As we continue TVNewser’s ongoing series “Where Are They Now?”, we talk with former Fox News Channel anchor Linda Vester. Next up: former Good Morning America co-host David Hartman.
It’s been nearly a decade since Linda Vester anchored a newscast, but that hasn’t stopped friends from asking if she’ll ever come back to television.
“I don’t think so,” she tells them. “At least, not right now.”
That’s because she’s enjoying life as CEO of what she calls “Mommy, Inc.”
“I love it,” Vester tells TVNewser. Motherhood “is more draining, by far, than my old career in journalism, but I really love it.”
The former Fox News Channel anchor lives in Manhattan with her husband and four children – two sons and two daughters – ranging in age from 3 to 11. It was after she’d become pregnant with her second child, Vester says, that her plans became clear.
“I just really, really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom,” she reflects. “I came to it late, I’d worked in television since I was 17, in high school, and met my husband late, and by the grace of God, got pregnant in my mid-thirties, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to miss anything!””
But the decision to become a full-time mother – one that’s made her “very happy” – wasn’t necessarily easy at first.
“It really did take a solid year to take those pieces apart and say, ‘okay, now who am I?'”
Eventually, Vester made the adjustment, even losing the need to instantly devour breaking news. “I can read [about stories] a day late,” she says with a laugh, “and be just fine.”
The Cincinnati native started her broadcast career as an intern for local CBS affiliate WKRC-TV, working with anchor Nick Clooney (yes, George’s dad). Vester then got a job at CBS News’ Paris bureau during a semester at the Sorbonne.
After a stint with Kearney, Nebraska station KHGI-TV, she spent a year in Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar. Working again for CBS News, in Cairo, she caught the attention of NBC News honchos, who wanted to groom her as a network talent.
She was first sent to NBC’s Tampa affiliate, WFLA-TV, to hone her skills, later officially joining the network. As a foreign correspondent, she trotted the globe, covering conflicts such as the Rwandan Civil War and the First Gulf War. Soon, she was asked to anchor at NBC News at Sunrise and at MSNBC.
Vester moved to Fox News Channel in 1999,where she anchored FOXNews Live and DaySide with Linda Vester. It was at FNC that she found a mentor in Roger Ailes.
“In terms of Fox being number one,” she says, “there’s a good reason. It’s because Roger understands viewing habits, viewers, and human psychology in a way that I’ve never seen anyone in the broadcasting industry get it.”
It was while she was at FNC that she also met her husband, investor Glenn Greenberg, a son of the late baseball legend Hank Greenberg. Not that Vester had ever heard of the Hall of Fame slugger when the couple first met. “I had no clue who Hank Greenberg was!” she says.
Vester and Greenberg are active philanthropists, involved with groups such as the Warrior-Scholar Project. They are also putting several Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans through college, an experience Vester finds “hugely rewarding.”
Another gratifying endeavor came in 2006, when she produced Back Home, a documentary about the life of Rwanda genocide survivor J.B. Rutagarama, who served as a translator for NBC during the country’s civil war years earlier. Along with a network colleague, Vester had helped Rutagarama leave Rwanda and eventually settle into a new life in the United States.
Vester has great memories from her broadcast career, and keeps in touch with a number of former co-workers.
“I would never say ‘never,'” she says about a return to news. “Because who I am right now may not be who I am ten years from now, when my children are teenagers and I’m the last person they want to hang out with! Then I might be calling all my old friends, going, ‘Hey, do you think you might have some room for me?'”