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An Anchored Life

Aundrea Self

Aundrea Self

When Starkville native, Aundrea Self, was a student at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, she thought her career might take her to far-off places.  Little did she know that she would still be in the Golden Triangle area years after graduation working at the first and only television station she applied to.  While Aundrea was still in school, she actually got her start in radio, working as the Morning Show sidekick at WACR in Columbus.  She eventually moved up to producing and dee-jaying a Hip-Hop radio show and an R & B radio show at Cumulus Broadcasting.  She moved over to television and her current employer, WCBI, as a producer for their morning program, “WCBI News Sunrise”.  She began reporting, eventually becoming co-anchor of “WCBI News Sunrise” and “Midday” and now hosts her own morning show, “Mid-Morning with Aundrea”, as well as co-anchoring WCBI News at 5 and 6.  Aundrea is the recipient of many Associated Press Awards for her work.
Her career path definitely had her poised to move on up to larger, more urban news markets, but fate intervened.  Aundrea met her husband, David Nichols, around the time she was approached by other stations.  Needless to say, the heart won out.  She and David married, and she became stepmom to Kimberly, 20 and Alan, 18.  Three years ago they welcomed Emilee to their family.  As she says, “Priorities change.  I love WCBI and felt the need to stay here.  It’s home.”  She credits former “Midday” anchor and producer (and former Columbus mayor) Jeffrey Rupp with seeing the potential in her when she was at an insecure time of her life.  When an anchor position on “Sunrise” opened up, he encouraged her to audition.  She hasn’t looked back since, although she does miss radio due to not having to wear makeup, or comb her hair on some mornings.
Her favorite part of being a newscaster is the fact that no two days are the same.  One day, you’re the bearer of tragic news and the next, you’re doing a segment on judging a mustache contest.  There’s a clean slate to work with every day.  Her favorite story, by far, is when she got to interview Barack Obama when he came to Columbus during his first run for the White House.  She felt honored to speak with him.  Some stories leave their mark long after the newsworthiness fades.  One is the Tyler Edmonds case.  Aundrea was one of the first people to interview his mother, Sharon Clay.  Aundrea felt so sorry for her because Tyler was a 13 year old boy who was left with someone his mother trusted, and that trust was horribly abused.    Moved by the pain and confusion in Sharon’s face as she dealt with a horrible situation, Aundrea kept close tabs during the trial, not because of any thoughts about his guilt or innocence, but because his mother was so “helpless in what was happening to her baby”, yet still had to put her trust in other people for the welfare of her child’s life.
Her advice to young people trying to start their careers in broadcast journalism is “Don’t let opportunities slip by.  Take a chance.  Also, stay off social media sites like Facebook or Twitter so much.  Don’t broadcast all your business!  Some things are sacred.”  She doesn’t have many regrets.  She says she is a spiritual person and feels there is a Divine order to everything.  Self-described as “nosy by nature”, Aundrea Self believes that “this job was made for me”.

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