When Chelsey (Poncé) Aprill graduated from IWU five years ago, she had done just about everything possible at WIWU-TV and the IWUCom Division: producer, reporter, co-host, camera operator, writer, even stage actor. But she had never produced a live newscast. Three months later, she was responsible for an hour of news every day, and now she does it on one of the biggest stages in local television – NBC 5 , KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
Aprill (CommArts ’08) started her news career at WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio. She was hired as a part-time producer, on the overnight shift and got a job as a waitress to help pay the bills. “A few nights, I had to drive straight to the station smelling like Coors and ketchup,” Aprill said. “I could drink coffee any hour of the day and still fall asleep.”
But she knows God provided. Less than a year later, she got a full-time job at the NBC affiliated station in town, WDTN-TV. In addition to producing daily newscasts, she became a vital part of the station’s social media strategy. “For once, my youth was an advantage,” Aprill said. “When our anchors didn’t get the concept of a hash tag, I was the one they asked.”
In 2011, Aprill thought her news career might be forced into hiatus. Now married, her husband Jason had been accepted to a grad school in Dallas, Texas—one of the five largest television markets in the country. “I didn’t even look for TV jobs at first,” Aprill admitted, “But a former coworker ‘knew someone who knew someone’ and suddenly, I had an interview.”
Two months later, Aprill started her job at KXAS, the NBC-owned station in Dallas-Fort Worth. “My first paycheck came from 30 Rockefeller Plaza,” she said. “I felt like Tina Fey!”
Aprill launched the station’s first midday newscast in August 2011. Now she’s helping shape its expansion to an hour-long show. “Being a producer requires constant learning,” Aprill said. “I might be stressed or time-crunched, but I am never bored.”
Aprill said her IWU communication experience is still foundational to producing. “I know how it feels to read from a prompter and edit on a deadline. I bring those perspectives to every show I produce. They give me realistic expectations of my coworkers in those roles, and a deep respect for those who do their jobs well,” she said.