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A Day in the Life of a Philadelphia Morning News Anchor: Early Alarms and Script Study

Retired nurse Kathy Ashley remembers observing the 4 a.m. news broadcast during her hospital shifts and marveling at how polished the anchors appeared, contrasting her own state of fatigue.

After pondering for years, she finally posed her inquiries on The Inquirer’s forum regarding the daily life of early morning news personalities: their sleeping schedules, personal grooming routines, and ability to maintain family life.

Lucy Bustamante, the morning anchor for NBC10-Telemundo62, graciously allowed The Inquirer to shadow her for a day to uncover the intricacies of her routine.

Lucila Bustamante, named after her grandmother, rises to her alarm at 1:50 a.m., often hitting the snooze button until 2 a.m. Balancing an early call time and caring for her four children aged 6 to 12, she considers herself fortunate to secure six hours of sleep each night. With her morning shower completed the night before, she reluctantly gets out of bed to freshen up before embarking on her day.

By 2:10 a.m., Bustamante prepares her morning coffee with a touch of vanilla creamer, grabs her belongings, and quietly departs as her family slumbers. She faces a tranquil 30-minute commute to the Comcast Center, the headquarters of NBC10-Telemundo62.

At 3 a.m., the city is shrouded in darkness as Bustamante navigates through Philly’s tallest building, tuning in to the newsroom’s early morning briefing with one Airpod in her ear.

Announcing her arrival with two soft knocks on a white door at 3:05 a.m., Bustamante enters the shared makeup room with her colleague and morning co-host, Erin Coleman, an Emmy award-winning journalist. The cozy 10-by-10-foot space is adorned with a large mirror, Hollywood-style lights, and a sleek black marble beauty station. Amidst the serene ambiance, Bustamante unpacks her essentials, readying herself for the day.

Engaging in her morning routine, Bustamante skillfully applies makeup while conversing with Coleman. She deftly handles her hair styling needs, utilizing a blue hair straightener to manage her Cuban curls, a nod to her heritage and family history.

The clock ticking toward 3:37 a.m., Bustamante swiftly completes her grooming tasks, emphasizing the importance of efficiency in their morning preparations. The bustling NBC10 headquarters, spanning two floors, requires Bustamante to traverse the studio and newsroom multiple times throughout the day.

As the clock strikes 3:44 a.m., Bustamante enters the warmly lit NBC10 studio, adorned with numerous lights in preparation for the early morning newscast. Positioned alongside her co-hosts, she readies herself for the live broadcast, alternating between segments for NBC10 and Telemundo62.

Navigating through a hectic schedule, Bustamante seamlessly transitions between reporting, editing, and live broadcasts. Despite the demanding workload, she maintains her professionalism and composure, embodying resilience in the face of unexpected challenges.

Amidst the flurry of activities, Bustamante finds solace in brief moments of connection with her family, ensuring their well-being even amidst her demanding schedule. Her dedication to her children’s virtual schooling and family life underscores her unwavering commitment to both her career and loved ones.

Throughout the day, Bustamante’s unwavering focus and dedication shine through as she navigates the fast-paced world of broadcast journalism. Her passion for storytelling and commitment to serving her community drive her tireless efforts, embodying the essence of a dedicated journalist.

As the day draws to a close, Bustamante reflects on the profound impact of her work and the importance of sharing stories that resonate with her audience. With a brief respite before the news cycle begins anew, she cherishes the moments of tranquility and connection with her family, embodying the delicate balance between career and personal life.