Embarrassing moments to snarky tweets, I get asked a lot of questions about my life as a television personality. Below are some of the many things I get asked most about being on TV. If you have a question I didn’t answer, leave a little comment at the end of this post and I’ll make sure to include it in a future one.
Q. When did you know you wanted to be on TV?
A. I’ve wanted to be on TV for as long as I can remember. My parents would go to parent-teacher conferences where they’d be told, “Ellen’s a great kid. She just talks too much.” I figured I might as well make it my career.
I went to college, majored in broadcasting, and wound up in radio for 10 years. At one point I was told I was “on the wrong side of 30 and the wrong side of the scale” to ever get into television. The only thing wrong were the people who told me that because in 2017, just months before turning 33, I was hired as the full-time features reporter for Q13 News.
Q. Which do you like better? TV or radio?
A. I was expecting the two to be way more similar than they are but truthfully, they’re so different it’s comparing apples to oranges.
Radio is more personality-driven. I also liked that I could stroll into work wearing a ball cap and no makeup (which I did often.) I can’t do that so much on TV.
I find television to be more rewarding. Sure, I don’t get as much time to talk but when I do, it’s meaningful. There’s also way more planning and coordination and teamwork that goes into making great TV. I’m really having fun learning all of the in’s and out’s of this industry.
Q. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened on TV?
A. I was doing a live interview with a man who had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. That in and of itself is amazing but this guy had done it without both of his legs! (He’d lost them due to illness when he was a child.)
This gentleman was about to get on stage, in front of thousands of students, to share his inspirational story about never giving up. Well, if you’ve spent any time in theater, you know it’s bad luck to wish someone good luck so, what did I say instead? On live TV, I told the man with no legs to, “break a leg.”
At that moment, everything slowed down. But now slow enough for me to shove my words back in my mouth. I wanted to die. Luckily, he was kind and totally laughed it off. I’ll never forgive myself.
Q. What’s the worst part about being on TV?
A. I thought I was prepared for the attention that my high-profile career came with, especially considering my past in radio. I was very wrong. My thick skin isn’t phased by hate tweets or snarky comments. However, there have been times where I’ve never been more scared before in my life.
As a single woman, I’ve always taken extra precautions to keep myself safe while still maintaining my independence. I’ve had people think I’m talking to them through the TV. (Something I thought only happened in bad Lifetime movies.) I took my independence and anonymity for granted.
“But you knew what you were signing up for.” Well, kind of, but not really. I can’t do anything about it now except to learn what my new normal is. I’m blessed beyond belief and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Q. What’s the best career advice you’ve been given?
A. As I waited to interview country superstar Luke Bryan, my then radio co-host, Tony Russell, said, “Ellen, always remember that if you treat someone like a celebrity, they’ll treat you like a fan. Instead, treat someone like a friend and they’ll treat you like one, too.”
It’s the 21st-century version of the Golden Rule and isn’t only great career advice for those in media but for everyone in general.
If you got to the end of this post and I still didn’t answer your question, please leave it in the comment section and I’m more than happy to answer it. Also, you actually read this entire post?! I love you!