Reporter and Anchor at WABG in Greenville
By Faith Strong
When Candi Stone started with WABG in Greenville ten years ago, she did weekend weather. But without management knowing anything about it, she began to shadow the weekend anchor and learned the news ropes the old fashioned way. Today she is a reporter/anchor and a self-proclaimed lifestyle host who, if her audiences are any indication, was obviously born to provide information in front of a camera.
Stone grew up in Water Valley and explains that morning television was all that she ever wanted to do. Growing up, she and her father watched the morning show from Tupelo every single day.
“When it came time to go to college, I didn’t have the luxury of going to a four-year school and deciding what I wanted to do in the long term,” she says. “It was a time in my life where I needed to work the day I graduated and know exactly how much money was coming in. For me, I found that through dental hygiene. I was familiar with the dental world at the time and it was a clear cut way to make a solid living and a local job was not going to be an issue. And that’s exactly what I did.”
Stone says she has no regrets about her first career. “It served me well and it still serves me well,” she says. “I still work one day a week in Batesville. I was a working registered hygienist for about ten years. The TV thing was never forgotten, but it was definitely on the backburner for a while.”
Stone says that one day her mother, who was the tourism director for Grenada, was planning a large event and she set up an interview on the morning show in Greenville.
“At the last minute, something came up and she couldn’t do the show, so she asked me,” says Stone. “And the rest, as they say, is history. It went very, very well. The weather person that we had the time was so great to me while I was there and told me that I was a natural. They needed weekend help at the time, and I came aboard.”
Stone says while she had absolutely no higher education experience in the journalism world, she learned from the best and did a hands-on type training and learning.
“I started on weekend weather,” she says. “The weekend anchor that we had at the time was the most selfless person. She knew how badly I wanted to do this, so she offered me some reporting. Reporting and anchoring was all I ever wanted to do, not the weather. Sometimes your dreams aren’t packaged in beautiful bundles laid right in front of you. Sometimes it comes in the form of hard weekend work that pays nothing at the time, but pays very well in the long run. She took me under her wing and taught me everything that she knew.”
Stone says the station has changed ownership since then, and a few things have really transformed into something different.
“We’re owned by one company that bought all the networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS,” says Stone. “And Fox. So technically, our station is all of them. We’re WABG, WXVT, and WNBD, and Fox. We run the same newscast across all the networks. And that’s the beauty when we have guests come on our morning show, Delta News Morning, to talk about special events going on; we can literally get the information out to the masses because of our reach.”
Being a reporter/anchor and a sometimes morning show host, Stone has her fingers in most of the pies around the news station.
“In small market news, we all wear many different hats,” she says. “That’s what makes small market news so special. You learn to do a lot of things. But, what keeps me most busy is I book all of the morning show interviews that someone sees, whether it’s community events or FYI things that are interesting, or DIY projects, which I really love the most because it’s me actually hands-on doing things. I pre-record everything in the studio after the morning show ends and before the p.m. show crew gets there. Then I come home and edit all of the videos.”
Stone says the morning show begins at 5:30 a.m. on CBS and at 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. it picks up on the other networks.
“We also have the Fox network and 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m., it runs there,” she says. “And, I’ve had a very fun history with the morning show. For more than two years I anchored the entire show. That was from 2016, I believe, until the end of 2019. When my contact came up to renew at the end of 2019, I actually did not renew it for that position. I love the morning show, it’s the only thing I ever wanted to do growing up, but the schedule is brutal. So, for right now, I have something that runs each morning, the pre-recorded interviews, but I’m not the official host. The station has been wonderful to me. They worked out a way that I can be part of the show daily, but not have to be there physically every day.”
Stone says her current contract is almost up for renewal, and she really doesn’t see herself leaving a place that has really believed in her over the years.
“It’s not a lack of bigger dreams,” she says. “But, I see what I have and what they allow me to do. It would be very difficult to find anywhere else that would be as fantastic to me as they are.”