Milwaukee Talks: WISN-12 anchor and reporter Shelby Croft
Until she arrived in Milwaukee, Shelby Croft was following the playbook for every up-and-coming television journalist. She jumped from market to market, position to position, ultimately serving as a main anchor in Salt Lake City.
But Croft knew there was something more in life than market size. She moved to Milwaukee in 2006 to get closer to home, to start a family. Already married, she had a daughter ... then she got divorced. A single mom with a high-profile TV job, Croft's story is an interesting one.
Last week, we sat down with Croft over sushi for this latest Milwaukee Talks.
OnMilwaukee.com: Describe the winding path that brought you to Milwaukee.
Shelby Croft: I'll give you the rundown. I started in Hastings, Nebraska, the smallest place on Earth. It was actually fun, because we were a bunch of transplants from big cities. Everyone was on their first job. I think it was market 107. I was there for a year. Then I moved to Columbia, S.C. It was decent; I was there for a couple of years. Then Toledo for three years. Phoenix, Salt Lake and here.
OMC: I'm assuming none of these places were where you wanted to live forever. Were you looking to improve with each move?
SC: I would say that, but the Milwaukee move was actually to settle down, but then, life happened.
OMC: Phoenix is a larger market than the rest, right?
SC: Yeah, I was a weekend anchor. I went to Salt Lake to be a main anchor.
OMC: But why Milwaukee? Is it because you're originally from Michigan?
SC: I was near my parents, my sister, and eventually I had a kid here.
OMC: Then divorce, single mom ...
OMC: And your ex-husband doesn't live in Wisconsin. What's a day in your life like? It sounds hectic.
SC: It's insane, because I have to juggle daycare with sitters and someday has to pick my daughter up and put her to bed at night. I teach yoga outside of this, which takes up time, as well.
OMC: Why do you do that?
SC: I love to teach yoga because it's something that makes people feel good. My daily job doesn't always make people feel good, but I leave that room and people are so happy it's ridiculous.
OMC: Are people surprised that the person they watch on TV is teaching them yoga?
SC: Yeah, they think it's pretty cool.
OMC: One of things that surprises me about Milwaukee's media is that everyone hangs out together, regardless of where they work. Is Milwaukee different than other places?
SC: I've experienced friendly everywhere I've been. I think that's the way news works – it's such an incestuous business, everyone knows everyone, anyway. We all have crazy hours, so these are the people who can understand why we go out for a drink at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night. Not everyone can understand that.
OMC: Are you recognized in places you don't want to be recognized?
SC: It's pretty funny. I don't wear a lot of makeup outside of work. I'll sometimes get, "Are you Shelby Croft's sister?" I get recognized more by my voice than my looks.
OMC: How has social media changed your job?
SC: Oh my God. We didn't have the internet when I first started. People sometimes say that local news is a dying medium, so we have to keep up with social media, by being active in it, being a player instead of hating it.
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