Most folks in Howard County remember Kyle Beachy from his time on the field or on the court, but he’s begun entertaining new audiences from behind a camera in Peoria after a few turns in his career path.
Beachy works at Heart of Illinois ABC as a fulltime evening anchor, and although his path to journalism was a bit untraditional compared to his peers, he said he’s 100 percent confident he made the right move.
“It wouldn’t be fair to me to say that it’s anything less than 100 percent because I’ve put so much time and effort into this that there’s no time for me to look back and wonder if I made the right decision,” Beachy said. “Because I’m only focused on my next step and the next thing I can do to continue to push my career forward. Every day is new, every day is something different, and everything is exciting. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
But Beachy wasn’t always this sure.
After graduating from Northwestern High School in 2007, he was set on becoming a baseball coach. In high school, Beachy played basketball, baseball, and football and performed very well in each sport. His senior year, Northwestern won the state championship in basketball.
During his sophomore year, the baseball team went to the state finals and lost, and in his senior year, his team made another trip to the final four.
Beachy leaned on baseball the most and picked it over football in college where he played at Indiana Wesleyan University. He said he figured teaching would be his best path into coaching, so he decided to study education.
While completing his undergrad, Beachy took on a role coaching JV baseball at Northwestern High School. After he earned his degree, he moved to Indianapolis and took a job coaching JV at Mount Vernon High School.
“And then there was an opportunity to fill in for a teacher at Northwestern Elementary that was going on maternity leave and talked to the athletic director Dan Armstrong, who is still there. He offered me the baseball coaching job, and I jumped at it,” Beachy said.
That was in 2013. After a year with the team, Beachy said his life took a few twists and turns. After a long decision process, Beachy thought it was in his best interest to go to grad school in 2015. He decided on Ohio State, studying leadership and communications. He also was a teaching associate and taught for two years while earning his master’s degree, which he completed in 2017.
He became an associate faculty member at Ohio State for one more year before he realized he wanted to be a news anchor.
“I think maybe it was my second year in grad school. I was kind of bouncing around some ideas of what I wanted to do. Ultimately, I knew it was going to be a tough path because I had been out of undergrad for a few years, and this is a business that is very competitive. A lot of people will get into it after they finish their bachelor’s degree. A lot of people end up fizzling out after a few years because it doesn’t pay very well, the hours aren’t very good, and you’ve got to be on your ‘A-game’ every day. And that’s kind of the challenging thing about it that I enjoy,” Beachy said.
He can’t afford to have bad days, he said. When that camera turns on, it’s go time, and he said he has to be ready each and every day. Beachy said battling adversity since he was a kid on the field prepared him to step into this role despite his late start in the industry.
Getting the job was no easy feat though, he said. His competition was fresh journalism majors coming from major schools with years of experience in student programs or bona fide anchors who had been in the business for a long time.
There weren’t many 29- or 30-year-olds looking for a fresh career start, so he knew it would be tough to get a foot in the door.
“For me, the learning curve was just exponentially higher than a lot of my peers, but again I used my athletic background to say, ‘You know, I’m going to absorb as much information as I can,’ almost like I’m studying a scouting report every day,” he said. “I’m watching the veteran anchors and reporters around me, and I’m trying to soak in all that information and be able to put it into practice myself.”
Beachy said it was persistence, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. Once he got his opportunity, it was full steam ahead with no time to look back.
He began as a general assignment reporter and multimedia journalist in 2018 for Heart of Illinois ABC and quickly got his feet wet in the business. Now Beachy said he’s moving into his third role at the company. From general assignment to weekend anchor to fulltime evening anchor, he said he only knows how to go up.
“I always go back to some quotes from old coaches. My high school football coach Dan Robinson, coaching legend at Northwestern, he would always say and this has always stuck with me, ‘They get to play, too,’” Beachy said. “To me, that means that whatever you’re up against, whoever you’re going against, whatever challenge you’re facing, you’re going to face bumps in the road.
"You’re going to face adversity. It’s not about avoiding those situations, but it’s about bouncing back from those. And it’s about staying focused at the goal at hand.”