July 3, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The alert of “stand by” is called out as the seconds tick away to the top of the hour. Moments later a red light bursts to life.

Malorie Maddox is on the air once again.

On this particular day, the WOWT anchor/reporter proceeds to report on one tragedy after another. The broadcast leads with an update on a 6-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet and is followed by stories of a 3-year-old boy kept in a cage by his parents and a piece on yet another school shooting.

“I often take home with me the emotion of an interview,” says the Kansas native who has spent the last 10 years of her career at the station. “I believe that if you’re going to tell a story, you have to feel that story. But I also know that I need to let go of that…to let go of that emotion before I go on the air.”

Nothing, it would seem, can dent the indomitable spirit of this professional. Especially not on this day. Only hours earlier, Maddox was among 10 women feted by the WCA at their 27th annual Tribute to Women luncheon. The longtime WCA supporter and guild member normally emcees the event, so this year her on-air colleague, veteran anchor John Knicely, did the honors.

“The women we serve at the WCA are most often victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault,” says Maddox, who also gives of her time in the fight against cancer, among other nonprofit work. “They are in horrific, unimaginable situations. The WCA is there for women who are in their absolute
darkest hour.”

She and husband Greg, an attorney and two-time cancer survivor, have a 3-year-old son named Moss. Her nightly wind-down ritual once she gets home is a simple one; “Sweat pants and a single, very cold beer,” beams the otherwise always perfectly coiffed and attired newswoman. She enjoys running and working out in the station’s gym, usually with Knicely at the neighboring machine. And usually with some gentle ribbing from her co-anchor. “He gives me a hard time,” Maddox quips, “especially because I like to listen to really loud rap music when I work out.”

Back in the studio, the red light goes dead. Time for a commercial break.

“That’s the toughest word for me to pronounce,” she says in reference to a segment that included the words ‘rural Nebraska.’ “Rur-al,” she enunciates. “Two syllables. Rur-al. Rur-al. Rurrr-al!” Maddox then directs her attention to the control room so she can see the owner of a disembodied voice chattering away in the anchor’s ear buds. “No, I’m not poking the bear,” she says in replying to a question rendered overly cryptic due to the fact that no one else on the set can hear the voice in her head. And then the red light pops back on.