The question is often asked of me, What is your life like with an early morning job? It's different, I'll tell you that.
Di & Ron, KHON2 Wake Up 2Day anchors
I wake up around 2:30 a.m. for a shift that is officially weekdays, 4 a.m. - noon. I say "officially" because it can go longer depending on what news breaks after the show.
I do my own makeup and hair, and while we have a dressing room at work, I prefer to do it at home. Once I get in, I read through the scripts (which is a lot for a three hour show) and help write any unwritten parts. There is always something to write.
Wake Up 2Day's executive producer, Chanel, with Ron and me.
Wake Up 2Day producer Adam, me, Wake Up 2Day producer Lance, and photographer Terry.
We have three producers and an associate producer working behind the scenes. They start as early as 11 p.m. the night before. They find the content for the show by updating any big stories from the night before, and by looking at what's making national headlines.
Once we're in the show, it moves pretty quickly, especially if there is breaking news or many in-studio guests. It's fun and it keeps us on our toes. In this age of social media, part of our job is to keep the social media pages updated as well, so we post Facebook and Twitter updates during breaks, particularly if it's news people really need to know, like a major traffic accident and road closures.
Di interviewing guests outside the studio. Carlson on camera.
It is critical that an anchor team get along well in order to make the show run. I am lucky in that I joined a well-oiled machine with a terrific group of professionals. We all get along on and off air, which is such a blessing.
Jai Cunningham, Di, Ron at Shriners Ice Challenge.
I'm fortunate that I clicked with my co-anchor Ron Mizutani immediately, and that within a few days of knowing each other, it felt like a long and comfortable friendship. One can't fake that kind of energy - nor predict when it will happen - and it does come across on air.
Di & Ron
After the show, the entire team meets to debrief what went right with the show, what can be improved, and what's coming up tomorrow. Ron and I then immediately go to our desks to start writing any elements that we can for the next day's show.
Most morning anchors in television news are required to get off the set and file reports from the field, which will air on the evening news. The entire on-air staff leaves the meeting and goes into reporter mode after the morning news. There is always a story that I'm researching or working on. If I have a shoot that runs late, I stay until the story is filed.
Around 1 p.m. I usually get tired and need a nap! When your body is not in sync with the sun's rhythm, everything is thrown off. I could easily work a 12 hour day under "normal" circumstances, but because I get up so early, I get tired much faster.
I choose this shift because I have a second grader, so I can pick her up from school and spend time with her after work. I may be a bit of a zombie, but at least I see her, and it's worth it to me.
Mommy & Olivia
I go to sleep at 6:30 p.m. Other people work out their schedules different ways, but I like eight hours a night, so this keeps me fairly balanced. It is, sadly, too easy to slip back to "regular" life after the weekend, which makes Mondays hard. Therefore, I don't like to stay up past 9 p.m. even on a day off. Consistency is key.
I have to pick out my outfit and prepare my food for the next day before I go to bed, because that saves me valuable minutes in the morning. I feel like I'm in elementary school when my mom made me do this the night before!
I have no social life. I cannot tell you how many evening activities, parties, and events I've turned down because of this.
The crew! Emi, Moose, Lance, Adam, Jai, me, Ron, Jared, Taizo, Kelly, Chanel
However, I love and need it. I love the energy of the newsroom, the type of work I do, and the passion it fulfills in me. I have known since I began this career right out of college that I loved it, and I consider myself lucky that that passion has not diminished over the years.
On my birthday! I love these guys! Jai Cunningham, Ron, me, Kelly Simek, Taizo Braden.
I also love and appreciate that from the minute I walk into the newsroom - pre-dawn, mind you! - that I'm happy. I so enjoy seeing my friends here. It's amazing that we are joking and chatting before, during, and after the show - and a nice validation that we like one another and the product that we collaborate on. This feeling is not something I take for granted, and is another big reason why it's well worth it to me.
I love my job. How many people can go to work and say that?