WTKR launches a new TV show this September called “Coast Live,” celebrating the people and places, sights and sounds, food, fun and flair of our lifestyle here in Coastal Virginia. The show will broadcast live weekdays at 10 a.m. on News 3.
Hosting the show will be award-winning journalist April Woodard and Emmy-nominated and AP award-wining TV host, public speaker and certified broadcast meteorologist Cheryl Nelson. Together, the dynamic duo will cover a range of topics that honor the unique energy and breezy atmosphere of Coastal Virginia.
April Woodard began as a reporter for WTKR. From there, her experience and accomplishments seem boundless. She’s worked nationally as a correspondent for “Inside Edition” and BET and appeared on network TV as a pop culture expert on HLN, MSNBC and FOX. She’s interviewed a range of celebrities, presidents and first ladies. She’s risked her life reporting on the 9/11 World Trade Center Bombings, followed Hurricane Katrina as it headed to New Orleans, and went undercover as a homeless woman in the streets of New York City—just to name a few memorable moments.
The moment that stands out the most for her, she says, is her Muhammad Ali moment. April first got the chance to meet him when she was 3 years old, at Tennessee’s Grand Ole Opry when her dad invited him to a fundraiser for Fisk University. Later on when she was 12, her dad invited Ali to another university—Norfolk State—where her dad was president. After attending the fundraiser, Ali joined April’s family for dinner. Before he left, he told April to listen to her parents and to “be great.”
Years later, when she was a correspondent on “Inside Edition,” she had the chance to interview Ali. By then, he couldn’t speak very well, but his eyes lit up when she showed him photos of them together and he realized that the woman interviewing him was the little girl from years ago. “Inside Edition” ran her interview with Ali after he passed in June of this year.
Woodard returned to Coastal Virginia four years ago to care for her parents, and since returning, she’s been an assistant professor at Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism.
One thing she’s excited about bringing to “Coast Live” is introducing viewers to undiscovered areas in Coastal Virginia. She’s also looking forward to working with her co-host, Cheryl Nelson. “She’s a special kind of girl,” she says of Nelson. “I think it’s going to be a cool chemistry and nothing that anybody has seen here before.”
Cheryl Nelson knew from age 9 that she wanted to be a broadcast meteorologist. First, she had to overcome her shyness. “I joined theater in high school because I knew I had to come out of my shell,” she says. In college, she began doing pageants. And eventually, she was Miss Virginia International 2014.
Nelson’s meteorology career has taken her to local markets here in Coastal Virginia, as well as New York and North Carolina, and national outlets including Fox News and CNBC. During this time, her focus turned to extreme weather preparedness. A moment that stands out for her was in 2008 when she and WAVY Chief Meteorologist Don Slater were covering a tornado in Suffolk.
“We saw the whole tornado outbreak evolving,” she recalls. “It’s amazing that nobody died in that tornado outbreak, and it really struck me.” Nelson did a report called Get Down and Dirty with Tornado Safety, instructing the actions to take in the event of a tornado warning. That report was nominated for an Emmy. “That was so significant in my career to be recognized for that,” she says.
Now Nelson looks forward to informing the people of Coastal Virginia in a different way through hosting “Coast Live.”
“I love travel; I love adventure. I want to go out in the community and try different activities and kind of show people, ‘Look what you can do here,’” she says.
“I’m excited to be able to show my true personality and my energy and be a little goofy,” she says. “With April and me, we are so much alike. We’re both goofy; we’re both outgoing. We just bounce off of each another really well; we like to laugh,” she expresses. “We’re going to make a really great team.”
Learn more about “Coast Live” at WTKR.
Tune in to “Coast Live” Thursdays to catch up with Coastal Virginia Magazine during a weekly segment, CoVa Connection. We’ll be sharing stories that we’re excited about from recent issues of the magazine and updating viewers on the hottest events coming to Coastal Virginia each weekend.