PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - It’s time for a look back as WTAP celebrates its 70th year in the Mid-Ohio Valley. In the spirit of celebration, we have invited some familiar faces from the past to celebrate with us. We sit down with Ashley Sturm in this week’s “Turning Back the Dial”. “I grew up watching WTAP, every morning we would watch Daybreak, and when I went to Edison, I was like the morning anchor.
I would read the announcements, and it was then that I knew I wanted to be a news anchor.” Ashley Sturm is a Mid-Ohio Valley native who has been acquainted with WTAP from a young age. Growing up in Parkersburg, one of Sturm’s first official segments on WTAP came after a pleasant surprise. “My senior year of high school, I applied for the Glenn Wilson Scholarship, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was sitting in the awards assembly, and I saw in the program that the Glenn Wilson Scholarship was going to be given out that day, and I just got so nervous hoping that it was going to be me...and then they called my name, and I just remember that moment still so vividly. It was like an out of body experience and my first scent on WTAP was that evening.
I got to do a 5:00 interview. It was so fun, but it is awesome at that moment was to be like, recognized by your hometown station for what you wanted to do, like, you wanted to be a news anchor and they were recognizing that. I had no idea what that moment would set in motion.” Sturm eventually came full circle when she was invited to come back to WTAP as an intern before her senior year of college at WVU, where she studied broadcast journalism. “...And then as soon as I graduated, John Fortney, the news director at the time, gave me a call and offered me a job as the Daybreak producer.
My first day was Labor Day of 2014, and I knew absolutely nothing about producing because I wanted to be a news anchor. But I loved it, and I filled in whenever I could, covering breaking news as a reporter, and even filling in for weather, which was a very humbling experience.” Sturm eventually received a call that would put her down the path that she had been working toward from a young age. “...that spring John Fortney called me and wanted to meet me at Tim Horton’s.
And I thought that was really weird, because John Fortney just didn’t call anybody and ask to meet them at Tim Horton’s. So, I ordered my iced cap, and I sat down, and he said, “Ashley, I want to extend the 6:00 and 11:00 anchor and producer position to you”, and I was blown away because I was still fairly new to The Newsroom.
There were so many more people in The Newsroom, more experienced than me. But I took it. I was so excited. My dream was to move up to be the six and 11:00 anchor, so I would produce the six and I would Co-anchor it with John and then I would produce the 11 and I would anchor that by myself.” While Sturm followed her dreams in the world of journalism, a chance meeting led to even more excitement. “I met my husband while working at WTAP He at the time worked for Congressman Bill Johnson, and without WTAP I would have never met him.
We wouldn’t have our two sons, Frederick, and Reese.” While looking back, Sturm says that one of her main takeaways from her time at WTAP were the friendships that she was a part of. “...the thing that I loved about WTAP really, was the sense of community with all of the people in The Newsroom, we would spend every, like, free moment we had together, and we became so close, like a family.
They are still some of my best and closest friends, in all the world. Todd Boucher used to come into Bob Evans, where I worked in high school, and I would like serve him meatloaf and to think that I would ever sit and have a drink with Todd Boucher when I was like in junior high, would have blown my mind and Jim Horton and I are still very good friends.
He actually did a reading at my wedding and that is so special, and I cherish that friendship so much. It was just so fun to meet those people and for them to become my friends.” After her time at WTAP, Sturm found herself in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she worked for WWAY as the morning anchor for a little over a year. “I told really great stories there.
I covered hurricanes, which was pretty intense. I also had my own little segment called Ashley’s Adventures, where each week I got to go explore some touristy thing and get I got like a behind the scenes look on that which was really neat.” After her time in North Carolina, Sturm and her then fiancé moved to Cincinnati, OH, where Sturm eventually found herself helping those who share her ambitions. “I eventually did end up in corporate America.
Right now, I work for the Scripps Howard Fund supporting journalism programs, which is really cool, I get to help the people that are like [how I was] 10-15 years ago. I wanted to be a journalist, so I get to help those people.” After reminiscing, Sturm left one final sentiment about working in the place that she calls home. “Working in the Mid-Ohio Valley and getting to tell the stories that I knew.
One way, but then to learn more about them and tell them in another way and get to tell the whole community about them, really meant everything to me to get to work and your hometown and to tell stories about people that you love and you care about is something that I never took for granted, and I still cherish to this day.” L.V.
Hissem for WTAP News. This is Home. Copyright 2023 WTAP. All rights reserved.