Morning Express‘ lead anchor Robin Meade spoke with Zimbio about her morning program on HLN and her career in music.
When asked what happened when she arrived in the studio, she responded:
The show starts at 6. I’d like so say I give the makeup people ample time to do their job, but I don’t. It’s terrible of me, but they’re kind of like the Nascar pit crew of makeup teams. On a good day, I might give them 15 minutes. Isn’t that terrible? I always joke “I’m sure you guys would do a great job, if only I’d give you enough time to do so.”
The show is live for four hours, 6-10 AM ET, and if there isn’t breaking news, that last hour will play again. If there’s breaking news, I’ve got to jump back in and help. It’s six hours of me. I joke that I’m tired of hearing myself talk by the end of it. Obviously, I’ve been really grateful. I’m just grateful that viewers are watching after all these years and that we’ve become a morning habit for them.
When asked about her music:
I’m no Beyonce, but I’m really grateful that I’m at a point in my news career where my bosses understand both sides of my personality and let me express myself through music. Growing up, I was a preacher’s kid, so I thought everybody got up and sang in front of people. It seemed normal to me. I remember when the concept of stage fright was introduced to me in third grade and someone said “don’t be nervous” and I was like “oh, are you supposed to be nervous?” As I grew, my dad encouraged music in the home and at school, but he was like “I’m not encouraging you to be a rock star or a country star. I don’t want you to go into music as a field.” So I was in high school by this time and I thought “darn” because I wanted to pursue music professionally. I started writing songs on my own a little bit, but I was like “what am I going to do now?” I remember thinking I was going to be a music teacher and then, funny enough, someone told me in high school that to be a music teacher, you had to learn every single instrument in the band. Whether that was true or not, I don’t know, but I was like “oh, hell no. I’m not learning every instrument.”
About why she chose journalism:
For a long time in high school, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I took an aptitude test and mine came back and said communications, reading retention, and creative writing were my strengths. There was also a question with a blank space asking “what field would you go into?” I grew up in a corn field, so I wasn’t graced with knowing what types of opportunities there were if I was willing to move to a city. So I glanced over at my friend’s paper and she had the same results and wrote down broadcast news anchor. I went “that is a fine idea!” and that’s where my whole life came from. Can you believe that?
When the interviewer pointed out Morning Express is an unbiased newscast, she responded:
I’ve gotten into a groove. A lot of our viewers watch our show and then they go away to different networks. Maybe they have political allegiances, but they have an innate feeling that I’m very strict about making sure that people from both sides have fair times. Not just equal time, but I’m also cognizant of balancing serious stories with light and fluffy. Sometimes there will be a story where you have to comment, but it won’t be politics.
About the daily Salute to Troops segment:
A number of family members have gone into the military, whether it be uncles or cousins, and I just said to my mom this weekend: “When I think about people who choose to go into the military, I tell you what, you are a lot more brave than I am. I know right now that you are braver and you do things that I don’t do or would be willing to do.” Here are people who join knowing that, at times, they are going to be away from their families. The Salute the Troops segment, which we’ve done every morning, every hour, for a decade, is viewer-generated and it’s the least we can do. It’s that thank you for these people whose lives rotate around their duty. Just last week we had a salute from a service member who said something along the lines of “I’m sorry I can’t be there, baby, congratulations on your graduation.” That is a dad who couldn’t be there for a high school graduation because he is deployed right now. When you think about the life events that they miss, oh my gosh, they are way more brave than I could ever be. I’m just grateful for it and the staff is, as well. The viewers have responded to it and there are no plans to take it out.