#90Seconds of Appreciation: What I learned from anchoring the morning show

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Mike Hydeck, me, Monika Samtani, Howard Bernstein
Mike Hydeck, me, Monika Samtani, Howard Bernstein

I recently filled in as Morning Anchor on our WUSA9 morning show for 2 weeks. To say it was a rewarding experience is a huge understatement. I am so happy I got to work with and bond with new (to me) co-workers, andI even got to see my station in a new perspective. Can you imagine how fantastic it is to work with people who really like their job and are enthusiastic about it? And – get this –  many of them get up at 1am to go to work. Yes, you read that correctly. If your next question is ‘when do they go to sleep,’ the answer is some go to sleep around 7 or 8pm, some even later. For those 2 weeks, I strived for 7pm, and even hit that goal a few times.

Andrea Roane
Andrea Roane

Morning Anchor Andrea Roane was on vacation for 2 weeks, so for the first week I filled in for her, I shared the desk with co-anchor Mike Hydeck, and the 2nd week I shared it with Morning Meteorologist Howard Bernstein (because Mike was working nightside for the station at the Congressional golf tournament). Traffic Anchor Monika Samtani delivered critical traffic information to viewers for the entire 2 weeks, and Meteorologists Olga Breeze and Erica Grow delivered the weather the 2nd week while Howard co-anchored.

In short, it was a great opportunity for me to further hone my anchoring skills on a 2-1/2-hour-long morning show, to let a whole new set of viewers get to know me and see my work, and to thrive in a different news environment with a different team. I am so grateful for the opportunity and look forward to doing it again in the next few weeks.

Sometimes I like to express gratitude in lists. Therefore, here are the top 10 things I am grateful for after working most recently with the morning show team:

  1. I am grateful that I am trusted to sit in for a few days for a woman I so admire, Andrea Roane. Her stilettos cannot ever be filled, but what an honor it is to share the seat of a journalist that so many people learn from, look up to and happily welcome into their homes each morning.
  2. I have been a news reporter/anchor for 10 years. I’ve met tons of celebrities and big names, especially when I worked in New York. Still, when Charlie Rose and Gayle King said my name on air, it made me giddy with glee. Ok, I admit it, I’m a bit starstruck, but also just really appreciative of the opportunity to be in their company. And to be close to Gayle is to be a step closer to Oprah, who’s a personal idol of mine. Yes!A double-box with Charlie Rose. Yes!
  3. I learned that it is possible to be a cool mom and have a great relationship with your children. I got to see how hard Monika Samtani works each day to keep viewers out of danger and traffic jams, but I also got to learn a little bit about the great relationship she has with her children. I even got to meet her gorgeous daughter. Monika is the kind of person you gravitate towards, friendly, caring, personable, hard-working with the right perspective of what’s important in life. She sets a great example for working women, especially me.

    Monika Samtani and me, goofing around
    Monika Samtani and me, goofing around
  4. I am grateful to have been an important part of people’s getting-ready routines. I didn’t take this opportunity lightly. I know it’s a critical role to steer people into their days, help them get to work on time, be aware of how the weather will affect them, and let them know what’s going on in their neighborhood. I took that job very seriously and contributed as much as I could to make sure the news was communicated to our viewers as accurately, concisely and conversationally as it could be. No one has time to decipher big words or wade through lots of facts when they’re trying to match their socks, and put on makeup. What we do isn’t rocket science, but there’s a way to do it the best you can and a way to just wing it. I worked hard at getting it right 100% of the time.
  5. I am grateful that I had a gracious co-anchor in Mike Hydeck who held my hand through the first day or two, and was as courteous as could be when I, let’s say, read his script by mistake. He made me feel part of the team, and because of that, he ensured my success. He embodies the term “team-player,” and he’s just a fun, and interesting guy. Plus, he introduced me to a web series I’d never heard of before – Daryl’s House. If you haven’t checked it out, do it now!
  6. Because of Mike’s lead, I was able to offer the same graciousness to Howard Bernstein when he co-anchored with me the following week. Howard is a master at weather, and he’s been WUSA9’s Morning Meteorologist for years, but anchoring requires you to keep the ball in the air for the entire show, and timing is something you have to pick up. Because Mike had such an excellent lead, I picked that up and was able to offer just the smallest bit of guidance to Howard, which ensured his success. He did a fabulous job!
  7. Two words and a letter: S.Epatha Merkerson! (By the way, it’s pronounced ee-PATHE-ah. Now you know.) You know her from playing Lt. Anita Van Buren on Law And Order for almost 20 years. I got to interview her, and it was a great time! I watched her for years on one of my favorite shows and she was as nice and funny as could be.

    S. Epatha Merkerson visits WUSA9
    S. Epatha Merkerson visits WUSA9
  8. I am grateful for all the nice compliments my co-workers gave me on my anchoring. They didn’t have to go out of their way to tell me they liked my work, but they did. It meant so much to me. The next time you have a compliment for someone, tell them. You can change their day for the better. It’s that simple. I know I will.
  9. I am grateful that I got to work with some amazing producers who really care about our mission, telling our viewers what they need to know in the most compelling and effective way possible. And they start their jobs even earlier than the anchors! Some get in around midnight. Kelly, Jessica, Oji and Heather are great co-workers and they get it done.
  10. Two words: Anetra Gaines. Anetra was the morning show’s Executive Producer, until just last week when she left for a job closer to her family in Detroit. It is no understatement to say she was the heart and soul of the morning show. Her attention to detail, her no-nonsense way of getting it done, her infectious laugh, and her camaraderie will be missed. At her going away party, Anetra was surrounded by so many people that loved working with her that you knew she made a huge impact on so many lives. It’s a huge loss for WUSA9, but a big win for her new station. We all wish her well, but it won’t be the same here. I was touched by how many people it appeared she touched, and it inspired me to be even more of a team player and a more present co-worker to anyone who needs an ear. Anetra has that way of making you feel good when you’re around her. It’s inspiring.

    The gang wishing Anetra good luck!
    The gang wishing Anetra good luck!
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