Mark Koebrich Retires After 16 Years with Steve Spangler on Television

Mark Koebrich & Steve Spangler – 16 Years of Making Science Fun on Television


Written by @SteveSpangler | February 29, 2016

I learned everything I know about television from Mark Koebrich

Television can be a strange world, especially when you’re a science teacher who is hired to present a weekly science segment at Denver’s #1 television station. Did I mention that I had no formal television training? I’m not exactly sure why Mark Koebrich took me under his wing on my first day, but I’ll be forever grateful that he did. From day one, Mark taught me words to live by… make it big, do it right, give it class. As Mark wraps up his career in television, I wanted to take a quick look back on the many ways Mark taught me everything I know about being on television.

Steve Spangler Celebrates Mark Koebrich's Television Career with One Last Science Experiment

Mark Koebrich was a television celebrity when I was a teenager growing up in Denver. 9NEWS KUSA was the #1 station (and still is) and Mark was the guy everyone loved. He knew the secret to engaging his viewers with great writing, impactful stories and a personality that jumped off the screen. He was passionate about reporting the news and loved doing it. He was and continues to be the same amazing person you see on and off camera. You can imagine my excitement and nervousness when he welcomed me on my first day and said, “Television is easy. Just have fun and the viewers will love what you’re doing. Remember… I’m here to help you find your groove… we’re a team.”

Looking back on the last 16 years, Mark was right… we were a team. By my own best estimate, Mark and I teamed up for nearly 800 television segments, and he was always game for any idea that I would pitch on Monday morning. “I think it’s best if you don’t tell me what’s going to happen. Let me be surprised and I think the viewers will love it.” Mark was right… the viewers did love it. Monday afternoon became must-see-tv for people who couldn’t wait to watch Mark accept his next science challenge. I remember writing a segment about the science of inertia using eggs and empty toilet paper tubes. The challenge was to knock the tray out of the way in hopes that the eggs landed safely in the drinking glasses. Remember, this is live television and I was a little uncertain as to whether or not Mark would say yes to doing it. What if it didn’t work? Would he look bad if the eggs broke? Without hesitation, Mark whipped off his jacket and told me to get out of his way. He landed the eggs perfectly!

Egg Drop Inertia Challenge - Cool Science Experiment

It’s hard to believe that eggs and toilet paper tubes could seal the deal, but something happened that day that changed everything. We had chemistry on camera. After successfully knocking the eggs into the glasses, Mark made a funny gesture with his arms that eventually became his signature move. Everyone in the newsroom loved it. You would have thought that he had just won the lottery as he ran around the room accepting high fives from everyone. This guy loved doing science demonstrations and I had just made a new best friend.

Maybe the best lessons I ever learned from Mark Koebrich happened during the moments you didn’t see on television. I watched and learned how Mark welcomed guests to the studio and helped ease their nerves before their big debut on television. He taught me how to write copy, pitch ideas to the producer, respond to viewer e-mail with class, take criticism, offer suggestions, make time for anyone who visited the station, laugh at myself, support co-workers, thank the people behind the camera who make you look good, how to properly wear a microphone and even how to put on make-up. Even in the most stressful of times, Mark made the job look easy and fun. I couldn’t be more thankful for these amazing gifts.

Anyone who has watched our Spangler Science segments on 9NEWS over the years knows that my three boys grew up on television with Mark Koebrich. My oldest son, Jack, took a liking to “Mr. Koebrich” during his first appearance when he convinced the nice man to touch the ball filled with static electricity. When Mark reached out and got zapped with bolt of electricity, little Jack Spangler said, “See Mr. Koebrich, you have to be careful with science.” Jack would run across the newsroom and jump in to Mark’s arms every time he was on the show. And Jack was quick to introduce his twin brothers to Mr. Koebrich as soon as they were old enough to sit on the counter.

It’s a bitter sweet day for me and my family to see Mark ride off into the sunset after so many years together doing every imaginable science experiment on 9NEWS. These pictures are but a few of my favorite memories of a colleague and friend who helped me find the most entertaining ways to make science fun. The one thing that I won’t have to worry about is finding a retirement gift. After ruining countless shirts and ties and burning holes in three perfectly good suits, I know that he’ll put the Nordstrom gift card to good use. Or maybe I’ll throw caution to the wind and make him one of those flaming wallets. Good idea.

A Visit to FOX & Friends

Steve’s Recent Posts

Thanksgiving Science 9NEWSNovember 19, 2019 – 9:50 amThe Amazing Egg Challenge – Alex’s First Spangler Experiment 9NewsNovember 13, 2019 – 6:18 pmFOX & Friends New York 2019October 9, 2019 – 12:24 pm

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