By Kaylee Lindenmuth
A 2015 KU graduate and former Keystone Newspaper arts & entertainment editor is now the host of a lifestyle newscast serving northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
Haley Bianco, who earned a degree in electronic media, began hosting Wilkes-Barre’s WBRE-TV 28’s PA Live show in September, which airs weekdays at 4:00 p.m.
“I was really excited for that because, before I got back into news I was in entertainment news, and I loved celebrity gossip and lifestyle stuff,” said Bianco. “So now, every day, I get to do trending news, fun stories, happy stories I get to do exciting things that people are looking forward to seeing, because a lot of times on the news it’s all doom-and-gloom, so our hour of TV is an escape from that.”
Prior to hosting PA Live, Bianco served as the station’s news reporter for Schuylkill County from May 2016 until September 2018, covering general news and events in Shenandoah, Pottsville, Pine Grove and the surrounding areas. Before WBRE, she was a bureau reporter at NBC affiliate WVVA in Bluefield, West Virginia. This was her first job out of KU.
Regarding both news reporter positions, Bianco said, “I was a multimedia journalist. Basically, I was a one-man band.”
“It was just me, by myself, covering stories, waking up and finding the stories, going out, shooting them, doing the interviews, writing them, editing and then having them on the news that night,” added Bianco.
Bianco, an Allentown-area native, said that she moved back to Pennsylvania from West Virginia because she wanted to be closer to home.
“When I worked in Schuylkill County, I was also a bureau reporter there, so I was a one-man band MMJ all over again, but closer to home,” said Bianco. “I connected with the people and the culture much more than I did in West Virginia.”
While at WBRE, Bianco said she learned how to produce a show and anchor a newscast, in addition to filling in on PA Live.
Bianco added that her experiences both in local news and at KU, through media organizations and internships, helped her in her career.
“I definitely needed the news background to be where I am today because I had to learn about [the community] and learn about going out there and meeting different kinds of people, getting involved in different community organizations, learning what they do, talking to them… I’m definitely grateful for the news background,” said Bianco. “But my personality, I don’t like death, and I don’t like fires and I don’t like animal abuse stories, so being able to get away from the negative news and strictly focus on the positive news has been so great for me.”
At KU, Bianco added a goal was to earn an internship at E! News in California, which she applied for every semester. “I just kept applying and not getting it,” she said.
“I was very involved at [KU]. I was involved in the newspaper, the radio station, the National Broadcasting Society, KUTV, I hosted a bunch of shows there, so I just kept my involvement up, building my reel, learning how to be a professional in this field by doing,” said Bianco.
Bianco added that, through a National Broadcasting Society trip to the national conference in Los Angeles, she received the opportunity to assist with an entertainment news start-up.
“From that, I was able to build my entertainment resume, and then I applied to E! News for the last time in Fall of my senior year, and I made it through all the rounds and I got the internship,” said Bianco. “Because I went out there to that convention, I made a little name for myself that I was interested in entertainment, and I was able to get my dream internship.”
The internship was for the spring semester in 2015, and Bianco noted that she realized entertainment news wasn’t for her.
“I just came from Pennsylvania, and I missed real people and real life and real stories, so then I traded in the entertainment scene to come back to real news, because I wanted to tell stories that really made a difference instead of ‘who’s dating who’ or ‘who’s wearing who,’” said Bianco. “I never regretted it, but I definitely did miss that fun, exciting entertainment piece that I had given up, so then when I got to start filling in on PA Live, that void was filled.”
Bianco added that the PA Live role brought meaning to the phrase “If you get a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
“One thing that I would say to students is that the first two years of your life after college are probably going to suck, because you’re making no money, you don’t have any time to hang out with your friends, you literally are just working and you don’t feel like you’re paying your dues, but you have to do that,” said Bianco. “If you don’t start somewhere, you’re never going to be able to move up.”
“You’ve really just got to stick it out, and then it will get better,” added Bianco.
Bianco added that she disagrees with the saying “College is the best four years of your life,” saying two years after is.
“Two years after college, once you’re a little more settled, then it starts to become even better,” said Bianco.