Natalie Pasquarella is moving to the big time.
After eight years at WSOC (Channel 9), Pasquarella is moving to the weekend anchor chair at the NBC flagship station in New York City, the nation’s top media market.
Pasquarella got a taste of the Big Apple while attending Kent State University. She interned at NY1, the Time Warner Cable station in New York.
“After that, I always knew New York was where I wanted to cover the news hopefully one day,” she says.
In Charlotte, Pasquarella displayed a rare natural intensity and telegenic gift that shot WSOC’s 10 p.m. newscast to first place only months after she took the anchor chair.
She arrived at WSOC in 2008 and started on the morning show, moving up to the 10 p.m. broadcast two years later. That newscast soon overtook WCCB’s (Channel 18) lead in the time slot and has been steadily expanding its dominance over the last two years.
WSOC’s 10 p.m. hourlong newscast, which also features chief meteorologist Steve Udelson and is carried on sister station WAXN (Channel 64), now commands 55 percent of the news audience at that hour against rivals No. 2 WCCB and No. 3 WJZY (Channel 46).
A native of Steubenville, Ohio, she was working at her hometown station when hired in 2008 by WSOC. Both stations were owned by Atlanta-based Cox Media.
Pasquarella says she wouldn’t leave Charlotte for just any job. She loves living at Lake Norman and serves on the board of A Child’s Place, which addresses the problem of child homelessness.
She also supports Communities in Schools, Classroom Central, Second Harvest Food Bank and the American Cancer Society.
“I came here as a northerner and the city was so welcoming. … People always say it’s hard to leave, but it is hard to leave Channel 9,” she says.
“She is flat-out adored in this newsroom,” says colleague Kim Holt, who directs the station’s investigative reporters and special projects. “Obviously viewers love her, but so does everyone who works with her. She’s never without a smile.”
In 2011, Pasquarella was sent to Washington to interview President Barack Obama on local-international trade issues. She has done investigative series on human trafficking and the rise of black tar heroin in Charlotte.
But she says one of her favorite assignments has been the Friday “Family Focus” segments that she shares with anchor Erica Bryant. “We get to talk about wonderful people doing great things,” Pasquarella says. “To me, the most memorable stories are the day-to-day ones that come from the heart.”
She plans to remain at Channel 9 through the summer and probably start at WNBC in September. In addition to weekend anchoring in New York, she will work as a reporter during the week.
“We both know that she will take the city by storm,” said WSOC general manager Joe Pomilla and news director Julie Szulczewski in a joint statement announcing her departure to the staff.
Pasquarella says that Channel 9 anchor Blair Miller brought her flowers when she announced her news to the newsroom on Friday.
Pasquarella is the oldest of four children in her family in a tight Italian family in northern Ohio.
So what did your mom say?
“She knew it was my dream and said she was proud of me. ‘Blessings,’ she said. It’s a Pasquarella thing.”