Humans of Lexington | Erica Bivens

Erica Bivens, Morning News Anchor WTVQ Lexington Kentucky

Tell me about your role as a morning news anchor on WTVQ
My day starts around 3 a.m. when I wake up, brush my teeth, make a coffee and head to work. I spend my drive catching up on news that happened the night before and overnight (since I ‘try’ to get to bed by 8:30 p.m.). Once I’m in, I typically do my makeup while reading through scripts and making sure we have the latest news in our show. I anchor Good Morning Kentucky from 5-7 a.m. with my co-anchor Cody Adams. I also do radio news for several area stations during commercial breaks. We are typically in studio after show for a bit since we still have news cut-in’s during Good Morning America. After that’s finished, it’s a quick turnaround for our one hour show at 9 a.m. called Good Day Kentucky which is a very different pace. We typically have several guest interviews during the show which can make things pretty busy! I also assist with writing web stories and posting to social media on the station’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. We always love sharing things from our community so use the hashtag #abc36news!

What is your background?
I hail from Michigan but have lived in several states and an island due to my work and my husband’s work in the U.S. Coast Guard. I studied Broadcast Journalism at Michigan State University where I also received a minor in Women, Gender and Social Justice.

What inspired you to become a news anchor?
Barbara Walters was one of my earliest memories of television news and how much I enjoyed seeing her stories and interviews. She has a real knack for finding the human connection and I really admire her for not just focusing on reporting the ‘news’ but digging deeper to share the full story. I also loved Oprah when she was still doing her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. She has such a larger than life personality and was able to connect with her guests beyond a surface level which I really admired as well.

As a news anchor, what is the hardest part of reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic?
Getting into a routine and talking about new cases and deaths as if they were just numbers. While it’s important we share the latest figures with our viewers, it’s also incredibly important to remember every number is an actual person who has family members and friends who care about them. I try to remember that when I share the latest number of cases – that it’s important to allow yourself to feel when you’re reading these stories and not just be a robot spitting out numbers and facts without emotion. 

Who is the bravest person you know?
My mother. She came to the U.S. from Japan when she met my father and decided to get married. She didn’t know a single soul here. She didn’t have a job. But she knew she would make it work and she most certainly did.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Laying on the couch and binging endless hours of Netflix… with our pets… eating ice cream. Definitely guilty of that on more than one occasion.

What’s your favorite place on earth?
Nature. Anywhere I can be outdoors away from everyone and everything. There’s something so peaceful and soothing about that.

What should be required reading for every human?
Aside from the Bible (I am a big believer in daily devotional journaling), there’s a book I always recommend for people looking for a little inspiration who may be juggling a number of tasks. “The Joys of Much Too Much” by Bonnie Fuller is described as a manifesto for the woman who wants it all written by a woman and it certainly delivers!

What movie could you watch on an endless loop?
I’m terrible with sitting down and watching a movie start to finish (usually because a nap is calling my name after an hour) but I’d say a good classic like Casablanca or Gone with the Wind. I’m more of a show person because I can usually handle 45 minutes at a time no problem. Blame the early morning shift haha. I can nap anywhere at this point.

What historical event would you most like to have witnessed?
That is a tough one! Having just celebrated Easter, I think seeing any one of Jesus’ miracles and witnessing what life was like with him on Earth would be truly incredible.

What is your most prized possession?
I always think of this question from the perspective of what I would grab from my home if it were on fire. Aside from my husband and pets, I’d make sure I grabbed family pictures. Besides the memories, they’re the last thing I really have left to remember of my dad who passed away a few years ago… along with pictures from my parents past to be able to show my kids one day.

What places or adventures are still on your bucket list?
So many places and things I’d love to see… I love traveling! Bora Bora, swimming with whale sharks, the pyramids, ride a camel in the desert, hike Machu Pitchu, the list goes on and on!

Have you ever had a mentor?  How did they help shape you as a person?
I’ve been very blessed to have several great mentors. From teachers to news directors and veteran news anchors, I have worked with some incredible people who have helped shape the individual I am today. It’s important to have good mentors and to also try to be a good one yourself. 

What’s the one thing in life you’re so glad you did?
I’m glad I took a leap of faith and moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a news reporter job. It helped me grow as an individual, gave me a once in a lifetime experiences as a journalist and is also where I met my husband! 

Who’s the one person who changed your life?
God. He has given me renewed purpose in life, helped guide me to a career I truly love and handed me trials and tribulations for which I’m thankful for because in the end it’s made me a better and stronger person.

If you would like to follow Erica on social media, here’s where you can find her.