Christine Bellport on Life After NBC15


Photo Provided to The Clarion

Christine Bellport with her husband Jon Erpenbach.

Mackenzie Moore, News Editor

For many people, it is not difficult to name the news anchors that were on the family television growing up. While kids aren’t often interested in the news, the voices become familiar and turn into a given – just like getting on the school bus five days per week or knowing which cartoon will be on first on Saturday mornings.

When it comes to many teenagers and young adults in the Madison area, Christine Bellport was that voice.

After leaving NBC15 in 2018 after nearly 14 years, Bellport continues to stay busy. One way she does this is by serving as a public information officer.

“At the conclusion of a press conference I organized a few months ago, a couple of reporters told me, ‘The best public information officers are former reporters.’ I didn’t think about it at the time, but it’s true. I’ve covered enough press conferences on the other side of the mic to understand the media’s needs and how to meet them. As a public information officer for Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), I help my agency by anticipating what a reporter will most likely ask and how they might frame their question,” Bellport said. Additionally, she has assisted in preparing staff for interviews through COVID-19 and civil unrest.

However, Bellport no longer has the busy lifestyle of an anchor. Now, she has time for activities that used to be a luxury.

“Sleep, beautiful sleep! Waking up at 1:30 a.m. for 21 years can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being, no matter how much you love your job. I feel a sense of calm now because I mostly work on a ‘kinder’ side of the clock. I have time to enjoy the little things in life: a cup of coffee, a striking sunset, not rushing through meals, and being present in the moment with my husband and our dogs. I love not wearing a lot of makeup or stressing out over my hair,” Bellport exclaimed.

Despite no longer needing to follow the news on a constant basis, the former anchor does not shy away from potentially controversial issues. However, she manages to speak her mind without causing the uproars that have become common on social media.

“It is a discipline I have developed over time. While you may feel passionate about an issue, hammering your point home will be met with resistance. I have often used my personal Facebook page to get crucial information out to my friends and followers, as I still have many from my time in news. It’s helped me reach an important audience about the state’s response to COVID-19 and civil unrest, which have unfortunately been politicized.”

Bellport continued, “I try to remember that even though I am out of the media, people still trust me to share the facts from reliable sources. I have also posted some of the “breaking news” posts with a picture of my funny little dog, Mike. It gets people to stop scrolling and is a nicer way to deliver a message that perhaps people wouldn’t otherwise see. I feel good when my posts are shared because I try to post information that will aid and inform, not divide.”

One might think that being married to a political figure – Wisconsin Senator Jon Erpenbach, in Bellport’s case – would make a longtime news anchor feel as though they never left the newsroom.

“I think he would think of it the other way! Truthfully, we both enjoy following current events, including news programs on Sunday morning with our coffee. My job at WEM also demands that I stay informed, as we are partners with the governor’s office and Wisconsin Department of Health Services in the response to COVID-19. I have worked many overnight shifts with our agency’s support and response to COVID-19 and civil unrest. Some days, I feel as though I am still in the news. Although I loved working in the media, my position with WEM gives me the opportunity to still help people through the work I do with an incredible team of people who care about the state,” Bellport remarked.

Those on the west coast don’t typically consider Wisconsin a pleasant place to live due to its harsh winters. This calls into question why Bellport, a San Francisco native, has decided to stay in the Badger State.

“I left a job as a morning news anchor in San Diego with a ‘Starter Husband’ who was from Wisconsin. I immediately liked my team on The Morning Show and the viewers were so supportive. When I became single again, most people thought I would leave the state and return to a larger media market. I was already extremely happy at work, which is half the battle in the crazy world of news. I relied on hiking incredible county and state trails, potluck dinners with a strong circle of women friends, volunteering for animal charities and taking daytrips after The Morning Show to interesting towns and cities all over the state. It was a no-brainer. I was here to stay.”

Despite the middle-ground Bellport finds herself in between being an early rising news anchor and being blissfully unaware, at times, she still needs to remove her mind from the constant news cycle.

When asked how she manages to do this, she answered “Hike with my dogs, laugh on the phone with my mother in California, lake time, watch wildlife around our property, wine, repeat when necessary!”