This is a very special week at ABC 7 News This Morning. Our newscast celebrates its 30th anniversary on April 3rd - that is also my personal 30th anniversary at ABC 7 - I was hired as a Traffic Anchor specifically for that show, a first for television news!
My first week I shadowed Alan Krashesky, learning to report for TV news. He had already been there nearly 7 years! Coming from the revolving door of radio, I remember thinking, what is that like, working at the same place for that long. Who knew!
Thirty years and thousands of stories later, I have so many special memories. I was recently asked to do a Q & A for the station newsletter. I’d like to share a bit of that with you.
How has the station and your role changed since 1989?
I could write a book on that! The station has gone through an incredible amount of changes in technology, from the way we broadcast to the equipment we use, to the State Street Studio. My role continues to evolve and grow, even after 30 years - at the core, my traffic anchoring is still the top priority, but I continue to look for compelling stories to cover, while integrating all the on-line platforms and social media. It’s almost like having a second job!
What is your funniest/craziest story doing your job either out in the field or on-air?
Some of the craziest things I’ve done on-air are the many “reporter involvement” feature segments. I’ve flown with stunt pilots for the Chicago Air Show, I’ve done “Job Swaps” with the cast from “Guys and Dolls” to Chicago radio icon Fred Winston! I’ve learned to kayak at the Indiana Dunes (and flipped over in the process), I’ve gone behind the scenes at the Mars Candy Factory, Gonella Bread, the old Jays Potato Chip Factory, the Kohler Factory, Lyon and Healy Harps, R.S. Owens where they make the Emmy statuettes and the list goes on!
What are some of your best memories from over the years?
The friendships, hands down. I have, and continue to work with some of the best in the biz and we’ve gone through a lot together. I’ll always be grateful for the support from my ABC 7 family when I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2006. Both the General Manager and News Director came to my home to visit. Who does that? Nearly 13 years later they still “got my back.”
Over the past 30 years we’ve shared everything from birthdays to births. We’ve interviewed celebrities, politicians and sport stars. I have worked with three General Managers, 4 News Directors, 3 male News Anchors, 5 female News Anchors, 3 Meteorologists, and more than a dozen Producers and Executive Producers on the morning news, as we went from a half hour newscast airing 6:30 to 7:00 am to our current 4:30 to 7:00 am show.
I’ve reported on countless construction projects, covered stories on new interstates and gone behind the scenes from Chicago’s tallest buildings to our underground system of bridges.
Personally, I’ve gone through ??? marriages (but who’s counting!) - it’s only the current one that matters! I’ve raised my daughter Sara on this crazy morning shift - she is now a Columbia College grad, working in her field in Chicago.
i’ve been honored to advocate for breast cancer care and awareness and numerous pet shelter/adoption agencies.
I have met and been inspired by incredible educators and students during the dozens of early morning High School “live shots” over the years. You’ve got to be impressed when hundreds of teens get up that early to show school spirit!
All but one of our sports teams won a championship since I’ve been at ABC 7 - the Bears ’85 Super Bowl win was during my earlier radio days!
The best part of my job has always been, and continues to be sharing compelling stories - from helping people get through traffic troubles to stories in the community that make Chicago Proud.
I have the utmost respect and gratitude for our viewers - without their support, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do - and continue to do it in the years to come!