Voss to stress community work as WTOL-11 co-anchorWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
WTOL-11 anchorwoman Emilie Voss said the outpouring of Toledo love has been amazing since being tapped to fill shoes left behind by former anchor Chrys Peterson.
“I think it’s challenging, but I have an amazing support system in this community,” Voss said in a recent telephone interview. “They have been so supportive, it’s almost overwhelming … I get support from complete strangers at the grocery store. … It is intimidating. But that’s why I liked Toledo from day one because it’s so supportive and that’s what drew me to this region. My friends and family are all in California, but I feel like I belong here and the reason for that is the people, especially in the last few weeks.”
Peterson’s Jan. 2 announcement of her departure from the anchor desk at WTOL-11 to spend more time with daughter, Riley surprised and shocked viewers and co-workers, including longtime co-anchor Jerry Anderson. Voss had been co-anchor with Peterson since April 2012 and will continue to anchor the 5:30 p.m. WTOL newscast as well as the evening newscasts at 6:30 and 10 on FOX.
“Emilie is a leader in our newsroom,” said WTOL News Director CJ Hoyt. “She’s well-liked, she’s great at what she does. We couldn’t be in a better position to fill this chair than with someone who’s been with us for the past two years and has learned so much from Jerry and Chrys.”
Anderson said he’s confident Voss will do great in the role.
“It’s a luxury to have someone like Emilie waiting in the wings to jump into that position because it’s important and she’s going to do a great job at it,” Anderson said. “She’s a lot of fun and she’s really committed to getting it right. … She is meticulous. She asks questions. … And the thing also about Emilie that is cool is she knows she’s not Chrys Peterson. She admires and loves Chrys Peterson but she’s very comfortable in her own skin.”
“I’m very excited,” Voss said of her new position. “Chrys leaving was a shock to all of us and I’m excited to take on this new role and it’s a challenge. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.
“I think it’s big shoes to fill. I’ve had the honor of working with Chrys for two years. I see the impact she’s had in the community. I have an amazing support system at the station. I’m lucky to have had Chrys as a mentor. I hope to continue on with what she’s doing. Her spirit is in the community.”
Voss is heavily involved in the community as well. She volunteers at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center as a “cuddler,” a person who holds babies and is an extra set of hands for the nurses. She also volunteers for the American Cancer Society.
Most recently, Voss participated in an event much like the television program “Dancing with the Stars,” in which she was paired with a professional dancer to raise funds for local nonprofit The Arms Forces. The event, “Dancing with the Military Stars,” was held May 10 at Toledo Express Airport and helped raise money for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries. The program has a national reach, Voss said.
Voss got her start in television in 2004 at Grand Junction, Colorado, at station KREX-TV. She worked there two years as a reporter, where she shot and edited her own video and wrote the copy. It was a “complete one-man band,” she said. While there, she was promoted to weekend anchor.
“I was making $18,000 a year my first job out of college. It was just a shock to me to live on that money,” Voss said. “But it was a reality check. I didn’t think I ever wanted to anchor. They offered me $2,000 more and I went to anchoring and fell in love with it.”
She transferred to WILX in Lansing, Michigan from 2006-08 where she fell in love with the region, she said. In 2008, she moved back to her hometown of Palm Springs, California, where she worked for station KESQ.
In Lansing and Palm Springs, she worked as a morning anchor. It wasn’t until she came to Toledo from Palm Springs in 2012 that she moved to the evening shift.
“I was applying for a job in this region. I knew I wanted to end up back here. [The station] wanted another anchor with Jerry and Chrys. Timing-wise, it was perfect. I feel so blessed I’m next to Jerry and [formerly] Chrys. They both greeted me with open arms and in our business that’s not always the case. They helped me jump into community involvement and helped me feel comfortable at work. For people who have been working here so long, they didn’t have to open their arms.
“There could be a reality show on commercial breaks,” Voss said. “[Anderson] is so funny and Chrys is exactly what you see on TV. I joke she’s like a mom to me. She prefers sister. … She’s become close to my mom. I talk to [Chrys] every day still and see her once a week. We have a friendship outside of work. Our desks were next to each other in the newsroom. I miss having her chat with me all day, but I get more work done. She hasn’t completely cleaned out her desk. I keep pretending she’s on vacation.”
Peterson said she’s happy for and proud of Voss.
“I’m really pleased for her,” Peterson said. “She’s not a whole lot older when I took that job 20 years ago so it’s fun for me to watch and she’s going to be able to grow into that position like I did, where you get to know the community and they get to know you. And the viewing audience … will appreciate her professionalism and her warmth and they will be happy to watch her grow in the upcoming year.
“We became friends and we’re really similar in the way we approach stories and news and our sensitivities and that sort of thing. I mean, I absolutely loved working with her and she’s going to do a great job.”
In her new role, Voss hopes to continue growing and further involve herself in the community.
“At the anchor desk, I’ll just continue what I’m doing. Jerry makes me a better anchor and Jerry makes me grow. I’ll continue to be involved in the community. I think that’s a huge part of this job. Not because the station asks it to be but because it should be. Jerry asked me how important being involved in the community was and that was important to me.
“They have some event every weekend. They do breakfast and lunch when they go to work. I’ve just continued down the path with that. I’d like to get even more involved.”
Tags: American Cancer Society, California, Chrys Peterson, Emilie Voss, FOX, Jerry Anderson, KESQ, Lansing, Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Michigan, News Director CJ Hoyt, Palm Springs, WILX, WTOL, WTOL-11