Part 3 – Interview with News on 6 LeAnne Taylor

Show Notes

LeAnne gets candid with Jill as she shares how her faith has carried her through breast cancer, a career in television, and how having the right perspective changes everything.
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Audio Transcription

Jill Donovan:
Welcome back to CEO-ish. This is Jill Donovan and this is part three of a conversation we had with LeAnne Taylor from News on 6 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This bracelets conversation is something you don’t want to miss because everything LeAnne says in this conversation, she says with intention and wisdom and LeAnne speaks life and I really believe you will enjoy this and you will be enriched by listening to this. So here we go with part three of our conversation with LeAnne Taylor from News on 6 Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Jill Donovan:
My cohost that I normally have is not here. What she doesn’t understand is that she probably is going to be out of a job because you are here.

LeAnne Taylor:
Yay.

Jill Donovan:
I have one of my all time favorite people and I know when people have other people on bracelets podcasts, they say that about a lot of people. But I mean that with all of my heart, you are one of my favorite people. The definition of who you are is life.

LeAnne Taylor:
You’re going to make me cry.

Jill Donovan:
Really?

LeAnne Taylor:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
I didn’t it start yet.

LeAnne Taylor:
I know, but it’s just so… I’m honored that you think those things about me because the feeling is mutual and I’m happy to get to share your podcast because this is my first podcast. I’ve never done one before and I think it’s really cool.

Jill Donovan:
I find that hard to believe that this is your first podcast.

LeAnne Taylor:
I’m not that technologically advanced.

Jill Donovan:
You don’t have to be. You don’t have to be. But this is going to open up many doors for your career.

LeAnne Taylor:
Good. I’m hopeful because I’m not sure about my current one if it’s going to last much longer. 35 years is has not been quite long enough.

Jill Donovan:
Is that how long it’s been?

LeAnne Taylor:
35 years.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. If you haven’t guessed who I have today with me as my new permanent cohost-

LeAnne Taylor:
Sorry, Kelly.

Jill Donovan:
Sorry. It’s LeAnne Taylor and-

LeAnne Taylor:
From the News on 6, 6:00 in the morning.

Jill Donovan:
I know. That is where you work. But you are so much more than that. I know that’s how people know you, but anybody that knows you, they fall in love with you. I’m not kidding you within the first five seconds-

LeAnne Taylor:
That’s very kind. I love people. I really do. And I love the interaction. You know, a lot of people like their private time. They don’t want to be bothered. I guess because I’ve done this so long, and I remember growing up as a kid here in Tulsa and watching TV, Bob Howard, Don Woods, Chris Lincoln. Those people, they were celebrities. They were larger than life. They were on TV. I love television almost as much as Kelly, but not quite as much. I thought how cool it was that they had an impact on our bracelets community. And so that’s why, I mean, ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be on TV, but I also wanted to be a lawyer.

Jill Donovan:
You did?

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, because I watched a lot of Perry Mason.

Jill Donovan:
Oh.

LeAnne Taylor:
So I thought if I could be, I was going to be Mary Pason and I was going to be an attorney and I was going to fight for the rights of the defenseless. And then I realized not everybody’s defense worthy.

Jill Donovan:
Amen.

LeAnne Taylor:
Yeah. So anyway, then I love television. I got to visit Channel 8 when I was in high school. I did a month’s internship, then I went to college.

Jill Donovan:
Where did you go to high school?

LeAnne Taylor:
I went to Holland Hall and we had to spend one month at a place in town. So a lot of people went to state to the law offices or they went and worked at the banks or whatever. But I got a chance to go to Channel 8 and I loved it. Betty Boyd was on the air back then and I was just in awe. So then fast forward, I went to ORU, I graduated. I thought I wanted to be a-

Jill Donovan:
When did you graduate from ORU?

LeAnne Taylor:
We don’t need to talk about it.

Jill Donovan:
No. I think we graduate the same year.

LeAnne Taylor:
We did talk.

Jill Donovan:
I think we did.

LeAnne Taylor:
Jill, we did not.

Jill Donovan:
We did.

LeAnne Taylor:
I graduated in ’84. You graduated like in ’94.

Jill Donovan:
’91.

LeAnne Taylor:
See?

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, close.

LeAnne Taylor:
It wasn’t even close.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. I was right on your heels.

LeAnne Taylor:
Yes. I set the precedent there. But the thing that was cool is I wanted to be a bracelets director. I wanted to be the person behind the scenes that call the shots and-

Jill Donovan:
Zwick.

LeAnne Taylor:
Yes, yes. And [Lavash 00:03:52]-

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, Lavash.

LeAnne Taylor:
… and all of those professors. So one time as one of my projects, we were supposed to go and be on air and do host a show. So I hosted my show, and when I was done I was like, “Man, that was fun.” Everybody kept coming up. They said, “Hey, would you host my show?”

Jill Donovan:
Like this? Like in a radio setting or a TV setting?

LeAnne Taylor:
Yes. TV setting. So we had the show and I got to do my little part. The next thing I know people would be like, “Hey, would you like to host mine and would you like to host mine?” And I got to thinking I could make a living hosting people’s shows or doing other shows for people. I was like, “I’ll never look back.” And so that was the beginning. And then I was very fortunate. I graduated and I went to work at Channel 8 the day after I graduated. We graduated on Sunday, I went to work on Monday.

LeAnne Taylor:
I was afraid that if they didn’t… They were like, “Well, why don’t you take a week off?” I was like, “No. I was afraid they’d take the job away.”

Jill Donovan:
Right, right.

LeAnne Taylor:
And they’d realize what they’d done. Like they’d made a mistake. That was 35 years ago.

Jill Donovan:
And you were at Eight for how long?

LeAnne Taylor:
14 years.

Jill Donovan:
And then you switch right over to Six.

LeAnne Taylor:
I’ve been almost 22 at Channel 6. I switched for multiple reasons. Oklahoma City bombing hit. I had a lot of personal bracelets crisis. My daughter was three at the time, the bombing hit and you’re just like, life’s too short to be miserable or unhappy or not making good choices and not living the life that God wants you to live. So I had this amazing opportunity to make the switch.

LeAnne Taylor:
To be able to switch, I was off air one month. I started at Channel 6 and that’s unheard of. Everybody has contracts that you can’t do this, you can’t do that. Channel 8 was like, “Go ahead” and Channel 6 was like, “Come on.”

Jill Donovan:
Amazing.

LeAnne Taylor:
Yeah. I know it had to be a God thing simply because there’s way too much in contracts that get all bogged down. Anyway, I was very fortunate, very blessed, and I’ve had an incredible fun run. People ask me all the time, “Are you still on TV?” I’m like, “Yes I am.” But I think it’s because I think there’s still stories to be told that I haven’t told yet.

Jill Donovan:
But you tell them so well. LeAnne has been the emcee for Project Cuffway for… Was it three years in a row?

LeAnne Taylor:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Three years in a row. I’m going to take this hat off. Is it this that’s making the noise?

LeAnne Taylor:
No, it’s mine.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, no. Leave it on. Leave it on. I like the jingling.

LeAnne Taylor:
No. I’ll take-

Jill Donovan:
No. This is a Christmas episode.

LeAnne Taylor:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. And we should just jingle for the heck of jingling. You were our emcee for three years in a row. When I said that you really define life, the word life, you brought life even though it’s a crazy event. You brought life to that event because… And when you’re emceeing, it’s sort of like mom’s in charge.

LeAnne Taylor:
I love that. Honestly, that is my goal. No matter what nonprofit I’m benefiting, helping, working with, my goal is not to be your worry. Your job is to take care of a whole bunch of other stuff. My job is to guide people through the night and I take that incredibly seriously. I do prep work, I make sure that I’m there in advance because I know that feeling.

LeAnne Taylor:
I’ve done events where somebody’s out of control, where something’s not comfortable, and it just leaves a really bad vibe. So I love… And you know, Tulsa has got some amazing organizations that I’m more than happy to give my time to because they-

Jill Donovan:
You do though. You give so much of your time to that.

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, I’ve been really fortunate because I mean at the beginning of my career, I’d do anything. I did dunk tanks. I did donkey basketball.

Jill Donovan:
We do have that after the podcast. We have the basketball set up for you.

LeAnne Taylor:
Okay. Good because… But the dunk tank is not going to happen.

Jill Donovan:
It’s just like anybody, any entrepreneur, you do everything in the very beginning. No matter what it takes to go to every dinner, every meeting.

LeAnne Taylor:
You shake every hand. You kiss every baby. I went to every and all the stories. Reporters didn’t want the story, I would take that story. I distinctly remember probably the first six months of my career, I was the person who told one of the photographers that was an overnight photographer. I said, “If there’s any breaking news, you call me. Any breaking news.” He called me one night and we went and chased. It was a transformer had blown. So it was like this little wire hanging and I’m like, “I’m there, I’m there. I’m on the scene of this breaking wire.”

Jill Donovan:
And that defined your career.

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, what it did is it set… Not defined my career.

Jill Donovan:
No, but it let’s people know-

LeAnne Taylor:
Yeah. It actually laid the groundwork for the type of person that I wanted to be as a reporter, and they knew that they could count on me.

Jill Donovan:
I’m so glad that a lot of my staff in here right now are listening to LeAnne because isn’t that an amazing thing that no matter what it takes… They all are like that anyhow, or I have to say that at least because they’re sitting in here watching us. But I knew that about you and I think that anybody who knows you a little bit knows that about you, that when they go for an interview with you or where they are doing any story with you that you are in charge, but not in a prima donna way at all.

LeAnne Taylor:
Good.

Jill Donovan:
I’ve never seen you behave in any manner that is unbecoming.

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, unfortunately, and especially in this day and time with technology, there’s always stuff that can fall apart and not work. There are days that are incredibly stressful at work and we do four hours. I mean, my part is four hours every morning, four hours.

Jill Donovan:
That’s a lot.

LeAnne Taylor:
That’s a ton.

Jill Donovan:
What’s your favorite part about that four hours?

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, there’s a lot of my favorite parts, but one of the most recent ones, my Facebook lives. I do a little segment and sometimes they’re-

Jill Donovan:
Why aren’t you doing one right now?

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, because I didn’t know for sure-

Jill Donovan:
You’re not supposed to be here?

LeAnne Taylor:
No, no, no, no. I wasn’t sure what you’ve got. I don’t know your all’s rules and stuff. I didn’t want to do it and I’d be like, “Oh, we’ve got a bracelets podcast.” We don’t tell everybody we’ve got it. I don’t know.

Jill Donovan:
We have no rules.

LeAnne Taylor:
Okay, Well, I’ll do one before we wrap up.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. But I do have a rule. No Facebook live during podcasts.

LeAnne Taylor:
I knew it, I knew it. So here’s the deal. So I do Facebook lives every morning and I’ve done it for several years. At one point, I got to the point where I was like, “Why am I doing this?” And then I got an email from a lady and she was down at MD Anderson. I can’t look at you because I’ll cry.

LeAnne Taylor:
She went down to MD Anderson because her son was getting treatment. She’s in her eighties. He’s in his sixties but she said, “I can get on Facebook and I can watch your Facebook live, and I feel connected to Tulsa and I feel some comfort.” The minute I got that email, I was like, “Okay. That’s why I do Facebook live.” It’s not about trying to… You know.

Jill Donovan:
The masses.

LeAnne Taylor:
Yeah, it’s the one.

Jill Donovan:
It’s for the one.

LeAnne Taylor:
It’s the one.

Jill Donovan:
I love that because that’s how I feel about this podcast. It’s for the one… No, I really do.

LeAnne Taylor:
Sorry. I was like, “Is she serious?”

Jill Donovan:
No.

LeAnne Taylor:
I know. I know what you mean. Because I’ve heard you say you’re kind of like the Seinfeld, but you’re also the Dr. Phil. It’s the show about nothing, but it’s the stories that can change lives like you said. I do, I really believe that it’s divine when things happen a certain thing. Something that’s said that will minister to somebody that somebody else, it’ll just go right past them. They won’t even know it.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. I heard somebody say a couple of days ago that David herded the sheep that he had like he was ruling over nations.

LeAnne Taylor:
Oh wow.

Jill Donovan:
Isn’t that powerful?

LeAnne Taylor:
I love that.

Jill Donovan:
He took it as seriously what his responsibility was for herding these sheep every day and night. That in preparation for leading a bracelets nation and he did it with the same seriousness and excellence that he did being a king.

LeAnne Taylor:
That’s beautiful.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah.

LeAnne Taylor:
I love that.

Jill Donovan:
I love that. So that’s how I take this podcast, even though you can look up and see sometimes how many numbers and how many millions of people are listening to this episode.

LeAnne Taylor:
But it’s the one.

Jill Donovan:
It’s the one. It is the one. Okay. So I have a friend who’s getting ready to get married and I would love to give her your best piece of bracelets advice after being married for 23 years. The one thing you can tell me that I can tell her.

LeAnne Taylor:
I know Andy loves Jesus more than anything. It makes me love him even more.

Jill Donovan:
Wow.

LeAnne Taylor:
So that as soon as I figured that out, the rest of it… I mean, we worship together. You can’t be mad at somebody that loves the Lord. You just can’t.

Jill Donovan:
Can you talk like this on TV?

LeAnne Taylor:
People know my faith. Of course, you can’t hear about my breast cancer journey without knowing that I’m a person of faith.

Jill Donovan:
How many years ago was that?

LeAnne Taylor:
It was 16 years this past November.

Jill Donovan:
You went through chemo for how long?

LeAnne Taylor:
I did four rounds of chemo and 30 days of radiation. Lost my hair. I was on TV that whole time. Didn’t miss a day of work.

Jill Donovan:
Wow.

LeAnne Taylor:
I totally believe that God was… that walked. He walked with me. He just absolutely walked with me every day.

Jill Donovan:
You never missed a day of work.

LeAnne Taylor:
Mm-mm (negative). Now there’s one day I felt woozy, kind of like morning sickness. I remember I ate a cracker and I was like, “Not today.” I didn’t want cancer to disrupt my life, and it does. It disrupts people’s lives all the time. You can’t control those symptoms. But I was determined that I had two… My son was four, my daughter was 11 and it was… I had to get up every day for them. It was interesting because there are days that I did not want to get out of bed and it would have been easier to pull the covers up.

LeAnne Taylor:
You know, you’re bald, your eyelid eyelashes are fallen off, you’ve got viewers that don’t know what you’re going through. So they email and they’re mean and hateful, and you don’t have the recourses. This is what I’m going through to survive. It was a great opportunity to minister to people who didn’t understand. You know, we judge people by how they look or how they act. We don’t know what they’re going through. And as soon as you can take a step back and make that determination and then move forward. But I’m totally… You know, I had to get through it.

Jill Donovan:
Well, I’ve, I’ve been wanting to ask you this because I don’t understand how. I mean, going through that is… That will test your faith. That will test your security. That will test your confidence in every way. If you don’t know God, I don’t know how people get through that.

Jill Donovan:
But putting that part to the side for a second, how do you deal with and how have you dealt with, because you’re in the public eye so much, any criticism because nobody’s immune to criticism. I don’t care how perfect you may be on TV or how perfect you may look. How do you deal with criticism? You may not go looking for it, but sometimes it finds you and you are probably one of the very least criticized people in TV.

LeAnne Taylor:
I’m really fortunate, but early on in my career, I do recall the letters. There weren’t emails back then, but people would just say mean things or they didn’t like what I wore, how I wore my hair or just very personal stuff that, that used to bother me, I think.

LeAnne Taylor:
Well, certainly when you go through something like breast cancer, you realize your priorities change really quick. It’s like, what’s important? I do want people to like me. I want them to feel comfortable around me. But in the big picture of things, I’ve got other important things. I’ve got a fight, I’ve got to live, and however you deal with what you’re bringing at me. I just kind of… I remember, and I still do a lot of times, I use the shower, I’ll take the shower as an opportunity to cry or scream, but when I step out of that bracelets shower, all that stuff’s gone down the drain and I can’t revisit it. I have to just let it go.

Jill Donovan:
Do you get that now? Do you get any criticism now?

LeAnne Taylor:
Not that much, I think. No. I would say I’m really, really fortunate. I think because of my battle, I think because of the way I’ve put stuff out there, people realize. I mean even… It won’t matter. I think people say things to people to get a reaction. We live in such a caustic world. I’m just so sad to see what people put on Facebook and social media platforms. It’s like, “Man, why can’t we just love one another? Why can’t we appreciate one another’s differences?

LeAnne Taylor:
You know, I may not agree with you on everything, but you’re still a good person at heart and I’m going to just… I’m going to support that part of you instead of going and finding and picking apart the negativity. It’s hard. In my job, it’s really difficult because the stories that we do, I really try to remain balanced, but I still get viewers who will say, “Well, I can’t believe you are right. I can’t believe you’re left.” They have no idea what my… Because I’m a Christian, they think they know me but they don’t.

Jill Donovan:
Sure.

LeAnne Taylor:
So I do walk that line and I’m really proud of the fact that I keep that in check, that my personal life is my personal life. But when it comes to-

Jill Donovan:
Do you look for comments?

LeAnne Taylor:
Not anymore.

Jill Donovan:
I mean, because you got Facebook live and people are going to comment.

LeAnne Taylor:
Not any more. I think you look for affirmation from the outside, but once you reach… I don’t know if it’s an age thing, I don’t know if it’s an experience thing that that doesn’t really make that… I am who I am and I get my affirmation from God and I don’t need it from people. I mean, I like it from people. That’s nice, but I don’t get caught up in all of that like I used to.

Jill Donovan:
If you were not on the news, what is it, if it stopped today? It’s not stopping, but if it stopped today, what is it that your heart would love to do?

LeAnne Taylor:
You know, I love to speak. In fact, we’ve talked about kind of like what’s that next step look like? I have probably two or three books stashed in my brain. I always wanted to write a kid’s book. I want to write about my journey. I’m thinking podcast maybe in my future. I think that there are opportunities to share your faith in women’s conferences and that kind of thing. I just haven’t had the time to really step out and to see where I would land.

Jill Donovan:
It’s a snowball thing too because once you start that, then this one hears you, this one hears you. So you have to have the time to dedicate and devote to that in the same way that writing a book.

LeAnne Taylor:
And then preparation.

Jill Donovan:
Preparation.

LeAnne Taylor:
You know, I don’t want to show up and just wing it. I want to have a real message and a purpose and it to be poignant. You do have to invest time and energy in that and prayer. You know, you have to figure out. That’s so funny because I have another year on my contract. I’ll be on TV for another year for sure. But I’m always like, “Well now, what is going to happen next?” And I keep reminding myself the Lord has never failed me for 57 years. He’s had a plan. I was in the Miss Oklahoma pageant. I was a runner up.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, I know.

LeAnne Taylor:
I’m always a bridesmaid, never a bride, three times, and I mean I was this close. I was devastated that last year. I was like, “I don’t know how I’m going to pick myself up” and I got a job in TV, and 35 years later. I have a job in TV and I did not need that Miss Oklahoma title to get me to where I need to be. It helped-

Jill Donovan:
It’s part of your journey.

LeAnne Taylor:
It was absolutely. Now, when I talked to the other 49 contestants or however many who don’t win, I’m like, “It’s a stepping stone to something greater.”

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. It sounds cliche when you’re on the other side when you’re one of the 49 but when you come out on the other side like you did, but I believe your latter years are going to be more impactful than the last 37 years of your life. I really believe that.

LeAnne Taylor:
Oh, 37. I love the way you… You just alter numbers, don’t you?

Jill Donovan:
37.

LeAnne Taylor:
I think that’s fantastic.

Jill Donovan:
Well, your favorite number is seven, so I threw a seven in there. But I think everything that you’ve done for the last 30… Is it 35 years on TV?

LeAnne Taylor:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill Donovan:
Is in preparation-

LeAnne Taylor:
For something else.

Jill Donovan:
… for a new season that will be even more impactful because you can impact people on TV, but the way that you can impact people for I believe what your next season is going to be, will be in a much larger exponential way than what local TV will do. I really believe that.

LeAnne Taylor:
That’s almost prophetic. You’re making me get all the glimpse.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, yeah. You have a message, you have from everything in your history and all of the bracelets experience you’ve had coming from Miss Oklahoma to on the news and to all of the people you have met and your journey of coming near death.

Jill Donovan:
I mean, you have such a message that I believe it will be used in a very big way that you can’t see it, but maybe if you could see it right now, it might scare you-

LeAnne Taylor:
Completely.

Jill Donovan:
… and you’re not supposed to see it.

LeAnne Taylor:
Absolutely. I think that’s exactly how the Lord is. I think he reveals when he needs to reveal. He gives us glimpses to the things to come. When you’re ready, when he’s prepped you, then he just opens the flood gates.

LeAnne Taylor:
This has been fun. This is LeAnne Taylor for Rustic Cuff bracelets. You’ve been listening to CEO-ish.

Speaker 3:
We’ll see you next time.

LeAnne Taylor:
We’ll see you next time.

Speaker 3:
And we’re out.