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Mike Tussey: Sheila Gray is WKRC Local 12’s ‘gal about town’ — and Ambassador of Goodwill

The City of Cincinnati and Local 12 WKRC not only has a Gal about town, but also has an Ambassador of Goodwill.

Sheila Gray is a dynamite stick full of energy, sheer talent, and personality. Add these facts up, and you have a solid pro who loves her job and her home town.

Currently, Sheila is the Local 12 WKRC Morning Anchor who begins her day in the middle of the night and heads to her studio at WKRC for another day with her #1 Morning Team.

If you were to ask her about arising hours before sunrise and heading to work, she would tell you she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sheila Gray (Photo provided)

Who is this pro that has a million dollar smile that we know as Sheila Gray?

Let’s go back to her early days with Sheila when she was studying at Ohio University and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

She excelled quickly graduating Magna Cum Laude in just 3 years and is a proud member of Ohio University’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Sheila’s career took her to Charleston, West Virginia where she began in radio at WCAW and V-100. Later, it was onto Huntington, West Virginia’s WOWK Channel 13 in 1987 and soon thereafter in 1988, it was cross town to WSAZ Channel 3 through 1999. Even then, Sheila had that magnetic smile and personality that many television talents wish they could find.

Let’s just put it this way, when most talents were in low gear just getting started, Sheila was in overdrive. Sheila’s success and viewer likeability would send to her to Cincinnati’s Fox 19 in 1999 where she excelled for 14 years.

Then, opportunity knocked on her door once again and she would continue to gather in the viewers at Dayton’s ABC affiliate Channel 22 and Fox 45.

By now, Sheila’s career was booming and in 2014 she seized the opportunity to become the Morning News Anchor on WKRC Local 12’s “Good Morning Cincinnati!”

Today, nearly a decade later, Sheila is still at the top of her game and seemingly all over the Queen City and the Tri-State. Really, she is doing what she does best and that is meeting the people, telling her story, and having fun all at the same time.

Sheila Gray and Reds pitcher Andrew Abbott (Photo provided)

When you tune in to Local 12 for “Good Morning Cincinnati” you are likely to see Sheila in the midst of doing anything at all and that includes stomping grapes and even out on the town tapping the keg to begin Oktoberfest in Covington.

Like so many of us here in Reds Country, Sheila is a huge Reds fan and seemingly always promoting the Reds and their community based ideas. Last week she earned the distinctive honor to throw out the ceremonial Reds First Pitch to signal the beginning of the game.

I had a chance to chat with Sheila about her fine career and gain some insight as to how she paved her way to success.

Was there a point in time you were inspired to pursue a career in television?

“ I was always a performer my entire life and loved watching TV and shows like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and the Mary Tyler Moore show. My thoughts were it would be great working at a TV station and perhaps even be a news reporter. All the major players in news back then were men. So I decided work in TV news and while at Ohio University I prepared myself by working in radio, television production, news reporting, writing, and hosting shows too.

My first job in broadcasting was at WCAW in Charleston, West Virginia as a traffic reporter and later at V-100. Bob Brunner of the #1 TV station in Huntington, West Virginia WSAZ Channel 3 contacted me saying “You are everywhere, would you like a job with us?” I quickly said, “Yeah, sure!” I then continued my career at Channel 3 where I could tell stories and be a performer.”

Many of us have had one in our careers, did you have a mentor and if so, who would that be and why?

“I had many who gave me advice, but the best would be Jim Reader of WSAZ Channel 3 in Huntington. He saw something in me I didn’t know that I had. He saw me as a “storyteller” and told me that I had a way of finding out what the good stories really were and that I would find stories where many reporters would not go.

From Huntington, West Virginia to Cincinnati and Fox 19 in 1999, what a great opportunity for you.

“For one thing, I always wanted to be in Cincinnati. I grew up loving the Reds, Riverfront Stadium, and Marty Brennaman. When I moved, I knew this is where I needed to be. I hit it off just great with the GM of Fox 19. I had reported news, but I had never hosted a Morning Show with LIVE interviews, cooking segments etc. However, I soon fit right in. Every day we opened our show by talking about what was going on in the city. It was not scripted at all. Before I began at Fox 19, I watched everything about the operation and wondered, can I do this? I was taught, just to be Sheila.”

After Dayton for a short while, you began your career at WKRC Local 12 nearly 10 years ago and today, you are the Morning News Anchor of the #1 ranked Show, Good Morning Cincinnati.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished over each and every day. You never what’s going to happen on LIVE TV. It’s a challenge we all deal with. One of my first great experiences was meeting John Lomax and I remember him telling me, “You are family now. If anyone says anything to hurt your feelings, you come to me.” John was right, these people I proudly work with are my family. I love coming to Local 12 everyday, it’s a time for me to grow and proudly work with our #1 Morning Show.”

Sheila taps the keg to start Oktoberfest in Covington (Photo provided)

I am sure you have advice for those who would like to follow in your footsteps to success in the industry, what would that be?

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are in our profession. Ask Questions and get all the advice you can. You will work terrible hours, weekends, and may even begin as a traffic reporter, I did. Just follow your dream.”

Over her fine career Sheila has been awarded many awards, here are just a few:

• West Virginia Broadcasting Award for Enterprise Reporting
• Joe Nuxhall Foundation’s “Nuxy” Humanitarian Award
• Honorary West Virginia Mountaineer from West Virginia Governor Cecil Underwood
• Commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by State Senator Jon Draud
• Awarded The Key to City of Cincinnati from Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken

Of course, there’s the aforementioned trip to the mound at Great American Ballpark where she was honored to deliver the game’s “First Pitch.”

Sheila mentioned that she had indeed been practicing her pitches with her Labradoodle “Charlie” as her partner.

After arriving at Great American Ballpark it was soon time to visit the pitcher’s mound and take the baseball with the honor of delivering the ceremonial first pitch.
Sheila took 3 deep breaths and unloaded a high breaking ball that landed on the turf.

She exhibited tremendous mechanics, grit and determination that commanded applause from her fans and colleagues from her alma mater, Ohio University.

The Reds had proclaimed Wednesday that it was E.W. Scripps, School of Journalism Night at the Ballpark. Sheila along with her fellow graduates and colleagues; Randy Rico of WLWT, Frank Marzullo of WXIX and Evan Millward of WCPO were being honored as well.

So, Sheila’s ceremonial first pitch rolled its way into Reds history followed by applause, smiles and a lot of fun. One thing for sure, Sheila Gray – WKRC’s “Gal about Town” already has plans for her next assignment.

Guess what?

Sheila could be in your neighborhood next.

Mike Tussey has “retired” from a 60-plus-year career as a legendary play-by-play announcer for over 2000 football, baseball, and basketball games, including most recently for ESPN+. His career also includes a stint in law enforcement, teaching and coaching, and writing books, including the “Touchdown Saints.” He grew up in Eastern Kentucky and now lives in Florence with his wife, Jo. He has opened another “Door of Opportunity” and is now a regular columnist for the NKyTribune.

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  1. Don Stewart says:

    Mike Tussy is a Great Historian.

  2. Ric Robinson says:

    That is a great story about a remarkable woman! She only gets better and better!!!!
    Next year marks 25 years in Cincinnati.

  3. S. Crews says:

    She is awesome! So proud of my cousin. She juggles everything with such ease and grace.

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