wendi2While growing up, WIOD’s Wendi Grossman knew she wanted to be a reporter. “My parents have home movies of me at age 8 or 9 doing newscasts in our living room. I was lucky; I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I majored in journalism in college and then started as an intern at WGST-AM in Atlanta, Georgia in 1995,” Grossman says. “After jobs at stations in Charlotte, ABC in New York, and Atlanta again, I ended up here in Miami.”

Grossman has spent her entire career working in radio, and one of the biggest changes she has seen in radio reporting is the influence of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. “We’re monitoring Twitter and Facebook 24/7 and use it as a cheat sheet, because we want to report on what’s trending. Not only does social media help us generate story ideas, it also helps us constantly connect with our listeners.” Interestingly, Grossman says Facebook is a more effective tool than Twitter to connect with WIOD’s listener base. “Our average listeners are 35+, and we’re a heritage station in southern Florida. People tell me they’ve grown up listening to WIOD, so we use Facebook first.”

Grossman also explains how social media has influenced the way reporters prepare stories. “Now, when we are out for a story, we have to be sure to take pictures we can later use on social media.” One of the aspects of social media that Grossman loves is that it allows her to constantly be communicating the news. “We have more ways to get the news out. I can be sitting in a city council meeting, and instead of having to wait until I get back to my desk, I can use my phone or laptop and report on the meeting as its happening, and listeners can direct message us with questions about what they see.”

For Grossman, one of the keys to good radio reporting is having the ability to boil down complicated news stories to short on-air clips. “One of my producers told me to think of every single word in a story as painting a picture for listeners. Our goal is to paint a picture and make each story as clear as possible for listeners.” In Grossman’s eyes, the best type of news story to report on is one that listeners can connect with emotionally. “A great story is easy to understand and gets people fired up.”

Of all the stories Grossman has reported on, her favorite type is breaking news. “I like the live aspect of it. There are lots of people covering different things, and everything is changing minute to minute. For me, it’s the most exciting part of being a reporter. We have news every day, but we don’t have breaking news every day.”

If Grossman could interview one person in history, it would be Mark Twain. “I would want to ask him how he had insight that was so ahead of his time.” If she wasn’t in radio, Grossman would want to get involved with the local community. “I’ve reported on a lot of different groups in the area, like children’s advocacy groups. I would try and work with one of those groups and do something where I can help people.”

Stay tuned…