Stephanie Martin Taylor began her broadcasting career on television in Pittsburgh, PA, where she worked from 2am until noon — with no break. Since coming to KQED Radio almost nine years ago, she’s been “all over the clock,” starting as the evening radio news anchor and moving next to morning anchor. Around the time of the recession, she was part of a KQED show called California Money before becoming midday anchor, then evening again and midday again. “I now have the most normal schedule I’ve had in my broadcasting career,” she notes.
What is a typical day for you?
I have two jobs — anchor and report. When I come in at 10am I have on my anchor hat, and I’m thinking about the midday newscasts. I’m looking at what Josh has done that morning and what’s been on The California Report. I’m talking to our editor about anything new coming in. It’s a lot calmer for me than the morning and evening anchor slots — it’s not so much a race.
After the 1:04pm broadcast, I move into reporter mode. I’m either filing stories from my desk or I’m doing what I really like to do — feature reporting, going out in the field and working on stories that take a bit more shoe leather. I like talking to people who are going through real, everyday struggles. I’ve been doing a lot on housing recently, which is the big Bay Area story right now, and something I can relate to.
Is there a recent story that stands out?
One I did on tiny houses. The people who live in them tend to be quirky and fun and innovative and fun to talk to, but I was surprised by how crazy other people are about tiny houses. Readers and listeners responded and shared the story, and it went viral. I grew upin Texas, where having plenty of space is taken for granted. It makes you realize how little we really need to live.
What do you like about your job?
I consider myself to be a lifelong learner and inquisitive person, so I love that it’s an education every day. I get to talk to people that I would probably never come in contact with — from Maya Angelou and Dianne Feinstein to the firefighters who were on scene at the World Trade Center bombing. What other kind of job would give you that kind of access?
Challenges of the job?
Having enough hours in the day. I really love doing feature reporting, but that takes time. And because I’m physically tied to the station for several hours a day, I’m limited in where I can go and how much time I can spend on it. That is, unless I’m lucky and can find someone to fill in for me.
I’ve been asking your colleagues if they have any guilty pleasures.
Where do I even start? [laughs] I’ll admit that occasionally I get McDonald’s milkshakes. I love their fries too. And in this building, I hide my McDonald’s bag. I don’t know if there’s any other place I’d have to do that!