You would think Elizabeth Woolsey, the WDRB news anchor for the 4 and 10 p.m newcasts, would be comfortable delivering the news to a large, “live” audience. Not so. In fact, public speaking was one of her greatest fears. While completely at ease in front of the cameras, talking before groups of people used to terrify her. But that is about the only limitation you could put on this capable, popular broadcaster, wife and mother. Just don’t try to tell Woolsey that she cannot “do something.”
“When someone is discouraging or tells me something isn’t possible, that gives me the incentive to work even harder to prove them wrong and show it can be done.”
Woolsey’s path to WDRB was not a straight shot, but serpentine. For starters, fresh out of the University of Missouri, Woolsey parlayed her Political Science degree into a job on Capitol Hill and Washington D.C. She worked for a U.S. congressman for several years before deciding that politics were not for her.
She returned to her hometown in Springfield, Mo. and weighed out her options. She had always had an interest in broadcast journalism and decided to give that a try.
"I did an internship at the station I had watched growing up, on weekends, at KY-3, the dominant TV station in my hometown.”
Woolsey learned from the internship that she had a passion for broadcasting so she did a day job at a bank and worked nights and weekends at the TV station, gaining valuable experience with the reporters and photographers.
“Before I got into this business, I was told I would need to get a masters degree in the field, that itwould be difficult for me to make it, otherwise . . .”
From KY-3, Woolsey would land a job in Joplin, Mo. as a production assistant, where she ran the studios cameras and teleprompters, and worked her way up from there.
From Joplin, she landed a reporting job in Fayetteville, Ark. It was here she would meet her future husband, Travis.
After a while, she was offered an anchor position in Lawrence, Kan. She maintained her commuting relationship with Travis. She eventually moved back to Fayetteville, working for a rival station, and married Travis.
After sending out many audition tapes, she was finally hired by WDRB for “Fox in the Morning,” WDRB’s new morning show, in Aug. of 1998. Woolsey started anchoring the 10 p.m. news right after 9/ll, in 2001. She picked up the 4 p.m. newscast a couple of years after that.
Elizabeth Woolsey was born on February 7th in Santa Fe, New Mex. Her parents, Ann and William, moved the family to Springfield Mo., and Woolsey would go to Alice Pittman Elementary and Springfield Catholic High School. As for her younger days, Woolsey said she ran track and was a cheerleader in both junior high and high school.
Going on to college at University of Missouri, Woolsey gave up sports but was really active in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.
Woolsey loves our fair city for a variety of reasons.
“I love it because you’ve got a lot of things a bigger city offers,” Woolsey said, “Lots of great restaurants, great shops and a great arts community. And you are so close to so many things. It has a small town feel in a bigger city.”
Woolsey said that about the only thing she would change about Louisville would be more downtown shopping, And that is being taken care of by Nu Lu (Main Street) and So Fo (South Fourth Street).
Growing up, Woolsey imagined she might become a lawyer. Her grandfather was a lawyer with an office in Springfield. But after a couple of courses in law in college, she decided otherwise. If she were not presently an anchor, Woolsey could see herself as someone in the fashion industry.
When Woolsey is not working, she likes to relax at home with family.
“I love to spend time with my kids Samuel, 6 and Nicholas, 4.,” said Woolsey.
“So we’re always doing something, whether it’s swimming or tennis or baseball or soccer. Something’s always going on.”
Woolsey’s other hobbies include reading, shopping, dining and traveling, although she admits she rarely has the time to travel, anymore.
As for individual tastes, Woolsey says that pizza is one of her favorite foods. She craves dulce de leche de salte (a type of caramel) from the Comfy Cow, as her favorite ice cream. Her favorite TV show is “Homeland.” “Leap of Faith,” by Queen Noor is one of Woolsey’s favorite books; one that gave her great insight into the Middle East situation. And as for music, she is totally comfortable with alternative.
Woolsey is universally liked and respected by her colleagues at WDRB.
“Elizabeth is so poised and polished,” said Gilbert Corsey, her 4 p.m. co- anchor.
“She has that rare quality in news not just to read but connect…almost like she jumps from the desk into your home…”
News Director Barry Fulmer has known Woolsey since the day she walked into the studio in August 1998. Her first job was as an anchor of “Fox in the Morning”, where she also booked the guests for the shows.
“She has a passion for journalism and broadcasting.” said Fulmer. “She is known for getting some big interviews.” He went on to say that she was the only local anchor to interview Academy Award- winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence, recently.
Meterorologist Marc Weinberg says that Woolsey is “as clean, and close to perfect of an anchor as you’ll ever want to meet… She is just so good at what she does.”
He noted that she rarely ever mispronounces a word or stutters in her delivery.
On the lighter side, co-anchor David Scott quipped that Woolsey "owns a thousand pair of shoes.”
Weinberg said they often kid each other about their clothing.
Fulmer revealed that because Woolsey is so small in size, she actually has to sit on a pillow to give her a boost before the cameras. This reporter was even taken aback at just how petite Woolsey is in-person.
But while Woolsey may be small physically, she has definitely established herself as a giant in TV news, in the Louisville market!
Photo by: Bobby Densford