Philadelphia Feeder WCAU Sends Another Anchor to the Net

By Gail Shister 

As the only child of a big-shot realtor, new NBC hire Kristen Welker knows the three keys to success.

Location, location, location.

Formerly the weekend anchor at NBC-owned WCAU in Philadelphia, Welker (Harvard Class of ’98) moves to a tonier address as of Aug. 30 — Burbank-based NBC News correspondent, it was announced yesterday.

Normally, not a big story. In this case, it could be, given the trajectory of ‘CAU alums at 30 Rock. Check it out: NBC News president Steve Capus, “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer, Don Lemon (now at CNN).

NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is also an alumnus of ‘CAU, in a way. When she broke into the bigs at NBC in ’78 from Philly’s KYW, it was an NBC affiliate. In ’95, KYW swapped networks with ‘CAU, then with CBS.

All of which begs the question: Could Welker’s professional bloodlines mean bigger and better things for her in the future at NBC?

“It’s hard not to feel inspired and excited that I’m following in their footsteps, to some extent,” says Welker, 34, just back to her hometown after a two-month, fill-in stint as a national correspondent in Burbank.

“It doesn’t suggest that I’ll rise to the level of Brian Williams”(Nicely done, rookie.)

Welker’s mother, Julie Welker, head of an eponymous real estate company in Philly and one-time candidate for City Council, acknowledges she was taken aback by Kristen’s appointment.

“Knowing how difficult it is to break into this area, I was a little surprised, but ecstatic,” she says. “I know how hard she works.”

Welker fille had planned for a law career, but a summer internship at “Today” after her junior year convinced her otherwise. After stints in Redding, Calif., and Providence, R.I., she joined WCAU in 2005.

Now that she has to relocate in a hurry, Welker’s mother is helping her rent out her Philly condo.

In Burbank, however, “I actually rented an apartment on my own,” she says proudly.

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