The Anchor Becomes the News

Lynda Loveland makes a life-changing transition.

By Kurt Dusterberg
Photo by Davies Photography
Lynda L-0299 Final-web-2.jpg

For nearly two decades, Lynda Loveland has been a fixture on WRAL’s newscasts as an anchor and reporter. Recently, she announced that she is leaving the station on December 1st to become public policy director with the North Carolina Farm Bureau. The time is right, she says, for a better work-life balance. Lynda and her husband, Randall, who also works in the WRAL newsroom, have three children, ages 10, 12, and 14. She hopes to have more time to be a mom—as well as squeeze in a few more days at the beach and hours in her garden.

Midtown Magazine: In some ways, this is a move back to your roots. Tell us about your upbringing.

Lynda Loveland: I grew up in southwest Missouri, completely a farm girl. We had about 300 cattle. I showed cattle in 4H and FFA all through middle school and high school, but I was the kid who had no neighbors, as far as the eye could see. And I was pretty immersed in sports; I played volleyball, basketball, and ran track.

MM: Where did you go from there?

LL: I didn’t know what I wanted to do really, so I went to the Air Force Academy for a year and played basketball there, then came back to Missouri. I did a year at SMS [Southwest Missouri State]. I had a public speaking class there, and after a couple of speeches, my instructor asked what I wanted to do. I said, “I don’t know!” He asked if I had ever considered getting into broadcast journalism, so I started taking classes, fell in love with it, and then moved to Dallas and started at the University of North Texas.

MM: You glossed over playing basketball at the Air Force Academy, no small feat. How did that come about?

LL: I got recruited. I was either going to play there or the University of Missouri at Rolla. I ended up going there for a year, but I didn’t know if I wanted the military to be my life. I just wasn’t sure at that point, and you have a year to decide. I really like the military and had some doubts about what I did. But fast-forward, and everything worked out for the best.

MM: That’s Division I basketball. So how did you play?

LL: I was okay. I played a little bit and held my own. I was kind of the scrawny Midwest girl. I learned. It’s tough. The difference between high school and college is like night and day. And the training? I was so skinny. You talk about the “Freshman 15” [pounds], but for me that was filling out.

MM: How did you land your first job?

LL: I applied for an internship at a little TV station in San Angelo, Texas. As it turns out, the tape I sent them arrived at the same time they had an opening for a weekend anchor. It was my senior year in college. I remember sitting on my couch, eating a bowl of Lucky Charms, watching the news, and getting a call from the assistant news director. I got the job—so I left school early, started the job, and finished up my credits at Angelo State University. I spent a year and a half in San Angelo at KLST; then I got a job back in Missouri at KOMU.  I worked there for three and a half years and then came to WRAL.

MM: When people see you in person, are they surprised how tall you are?

LL:  I’m 6-foot, 1½ inches. They say, “I had no idea you were so tall!” Gerald [Owens], my partner, he’s 6-foot, 6 inches, so we’re both big people. I usually wear heels, and then I’m even taller. Sometimes I forget how tall I am and I’ll see myself on video and think, “Oh my gosh! I’m huge!”

MM: One interesting thing about TV jobs is that the public knows you. Your life isn’t entirely private. Has it been mostly positive?

LL: People do notice me more because I’m tall, but anyone who has ever said anything to me has always been so kind and not intrusive. It’s like when we go to the State Fair. Everyone is always thanking us for what we do. But I’m thinking: No thanks needed. I love what I do. It’s so rewarding that way. Everyone is so incredibly kind and gracious.

MM: I imagine it was a difficult decision to leave WRAL. I understand your children factored into it. Why did you feel now was the time?

LL: Their ages. When they were younger, it was a little easier. They went to bed earlier. But now, there are more [sports] practices at night. They’re in middle school and high school. So much more happens—and can happen. They’re exposed to so much, with social media the way it is. You’ve got to be there, face to face. You have to be a major force in their life, and I feel I haven’t been with my job. It’s just how the news industry is. It’s time. They’re all going to be out of the house in eight years, and you know how quickly time goes by with children. I’ll never get that time back.

MM: At their ages, the sports come fast and furious.

LL: The older two, a boy and a girl, are into soccer, and the youngest, a girl, is into volleyball. They’re on travel teams. So I’ll be more involved in that. Right now, I can help with practice if I can get away on a dinner break. I’ll run home or to the field, then come back to work. I’ve made it to a few [games], but it’s kind of rare.

MM: There’s nothing worse than missing your kids’ games when you’re at work, is there?

LL: I bug the heck out of my husband with, “What’s going on? Text me the update! What’s the score?” I’ll sit at work and think about it going on. I need to be there. With the new job, if I need to take off early, I can—or if I need to work from home one day. Family is very important to them in that regard. I’m looking forward to it.
 
MM: And yet, you’re giving up a career that has been near and dear to you for a long time.

LL: (She sighs and fights back tears.) I’m going to miss everyone so much. I work with some really great people. We’re all very close. They really are my second family. We’re always there for each other outside of work, too. That’s the hardest part. But my husband still works there, so I will see them. It’s weird still, cutting the cord and getting out of the business. It took me a long time to come to this decision, but I really feel in my heart it’s the right thing to do.

MM: Do you kind of relish the opportunity, thinking maybe there’s something else you can do well?

LL: It was very scary at first when I started looking at jobs, just looking at the skills needed—and of course, none of it is tailored to being in the news. But once you start thinking of it, it’s the same skills—so, working with the North Carolina Farm Bureau, I grew up on the farm. My passion, too, is for farmers. Now, I have the opportunity to help them and represent them. I still get to help people, but in a different way.

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