Temple University - Broadcasting, Telecommunications, + Mass Media
Television hosting is a coveted gig for many broadcasting hopefuls, and Emily Reppert was no exception. Ever since she was a little girl in Reading, Pa., she had aspirations of being in front of the camera, and Emily followed those dreams, wherever they took her.
After graduating college in May 2009, Emily co-hosted the popular Web show "Down the Shore" on Philly.com for two seasons, and then bounced around the country for several projects. During October 2010, she moved to Dallas, Texas, and worked as a receptionist at Star Community Newspapers, did news updates for their website, and also hosted a Web show called "Project Denton". From April 2011 to early 2012, Emily lived in Alexandria, Minn., and worked for KSAX-TV as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Then came her biggest role to date: in January, Emily moved back to Dallas and began hosting "Chevy Hometown Kids".
Only in its first season, the show just received two Lone Star EMMY nominations: one for Children/Youth/Teen-Program/Special and one for Emily as On-Camera Talent-Program Host. The freelance life proved invaluable to Em. She says, “It took me nearly two years after college to land my first full-time television gig but I’m glad I didn’t give up and settle for something else.”
I think the key is being versatile.
When did you know you wanted a career in broadcasting? Was there ever a “plan b”?
I recently came across a home movie of my 7-year-old self telling the camera, “I’m a reporter,” so I think there never really was a “plan b”. By the time middle school rolled around, I was testing the waters as the weather girl. I majored in broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media at Temple University, landed my first job hosting a Web show after that and haven’t looked back since.
You’ve held jobs co-hosting a popular Web show, as a TV reporter, and now hosting and producing "Chevy Hometown Kids". How did you get a job like this?
I’ve dabbled in a little bit of everything. My first gig co-hosting a show on Philly.com helped me get a feel for being on camera and engaging an audience. My second job, reporting for KSAX-TV, is where I really developed my chops as a journalist. From finding the lead to shooting and editing it all together, I discovered what it takes to tell a compelling story from start to finish. When I was approached for this job, my diverse background and ability to do more than just show up with a microphone and ask questions helped me land the gig.
What does your typical job schedule and day look like? Does that change at any point during the year?
Every day is a little different than the one before, which is one of the reasons I love what I do! Half of my workweek (which is usually Monday through Saturday) is spent on location shooting segments. I may be in another part of the state learning how to surf or interviewing a nearby little league about their successful season. The other part is spent in the office blocking out episodes, writing and editing segments, and using social media to keep the audience connected. I also help find stories, set up shoots and anything else to make sure the show is a success every Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
Breaking into the business is probably the hardest part of “making it” in this industry, so when I actually landed my first television job, it was a big sense of accomplishment.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
I am not the most organized person, which can be a challenge. I don’t have a typical 9 to 5 job, so my day-to-day schedule is always different. I have to spend much more time mapping out my week to make sure I meet my Wednesday deadline. From little things like picking out my wardrobe, to finding time to edit four stories between my shoot schedule, everything needs to planned out each week to make sure things run smoothly and efficiently.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Absolutely! It’s always been important for me to put my career first, which sometimes means sacrificing my social life or moving across the country, but I find balance in the fact that I absolutely love what I do. It’s hard to consider rock climbing or interviewing an Olympic hopeful a tough day on the job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Never give up and never settle. I know sounds cliché, but it’s very easy to get discouraged in this industry. It took me nearly two years after college to land my first full-time television gig, but I’m glad I didn’t give up and settle for something else. It’s important to maintain that mentality throughout life.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful as a host and a producer?
I think the key is being versatile. It takes more than just a pretty face and charming personality to host a show. One of the most important lessons I took away from college is master as many aspects of the business you can. Learning to produce, write, edit and shoot all of my own work has not only made me successful at my current job, it will continue make me an asset in this industry.
What advice do you have for women (whether in college or looking to switch fields) who aspire to walk in your shoes?
Nothing is below you. Learn as much as you can and take as many opportunities that come your way. I never turned down work I thought could benefit me. At one point, most of the clips on my demo reel were from a project I did for free, and if it weren’t for that experience I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Still doing what I love and continuing to grow. I would like to help "Chevy Hometown Kids" reach the national market. But whether I’m with this show or moved onto something else, I want to feel fulfilled at the end of each workday and happy with my career choice.
-Interview by Kathleen Garvin