WBTV (Channel 3) was the first big break for Shannon Bream, now Supreme Court reporter for Fox News. And her hiring in Charlotte came at a good time.
She’d just been told she’d never amount to anything as a newscaster.
Bream was practicing labor law in Tampa when she got the TV news bug. She talked a local news director into letting her have an internship, then an entry-level job writing scripts on the overnight shift.
When a new news director arrived, he decided to clean house and called in Bream.
“He told me I was terrible. He said, ‘You’re the worst person I’ve ever seen on television.’ He said, ‘I hope you’re a better lawyer than a reporter, and you need to go back to that.’”
Bream had a good weep in a soundproof edit bay, summoned the strength to make a dignified exit and went looking for her next job. She found it in 2001 at Channel 3 alongside longtime morning anchor John Carter.
Carter remembers Bream as smart, poised and hard-working, but most of all funny.
They were doing a newscast from Channel 3’s old Center City studio beside Bank of America when one of the robotic cameras went haywire.
“She’s reading this serious story and the camera pointed at her starts going up and down and sideways, and then spinning around while the video part of the story was running.
“She just lost it laughing and she fell out of her chair. Its was spinning around like nobody’s business, like it was possessed. She was on the floor, and I had to finish reading the story, then we went to commercial.
“From that day on, there was never a day there wasn’t a production person there in case those cameras went wrong.”
After three years, Bream joined the NBC affiliate in Washington, then Fox in 2007.
She may be in the spotlight a lot if the election is so close it goes to the Supreme Court, like the Bush v. Gore case in 2000, but Bream thinks it is unlikely the court will intervene.
“I think they are loathe to do that again. I think the justices would be reluctant to get involved, taking the heat they did last time. Just about any appeal that goes to the Supreme Court, it’s their decision whether to take it up or not.”
Still, she’s putting together a primer of how recounts are done, state by state. “If it’s close, it’s going to be hard for either campaign to resist exercising all their legal options. I’m planning to be prepared to not have the election settled on Nov. 6.”
Bream has been assigned by Fox next week to cover the swing state of Iowa, where she worked in the caucuses.
Bream, 41, grew up in Florida. While attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., someone suggested she enter the Miss Virginia pageant. She did, and she won and represented the state in the 1991 Miss America pageant. Her scholarship award covered much of her education
While at law school at Florida State, she won Miss Florida USA and competed in the 1995 Miss USA pageant, covering more bills. Pageants also helped shape her presentation skills.
“I had horrible stage fright before Miss America. I’m a classical pianist by training. It’s one thing to play in your teacher’s house, but another to play in front of 80 million people on TV. But I got over my jitters. It was a great learning experience for a 19-year-old, something I would never have had otherwise.”
At year’s end, Monica Palumbo will be departing from Ace & T.J. morning show on WHQC-FM (“Channel 96-1,” 96.1). Palumbo, an East Mecklenburg High grad, Miss North Carolina USA in 2001 and former Miss Sprint Cup, said on Thursday’s show she wants more time with her new husband. …
Alan Cavanna is leaving WSOC (Channel 9) for a job as reporter and host at NASCAR.com. At Channel 9 for four years, Cavanna covered education but also made a successful sideline in motorsports reporting, receiving the Russ Catlin Award for Excellence in Motorsports Journalism in January. Replacing Cavanna on the CMS beat will be reporter Torie Wells, who is coming off a series for WSOC in October that truth-checked political ads running on the station. …
Joining Channel 9 is Catherine Bilkey from the CW affiliate in Dallas where she was consumer reporter. She’s a graduate of New York University with degrees in broadcasting and Mideast studies. … Frank Dominguez, long-time program director at WDAV-FM (89.9), will serve as interim general manager following the resignation of general manager Scott Nolan, who led the Davidson-based classical station for 14 months. … Keith Whitener, who won more than $100,000 on “Jeopardy” in recent days, is a graduate of Myers Park High School. …
Local winners in the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas include Jeff Sonier of WBT-AM (1110), who was named radio reporter of the year and won first-place awards for investigative, education, general news, political and series reporting and second-place for consumer reporting. … Fox Charlotte’s (WCCB, Channel 18) Israel Balderas was named TV news anchor of the year and sports director Bruce Snyder was second-place winner for best sportscaster; the station won second-place for series with “Reboot Charlotte.” … From WCNC (Channel 36), Michelle Boudin and Dan Robbins won first place in feature coverage; Dianne Gallagher and James Capozzi won first place for general news coverage; Boudin and Matt Hammond won first place for sports reporting; and Stuart Watson, John Gray, Jeremy Markovich and Dave Wagner won second place for news documentary; and Dan Robbins won second place for photographer of the year. … From News 14 Carolina, second place awards went to Heather Waliga and A.J. Chodora for health reporting; Mike Cartelli, Ben McNeely, Samantha Shepard, Joshua Kleinstreuer and Carly Swanson for best website and Loretta Boniti for election coverage. … CN2 News in Rock Hill won second place for best newscast and special report. …
UNC-TV says it will air “best-of” episodes of “North Carolina People with William Friday” in the show’s 9 p.m. Friday time slot through the rest of the year. A decision has not been made yet whether to continue the program, which ran for 41 years. Friday died last month at age 92. … You may recognize Rock Hill’s Winthrop University in episodes this season on Showtime’s “Homeland.” Claire Danes was filmed in the classrooms, and the campus also serves as the school backdrop for Dana Brody, played by Morgan Saylor. …
ESPN’s Hannah Storm, whose TV career started in Charlotte at Channel 36, will host “SportsCenter Special: NASCAR Face-to-Face” at 8 p.m. Tuesday featuring candid conversations with Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.