ESPN anchor Hannah Storm talks about career, balancing it with family

November 22, 2012 12:35:08 PM PST
For many, football is a central component of Thanksgiving week. Among the sportscasters covering the games will be Hannah Storm. She got her start in Houston and since then has made it to the top of the male-dominated industry. So how did she do it? We went to find out.

Hannah Storm is the most accomplished and successful female sportscaster ever. Her resume is jaw dropping.

"Was in Charlotte for a year and then I went to CNN Sports for three years, which at the time was really competitive with ESPN and then I went from there to NBC for 10 years, starting with the Barcelona Olympics and Wimbleton for the two first assignments and that was pretty cool," Storm said. "I was there for a decade and then CBS News for six years and then ESPN for going on four."

She moved to Houston just out of high school when her dad went to work for the Astros.

"I feel like it's home and I think what makes it feel like home to me is just that the people here are so great," she said.

After graduating from Notre Dame, she started at a radio station in Corpus Christi, then moved to Houston's 97 Rock as a sports reporter and weekend disc jockey.

"I actually drove up here and waited in the lobby for the program director to come out and handed him my resume," Storm said.

She was on the air at 97 Rock, did some part-time TV work at HSE and Channel 20 but wanted to get into TV sports full time. So in 1987, she came up to the Channel 13 station to see me.

"You remember the day coming up to Channel 13 sitting across my desk? You were in tears, you said you wanted to get into television and you wanted to stay in Houston," we asked her.

"You had given me a great piece of advice and you said go somewhere and get on television full time, like wherever it is, so lo and behold I did that," she replied.

I asked her if she considers herself a pioneer for women in sports television.

"In this town obviously Anita Martini was the original pioneer for women in sports and she really paved the way and she did so much," she said. "In terms of major television presence, I was one of the originals with Robin Roberts, and Leslie Visser and Gayle Gardner on CNN."

But there were obstacles, not necessarily by athletes she interviewed, but TV management.

"Station managers who would say things like I would never hire a woman over my dead body, our audiences aren't ready for a woman," she said.

We asked her about some women in sports TV who are there not necessarily there for their talent but their good looks.

"My feelings about appearances may be more complicated than most because I grew up with a birthmark over this eye that was very disfiguring, and appearance was never calling card," she said. "I always felt like it was something I had to overcome the way I looked and maybe that's why I worked that much harder."

And that hard work keeps paying off for Storm. She has several shows on ESPN and owns a production company where she writes, produces and directs documentaries for ESPN. She's married to NBC sportscaster Dan Hicks. They're raising three daughters at their home in Connecticut, and with their schedules, it's not easy.

"They always have a parent there and so for us, that's one of the main things that we've really vowed to never have both of us to just be gone," she said.

And Storm gets back to Houston often to visit her mom, whose name also is Hannah. She got out her daughter's photos and clippings from a great career.

"She's a hard worker, very smart, got a great memory, meets people well and she keeps on pushing," her mother said.

At age 50, Storm does keep pushing, succeeding, and still leading the way for others.

"I work alongside a lot of those young women who say that I was their inspiration, and I love that," she said.

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