Katie Phernetton: News Anchor at Eau Claire WCWF


Hannah Vanden Heuvel & Olivia Vanden Elzen, Staff Writers, Journalism I

“I have always felt more comfortable talking to a bunch of people I didn’t know,” said Katie Phernetton, 2009 NDA graduate.

As the morning show news anchor, Phernetton co-hosts “Daybreak” for WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire.

“I don’t have to look good til 4 a.m.,” said Phernetton.

She shared her alarm goes off at 1:45 a.m. and is into work by 2:30.

Once she is in the office, Phernetton will start her day by checking emails, as well as the Wisconsin and Minnesota news wires and affiliate companies’ stories.

Phernetton then checks over the script and production cues to make sure they are correct and written how she likes.

Then, she does her hair and makeup before the show goes live at 4:30 a.m.

“It’s an adjustment. That’s for sure,” she said.

Along with adjusting to her new morning schedule, Phernetton has learned the importance of sharing emotions on air and to push through errors.

“You’re in people’s homes every day,” said Phernetton.

Phernetton explained people will greet her in public because they feel they know her due to her role in their daily lives.

As Phernetton adjusts to covering hard news, the more serious and larger stories, she shared the emotional ties that emerge.

Phernetton told how she began crying as she reported the recent Girl Scout fatalities.

“No matter what journalism you’re in, don’t be afraid to have emotion,” said Phernetton.

 A Second Take on the Same Story

Prior to her early morning job in Eau Claire, Phernetton kicked off her TV career as the CW 14 “Star” doing feature reporting, a much lighter job compared to hard news.

She was voted in by the community for a one-year contract at CW. However, the contest turned into a five-year stay for Phernetton.

She also has experience in sports broadcasting. Phernetton interned at WBAY Sports prior to her graduation from UW-Green Bay and then worked as a production assistant at FOX Sports until this fall when she was picked up by WQOW.

“I’ve always followed the action,” said Phernetton.

At NDA Phernetton was involved in theatre and band, took Public Performance with Mrs. Brown, and was an emcee for Mr. NDA.

Following her current two-year contract with WQOW, Phernetton would like to report in a bigger market or return to Green Bay.

Katie Phernetton, NDA Class of 2009, has landed a new job doing what she is most passionate about: news reporting.

During her time at NDA, Phernetton could always be counted on to be involved in almost everything that involved public speaking, such as the musicals, band, public performance and even as an emcee for the most beloved Mr. NDA.

“In high school I really loved being in the center of the action. I got involved wherever I could,” she said.

Her enjoyment of being involved eventually turned into thriving off of meeting new people and hearing their stories.

To pursue this calling, Phernetton graduated from the desks of NDA and made her way to  Winona State University with the intent to study Broadcasting, and even worked for a radio station on campus.

Two years later, she decided to continue her studies at the UW-Green Bay where she graduated with a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Electronic Media.

Nearing graduation, CW-14 hosted an audition, “CW-14 Star,” in search for a fresh TV personality where both the television station and fans would vote the best auditionee to win a one-year contract with the station. Upon hearing this, Phernetton immediately signed up and won the competition.

“The station actually liked me a lot so my one-year contract turned into five years with the station,” she explained.

Phernetton’s five years with CW-14 just recently ended when in August of this year, she was presented with a job opportunity from the WCWF station in Eau Claire as an On-Air Personality/Morning Show Anchor.

“It was really a big deal to move from Green Bay since I am so close to my family, but I really do like Eau Claire,” she said.

In the future, Phernetton ideally would still like to be anchoring, but for a larger market, such as Green Bay.

“Eau Claire is now ranked the 130th largest media market out of the nation’s 210 markets. Green Bay is a little bigger at the 70th largest and it’s a little closer to home, so hopefully I can make it back there in the next 10-15 years.”