Editor’s Note: Each Friday in “Meet AM,” we introduce you to the people who get American Morning to air.
Today, we’d like you to meet Michelle Cumbo. Michelle is a producer/editorial producer. This means she’s always busy looking at guest segments, finding the best guests to illustrate the news for the day and crafting the questions and topics to be addressed with these guests. Michelle has a wonderful personality and is often cheering up people at the office with her singing. She’s been with AM for seven years.
How did you end up doing what you do?
I was always a better writer than a mathematician. I always had a love for the English language and writing. I got into television when my brother was in college taking a summer school course in TV production. He had to produce a how-to demonstration segment. So my mom said, “Why don’t you have your little sister cook?” I made these Italian cookies called pizelles. It was horrible. I was so nervous but I loved the production side, and got more involved from there. Now my brother is a freelance technical director who travels and works on sports material, and I’m at AM.
Describe your average day:
It’s always changing depending on what I do. Some days I anchor produce, some days I segment produce [crafting segments and suggesting questions for the next day’s interviews]. Some days I’m booking guests. I start off by reading all the newspapers and wires I can, getting familiar with what happened overnight or during the day, depending on when I come in. Then I go on to see what’s interesting for today, and pitch segments. I’ll get acquainted with the segments that I’m involved in – try and find best guests for a topic, researching guests, that kind of thing. I’m really thinking about pegging stuff to the breaking news of the day and who is the best guest to get the info across to people.
What's the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part is when there’s a breaking news story. Sometimes, every network is going after the same guest and you have to convince a guest why CNN is the best network to tell their story. There’s a competitive factor and it can be difficult.
What do you like most about working at AM?
It sounds cliché but I work with an amazing group of people. Aside from the people, it’s never boring working here.
What do you do outside of work? What do you do for fun?
I love to cook, bake and entertain. [Note: she is a really good baker!]
What else do you think people should know about you?
I love breaking into spontaneous show tunes. And I’m a HUGE supporter of my hometown, Buffalo – go Bills!