Ericka Flye: I am a news anchor at WRTV Channel 6 in Indianapolis. I was born and raised in Anderson, IN and still have a lot of family there. I attended Elementary, Middle, and High School in Anderson. For college, I attended Purdue University for 1 year and then transferred to Ball State University in Muncie, IN. I attended there for three years and graduated with my degree in Telecommunications.
AMPS: Was television news something that you wanted to do when you were growing up?
Ericka Flye: No it wasn’t. I tell people this all the time. I don’t even remember having the news on in my house growing up. My mom insists my siblings and I [saw the news]because they watched the news. But clearly it didn’t get my attention because I don’t ever remember seeing newscast when I was growing up. I was more into cartoons and TV sitcoms but I just don’t remember the news being on. It wasn’t seeing the news that influenced me into this business.
It wasn’t until I got older and started researching different careers; [that’s] when I found out that TV news was a career and what it entailed. My sister who is 3 years older than me went to college first, Ball State, and majored in telecommunications. When I asked her what that was, and what her major involved it was because I was trying to figure out what I wanted todo. She said it was television news, radio, newspaper and media. She got my attention and I asked her to tell me more. She started telling me what it was all about and I decided that was what I was going to major in. I didn’t know what was all involved because I hadn’t grown up with it per say. I decided that it might be something that I may like and be interested in therefore deciding to pursue to as a major.
AMPS: What do you believe is your niche is in this particular market?
Ericka Flye: I think my niche is community and people. I like to tell stories about people. I like inspirational stories. I like stories that someone can get something out of to make themselves better or to make them have a better life. I like telling stories that people can just soak in the information and it makes them want to do something with their lives to help the community. I am more of a community based, inspirational type reporter.
Now granted I don’t tell those type of stories all the time, I am just telling you the stories that I get the most out of and the stories I like to tell, [the]stories that are going to help and benefit people, [and]especially people that I can interview, people that started here and got to here. “How did you do that?” “How did you take yourself from this level to this level?” Hopefully they can give advice, tips and they can just talk about it in a way that someone else can get something out of it.
AMPS: Why did you pick Indianapolis for your newscast career?
Ericka Flye: Well, I always wanted to report the news in my home state. So I thought about where I can make a difference and where I wanted to talk about what was going on in the community. I wanted it to be in my home state. I started out in Indianapolis, IN with my first TV job. [Then] I moved away and did a few other things. I worked in Columbus, OH at a TV station and really wanted to come back to Indianapolis to [be in]my home state. Then I got a job here at Channel 6.
I never thought I would be back in Indianapolis so early in my career. I thought it would be something that came at the tail end of my career. Since I’ve been back here I have just been loving it. I think it is so important to me is because I get to talk about things that affect my family and friends. I know this place, I know it like the back of my hands and I was born and raised near here. I feel like I care about what happens here because my family, friends and new friends live here. So I care about what I am talking about. These are things that affect me, my family and my friends. I think that is what makes the difference about doing the news near the place where you grew up… because you genuinely care about the community and what happens here.
AMPS: Tell us more about what you are doing with mentoring.
Ericka Flye: A few years ago, in the middle of the night, I had a dream that I wanted to give back to younger people. I really didn’t know how that was going to happen but I wrote everything down on a piece of paper. I said one day I am going to start a mentoring program. A couple of years after I had that dream and wrote everything down on paper, I decided to start a mentoring program. I got a bunch of friends together, professional women in the community, and we said, “Let’s do this.” We laid the foundation and started a mentoring program for young girls. We started at an elementary school and the principle there was very helpful in getting us started because we really didn’t know what we were doing. We just had a vision.
That was a few years ago and we have grown since. We help young girls and we teach them life skills and lessons, such as self-respect, respecting others, building confidence, leadership, fashion, hygiene, etiquette and things that we learned growing up that made us successful in life. We are just passing it on to the younger generation. I always felt that was needed. I know there are lots of programs out there that help young girls but we just wanted to pass on our life experiences that got us to where we are today.
AMPS: There are a lot of mentorships out there. Why do you think there is a need to have a mentoring program?
Ericka Flye: Being in the business as long as I have been, I do a lot of stories about what’s gone wrong with our young people and the trouble that they are in. I report on something bad about a young person all the time. So I thought, “Who is out there making a difference? Who is out there trying to get into their lives and into their heads and turn things around?” There are people out there doing that and there are programs out there. I talk about it all the time and how can I help. How can I change the situation?
That’s when I thought that I could bring my life experience into someone else’s life. What has helped me along the way, and what has guided me on this path? Maybe if I can reach one person, then that person can reach someone else, then that person can reach someone else and it gets the chain going. That’s why I thought there was a need for a mentoring program.
When I was in elementary, middle and high school, I was not that outgoing kind of person who was a go-getter. I was very shy and wanted to stay behind the scenes. I wanted to stay in the back of the classroom, not raise my hand and hoping the teacher didn’t call on me. I wasn’t that kind of person. It took a lot for me to come out of my shell. It just came with confidence through the years, trying new things, stepping out on faith, and just trying to get that courage within. Saying, “I think I can do this, let me try it and see.” Just getting over that fear of being on the forefront and not behind the scenes.
Once I just took a chance, stepped out on faith, and then I thought, “This isn’t so bad. I can be out here in front of the public, and I can step out in front.” It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. finding the courage to step out in front and realizing it’s not so bad. It was nothing to fear in the first place.
AMPS: Outside of the news and the mentoring program, who is Ericka?
Ericka Flye: I spend a lot of time at work. A lot of things that I do involve work even when I am not at work, whether it’s researching, setting up interviews or chasing down story ideas. So a lot of my off time really isn’t off time. When I really do have some off time I just like to chill and relax. I like to just sit in my house and enjoy my home.
I watch all the things that I have DVR’d through the week that I haven’t had a chance to watch. I’m constantly deleting, deleting, and deleting trying to make some more space because it fills up so fast. I am a home body. I stay home a lot.
I do like to go out to eat because I am a foodie. I love eating, trying new restaurants, and I like going to old favorites as well. I like meeting up with friends and family at the restaurants.
I do like to shop a lot… not necessarily buying stuff… but I like to look. I like to see what’s out there and I like to get ideas for not just clothes but also interior decorating. Interior decorating homes is one of my hobbies. So I’ll go to home stores and look at different furniture, displays to see how they have things arranged or set up. I’ll take some of those ideas, go home and may end up changing my bathroom.
That’s what makes me happy and brings me joy because it is one of my passions as is decorating. I like clothes and like to go clothes shopping and I like home décor. I do spend a lot of my free and spare time in either stores looking for clothes or home stores looking at decorations.
AMPS: What are the top five things that people don’t know about Ericka Flye?
Ericka Flye: A lot of people will be surprised to know that I was a ride operator at Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. I worked on the ‘Back to the Future’ ride. I strapped people in and sent them on their way. That was after college and before I started a career in television. I loved that job. It was so fun.
-I was a cheerleader in high school for a few years. I was also on the tennis team. I wasn’t very good in tennis but I was on the team and I had a lot of fun.
-Before I got in the television business I was a sales associate at Neman Marcus in Chicago on Michigan Ave. It was a fantastic job and I saw a lot of celebrities in and out. It was interesting and I had a good time working there.
-Growing up I had a speech impediment when I was in elementary school. I couldn’t say my R’s. I had to go to a special speech therapy class to overcome that. I am very thankful that my parents recognized it and put me into a class. It was something that I overcame and got passed that.
-A lot of people will be surprised by this, but I was a rapper. Not a real rapper. In high school one of my friends and I decided that we were going to try to be like Salt N’ Pepper. So we started our own little rap group and actually went to some places to perform. We thought we were great and other people thought we were too. That didn’t last very long. That was just something fun that we decided we were going to do and we called ourselves rappers at that time. My friend was a freestyle rapper and I had to write all my stuff down just like I write things down for a news cast. My friend was good because the words would just come off the top of her head and she was good.