Posted by: Ted D. Davis
Eunice Elliott has been promoted Morning news anchor at WVTM 13 News after a delightful stint as its morning traffic reporter. Tall, attractive, voluptuous, bubbly, and quick witted, Elliott’s background as a Journalism/Theater major at the University of Alabama and as a stand-up comic has lent itself to her comical, fun, energetic delivery of traffic and those same qualities should lend themselves to dynamic reporting of news in general. Says WVTM President and General Manager Hank Price, “we’re proud of her for earning this promotion, and happy to trust her with the additional responsibility”.
After graduation she had the privilege of going to work for broadcast titan ESPN in Bristol as a production assistant, eventually working in PR for the Tennessee Titans organization, and eventually running her own successful sports PR firm.
MCR wishes congratulations to Ms. Elliot and we’re excited about her future in journalism and the quality, highly entertaining brand of news that she will help deliver to us! We recently got a chance to speak with her about her promotion, high profile past, and plans for the future.
MCR: Congratulations on your promotion to News anchor!
EE: “Well, thank you very much”. (Excited yet subdued)
MCR: I remember when you were the tall, fine, jovial Admissions Director at Aveda Institute in Hoover. With a background in Journalism, what led to a stint as a wellness administrator, and how did that lead to your role as Traffic reporter at 13?
EE: “Really? How do you know I worked at Aveda?”
MCR: I considered attending the school, visited, and saw you while I was there. Of course I saw you! (laughing)
EE: “Well then, you know me. I was in fact Admissions Director there for a year. I ended up at Aveda because I’d answered an ad for a Part-time cashier. I wanted the job because I’m a fan of Aveda products and wanted the discount associated with the job (laughing). After they interviewed me they felt I was a better fit to be the full-time Admissions Director”.
MCR: Where you at all nervous the first time you delivered traffic on live television?
EE: “I assume I was. I tend to not get nervous when speaking in public because I do so much of it, but doing the traffic in a room full of people I just met made me more nervous than thinking about actually being on television.
MCR: I don’t remember seeing you in front of the camera, but I know you enjoyed a stint at worldwide broadcasting leader ESPN earlier in your career? Tell me about that time.
EE: “I was a production assistant at ESPN, so I produced segments for SportsCenter. It was my first job out of college and was a lot of hard work, but fun.”
I have an awful memory, and have had so many great experiences throughout my career, sometimes my friends remember moments from life better than I do. Not long ago, however, a girlfriend of mine watched an ESPN 30 for 30 on Maurice Clarett (star freshman running back of the 2002 National champion Ohio State Buckeyes football team) and saw who she thought was me in a clip escorting LeBron James on the Red Carpet during the ESPY’s (Excellence in Sports Performance Award presented each since 1993 by the American Broadcast television network (ESPN)). I asked her to forward the link to me to review the clip, and sure enough it’s me being escorted by LeBron. That’s how good my memory is”.
MCR: Being a comedian must lend itself to the funny, uninhibited way you’ve reported traffic.
EE: “They brought me in to bring personality to the show. When they hired me they told me that they wanted to be in the ‘Eunice business’, though I had no experience in traffic. They brought me in because I’m a comedian”.
MCR: But you see that more today in business, where a cross section of skills rather than just a specific skill set, bring people together to drive a product. You see it where a medium such as CNN produces chef and writer Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown in an effort to offer food and culture news and information to a viewership who tunes in primarily for national and international news. Because of Bourdain’s efficacy for reporting on world events, such as the Tsunami in Japan or the Earthquake in Haiti, while reporting on food and culture, the relationship works, just as yours with 13 does”.
Have you set a precedent in local news with your reporting style? Did it take your associates time to get used to it?
EE: “I hadn’t thought about it that way until you put it that way. However, I’m proud that they asked that I be myself, and proud to have remained true to that.
MCR: You previously worked in Public Relations for professional athletes. Who were some of them, and what did you take away from that experience that has aided you the rest of the way?
EE: “My first client was LaVar Arrington (former overall no. 2 selection in the 2000 NFL draft and one of the great Washington Redskins). He had a reputation as a difficult guy because, among other things, he wouldn’t sign with the Player’s association and thus his jersey couldn’t be licensed. He also warned me that he had gone through a couple of publicists before me. I asked him to give me one week during the Super Bowl to show what I could do for him. He ended up signing with me and we enjoyed a successful relationship”.
MCR: What’s your history in stand-up comedy, and do you plan for a bigger future in it?
EE: “I have plans for bigger and better stand-up success. I had no plans to do this originally. I was voted class clown in high school and was initially insulted because I thought I’d win Cutest girl or Most Likely to Succeed. It was after a break up that I decided to pursue comedy because I wanted to be interested in myself again. Fortunately, it worked out!
MCR: Tell me about www.euniceworld.com.
EE: “It’s a website that I don’t keep up! (laughing) When I started it, it was about bringing exposure to my comedy, but I admit I haven’t been as diligent in managing it as I could be. My presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other mediums is of greater use to me today. What did you think about the site?
MCR: I love it, especially the videos. The “Cleanse”, “Temperature”, and “Cuties in the Greenroom” ones are particularly hilarious.
EE: “When I first started at the TV station I would do those little videos on my breaks. It was to entertain myself and then my co-workers got into being a part of them.”
MCR: Birmingham has long been called the Magic City. How is the city’s cultural scene more magical today than you could have imagined it twenty years ago?
EE: “Twenty years ago I couldn’t imagine that Birmingham would be a place I’d settle on purpose. After college I wanted a career in sports and then after that comedy and acting, and at the time Birmingham didn’t provide much of a sector for that. When WVTM contacted me in 2013 about the traffic slot it presented an opportunity to come home to family and take on a new challenge.
MCR: How’d you score the promotion?
EE: “While attending Alabama as a Journalism student, I learned early on that I didn’t like reporting bad news. That’s why I pursued Sports. After accepting the position at WVTM 13, they asked me to fill-in as anchor and after that one time, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. More opportunities to fill in came up and I took the opportunity to learn and grow in the position. At the time that I was in journalism school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa I didn’t want to do news because it’s usually so full of tragedy, and I purposed to go off in another direction. I chose sports as a happy diversion. As fate would have it, a while back when an anchor was out here, I was required to fill. I was incredibly nervous, but I was reminded to be myself, and that that’s why I was hired. I had the privilege to anchor a few more shows, and the more I did it the more comfortable I became with it.
At the time the position came open, a talent scout came out to critique myself and six other candidates. He gave us all notes on our test and he too told me to be myself. After the round of interviews concluded, they called me in to tell me that they were proud that I earned the job.
I’m proud that being myself earned me the position, but I’m prouder of my company for selecting me for being me, not passing on me for my relative lack of technical experience. I’m very grateful for the experience”.
MCR: And fans can connect with you on?
EE: Twitter @euniceelliot and Facebook.
MCR: I’m proud of that. (laughing)