WKRN News 2 sports anchor Kayla Anderson likes to compare her sports journey to the Minor League Baseball system: long-winded and challenging.
“Everybody has a different story on how they got into sports, so I don’t want to compare mine to anyone else’s,” she said. “It was a lot of punches and trying to get back up again. But it shows how much I love this business.”
Anderson grew up in Spokane, Washington where pro sports were not prominent. However, she grew up watching college football games, playing centerfield and catcher in softball, and dancing competitively.
“I always had a love for sports. It was a mixture of my competitive nature and my dad’s sport upbringing that made it blossom.”
She graduated from Washington State University fully set on covering sports as a career. Before she got her first job, she knew she had to start local.
“I begged my way into an internship in Bend, Oregon,” she laughed. “I called the news director four times before he finally accepted me to just be an intern for that summer. I was shooting, writing, and producing for them.”
Anderson was able to wiggle herself into a position covering sports and news before she found a new full-time position in Montgomery, Alabama for two years and moving again back home to Spokane.
“I moved back home, started this position which I thought was a part of my dream journey, and got laid off after six months,” she said sadly. “This was back in 2008 when the economy went crazy. I had never been through anything that gut-punching.”
Despite the initial hurt, Anderson picked herself up again and didn’t lose faith.
“I started working part-time in retail and kept telling myself that I was going to get back in the sports business,” she said. “After three months, another job opened up in Montana. Although there was a huge pay cut and I would be starting over, I took it.”
In the three years she spent in Montana, she learned to better her craft in broadcasting before moving again to Tucson, Arizona and again to Columbus, Ohio.
“In Columbus, I worked with a team who was phenomenal,” she gushed. “I think I was able to be my most creative self there. I never felt like I was at work, which is how it should be.”
However, more upsetting news stood around the corner for Anderson.
“My position was cut after three years working there,” she sighed. “I found out there was a job in Nashville, and what a blessing it was that there was an opening. I had always wanted to come here at some point, and here I am still today. It’s been quite the ride watching the teams grow here.”
Anderson loves the energy Nashville brings with the ever-changing state of growing teams.
“All of the big events that have happened like the NFL Draft and talks of a MLB team coming has amped covering sports to another level. Everyday, there is something new.”
And having each day throw something different at her is Anderson’s favorite part of the job.
“I like change. I like not having a routine nine-to-five job. It’s exhausting, but when it’s all said and done, it’s really gratifying looking back and seeing what you’ve done. It keeps you on your toes.”
Something Nashville also brings to the table for Anderson is the amount of women in the industry compared to the other cities she’s worked in.
“Most markets I worked in, I was the only female. Nashville has got to be one of the biggest places in terms of females in sports which is very encouraging,” she said.
She explained how important it is for women to find themselves and make their own brand.
“You really have to find who you are, and you have to do it organically,” she said. “Women in this industry think they have to be or act a certain way. We can’t compare our successes to others. It’s how you connect with your audience that helps you find your voice.”
Although she doesn’t need gratification to fuel her, her Emmy for Best Sport Talent is something she never takes for granted.
“I was watching the live feed, and I was wondering who it was going to be. I definitely didn’t think it would be me. When they announced my name, I was a mess,” she beamed. “It meant so much to me, because it showed that my hard work paid off.”
Anderson’s goals are always changing, but she is proud of the work she has done and will continue to do.
“I held my own camera and shot my own stuff for ten years,” she said. “When I look back on that, I’m able to say I did everything in this business. I have a lot more to give, and covering sports everyday will never get old.”
Featured image via Kayla Anderson
More Nashville Women in Sports Media:
Emily Proud: from the Belmont soccer field to your living room TV
Lyndsay Rowley’s fork in the road that led her to the Nashville Predators
Dawn Davenport’s lost job that brought her to Nashville
How Teresa Walker went from covering the county jail to NFL Sundays
Courtney Lyle finds courage through her dad and in front of the camera
Tatum Everett: From New Orleans to NFL Sundays in Nashville
Laura Okmin’s “purpose” has her locked in on the present