Hour Detroit: As a Detroit native, how does it feel to report on news in the city as it continues to evolve?
Rhonda Walker: To see us like I’ve never seen us before in my lifetime has been amazing. We have a little bit of everything in Detroit, and there’s always a connection with many national and international news stories. To be the hub of innovation, automation, the automotive industry — I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
What do you love about your job at WDIV?
Anchoring our morning news every single day for the last 15 years is a standout project. A segment that I recently started is the Brag Book. I honor outstanding kids that I have found from all across the metro Detroit area. I’m also passionate about health and fitness. In the Fitness Friday segment, we highlight different types of workouts and different gyms. Spending time doing health and fitness activities and spending time with our young people provides a balance to heavy news.
Does it make the early hours worth it?
For sure. I do love the mornings — [my wake-up time of] 2 a.m. is obviously a little before morning (laughs). But the one thing I love about my hours is that I have a whole afternoon where I can catch up on a lot of things. It does free up my time socially and also with my charity [for teen girls].
What are some of the Rhonda Walker Foundation’s recent milestones?
We’re giving away $55,000 in scholarships to 16 graduating seniors this year. That is our largest graduating class and largest single-year amount of money that we’ve been able to provide in scholarships. We also expanded so we’re now in four middle schools with after-school programs.
What’s your advice for a young person who wants to follow a similar path?
No matter what your interest, you should get as much exposure as you can to different careers. If you find the one you really want, and maybe it’s not popular with your family or counselors, but if it’s your passion, you’re going to achieve that. I try to be encouraging to anybody, even if you’re not young. You can be in a career where you’re not fulfilled but you can change it. I was in pharmaceutical sales out of college. Great career, but it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t what I would wake up at 2 a.m. for. This is something I love so much that even if I didn’t get paid for it I’d still be like, “well, I still want to do it.”