambi, docks my pay. I don't know how that works, but..."
His co-workers at the station sometimes doubt Ken is at the library each Friday. But Bambi confirmed his attendance.
"Most of the time he's back there on the computer. Just working," she said.
Did he pay her to say that?
The emails he reviews contain story ideas and compliments and complaints. Viewers ask for directions or more info on the shops and restaurants he features.
"When we do diners we don't guarantee the quality of the food. We're just there for the cheap laughs. I have had people email me and say, Well, we tried the restaurant you were at up in blah blah blah and it was awful," he said.
If the emails provoke laughter or other outbursts from the mild-mannered story teller... well, Bambi knows how to restore order to the library.
"Cattle prod," she said. "You can find those down here at the co-op."
It's all in fun. In fact, he only uses his celebrity status to bend the computer use time limit.
"They let me waive the one-hour rule unless there's a big crowd here," Ken said.
Bambi said, "He's like family. He doesn't want to be but yes, he is."
After 35 years with WBIR, Ken Schwall will retire at the end of the month.
Bambi said "I heard he got fired" as Ken laughed and laughed.
Ken said, "Well, apparently, according to the librarian, I'm not retiring from here. So I still have to come here every Friday and do - what, I don't know - but I'm committed. And I should be."
In retirement, his knows his work email will no longer be valid.
"I will have to come up with a new email address. Which will be unlisted.
"No!" he said with a chuckle. "kschwall at the greenback library dot com."