Seven-year hitch: Duffy's an anchor in a storm

NBC29 News at Sunrise anchor Beth Duffy looks fresh and alert– even sunny– as the weekday broadcast begins at 5:30am.

What viewers don't know: she not a morning person, but they'll never catch her discreetly stifling a yawn during the early news broadcasts.

They also have no clue that behind the anchor desk, where a neatly coiffed Duffy appears crisp in a tailored jacket, she might be wearing jeans on a cold day.

"I haven't done this before," says Duffy, sitting down to be quizzed by another reporter. Since her days as a communications studies major at Virginia Tech, she's been the one doing the interviews.

Duffy seemed destined for the anchor desk. She and her fraternal twin sister grew up in a household where they were always reading the newspaper, and she remembers sitting at the dining room table reading the news in front of their parents.

She did the requisite internships at TV stations during college, including the big city WUSA in Washington, and got a job out of college doing cable news.

But then Duffy's broadcast career took an atypical twist. "I wanted to take off for awhile," she explains. While her friends had enjoyed summers off, she'd been doing those internships. She'd always lived in small towns, and she was ready for something different– like driving out to L.A. and working retail in Beverly Hills.

Returning to the East Coast, she took a job in banking in Raleigh and was out of the business for seven years, a huge absence in television time. "I reevaluated and wanted to be in broadcast again," she says.

That meant starting over again– in Kirksville, Missouri– where she produced and anchored the morning news, and then she shot, edited and reported stories for the evening news.

A lot of NBC 29 reporters hit the airwaves fresh from college, and the station is a stepping stone to bigger markets. Not for Duffy. She's been anchoring the morning news for seven years now, and this stage in her life, seems content in the number 185 market.

Her alarm clock goes off at 3am. She's at the station by 4, and ready to be on the air by 5:30am for an hour and a half. And no, she doesn't have someone to do her hair and make-up à la Katie Couric.

The early rising means that by 8am, "I have no problem eating spaghetti or sushi," she says. "That's lunchtime for me." After the noon news, she's off at 1pm.

The 3am wake-up call also means she's in bed around 7 or 8pm. "If I have a function in the evening, I'll take a nap," she says.

Despite the sleep deprivation, Duffy likes doing the morning news. "I like the people I work with," she says. "If you're going to come in that early, you want it to be fun."

And as poised as she is on camera, she confesses to a laughing attack on the air with former co-anchor Bill Duval. "We had to go to break," she recalls.

Duffy shares one other secret from the NBC29 newsroom. Kids who think they might get a snow day by calling in and canceling school can forget about it: there's a special code for superintendents just to prevent such unauthorized school closings.

Thanks for that report, Beth. And now Norm with the weather...

Age: 35

Why here? Ideal-sized city with a lot to offer, plus it's close to family.

What's worst about living here? Dating scene– lack thereof.

Favorite hangout? Mas, Blue Light

Most overrated virtue? Can't think of any.

People would be surprised to know: I have a fraternal twin sister in Richmond.

What would you change about yourself? Get more sleep.

Proudest accomplishment? I drove cross-country by myself on a spur-of-the-moment move from VA to L.A.

People find most annoying about you: Neat freak

Whom do you admire? Other than my parents, Laura Bush.

Favorite book? Tuesdays With Morrie

 Subject that causes you to rant? People who are mean to their tired kids in stores, last-minute losses by VT, old aunts asking why I'm not married yet.

Biggest 21st-century thrill? Becoming godmother to my nephew, Duffy.

Biggest 21st-century creep out? Finding out a lot about a person with the click of a mouse.

What do you drive? Hyundai Santa Fe

In your car CD player right now: Earth, Wind and Fire's Greatest Hits

Next journey? OBX with family

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Speeding ticket

Regret: Not buying a house sooner in Charlottesville.

Favorite comfort food: Chips and dip

Always in your refrigerator: Water and spaghetti sauce

Must-see TV: The Travel Channel

Favorite cartoon: Flintstones

Describe a perfect day. Sleeping in, taking a walk in 70-degree weather, kicking back in a hammock reading magazines

Walter Mitty fantasy: Playing violin with Boyd Tinsley on tour with DMB.

Who'd play you in the movie? Sandra Bullock

Most embarrassing moment? Not having my speech at the podium during high school graduation.

Best advice you ever got? Give everyone a smile; it may be the only smile they get that day.

Favorite bumper sticker? Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.

Beth Duffy