It’s Leckey Time!…
It’s true – WNEP TV’s Morning Show personality, Ryan Leckey, really is a morning person (always has been) and he can’t wait to wake up northeastern Pennsylvanians. A native of Johnstown, Pa., Leckey now calls Scranton home and has been part of the WNEP team since 2005. When he isn’t at the station, he’s doing the Workout of the Day (or a WOD as he explained) at CrossFit in Scranton, or he’s volunteering with numerous civic organizations. He also teaches at Marywood and enjoys singing and playing guitar. He recently put his musical talents to good use with the release of his debut album, “Just Getting Started” to benefit Allied Services (check it out on www.ryanleckey.com). Meet the multi-talented Ryan Leckey…
You’ve interviewed a lot of famous people: Regis and Kelly, Diane Sawyer, the ladies of The View. Of all of them, who was your favorite interview?
It’s so tough because each of those people brought something different to the table, and I walked out of the interview thinking, “Wow, I never thought of it that way.” But the most influential person I’ve interviewed wasn’t any of these celebrities. He was a little boy named Ralphie Morris, who I met at Allied Services. He was a normal kid until he was 7 years old and he was in a horrible car accident. He survived even though he was given his last rites on his deathbed. And this kid had a smile that was beaming and was just so grateful every day to be alive. The best people I’ve interviewed have been in this area; they haven’t been celebrities.
Did you always know that you wanted to be in television?
Oh my gosh, yes, since I was a kid! I think I was the only person in elementary school who would ask his mom to turn on the Today Show and as cheesy as this sounds, I used to turn up the beginning of the show real loud — it started at 7 a.m. — and I would yell my name in place of Matt Lauer’s. (Laughs). I always knew I wanted to do live television because anything can happen.
And you actually started in the industry pretty young, too.
I started on the air when I was 18. And I used to ride my bike to my hometown station when I was 13 or 14 years old to meet with the general manager. I’d sit in the lobby and ask if I could talk to him. “Ok, he’s busy right now. Would you like to leave something for him?” I’d say, “No, let me just see him real quick.” I just wanted to pitch some ideas, and I had everything in my Trapper Keeper. I had my first live shot when I was 18, and I solo anchored a newscast at 19. I go back and I look at the tapes and I think, “What were they thinking?” (Laughs). The best thing is that I had people who believed in me because I look back at those tapes and think about how young I was. I looked young, too. I tried my own comb-over just to look older. I wore glasses and did anything I could to look older, but there are people who I’ll never forget who gave me a shot, and said, “let him do his thing.”
So once you landed your first television job at 18, what was it like?
The experience was wonderful. I was in college when I covered the Quecreek miners and Flight 93. You’re on the front lines and your friends watching you on TV, and you were there when the President came — that’s experience you’ll never forget. And you do what you have to do get through school and work. I worked the morning show back then a lot. I would get up at 3 in the morning to be at work by 4 a.m. I’d work until about 8:30 a.m. and then I would go to school all day. I’d finish my homework at night. And to work almost full-time hours at that point, I would work on a Saturday from 5 a.m. to 8 at night. I had no weekend life. I went to one college party in four years of school because I worked weekends. And I worked weekends for 7 ½ years in television. Now I look back and think, “ How did I do that?”
I bet people ask if you really are morning person because you bring a lot of energy to the morning show on WNEP.
Yes! I’ve always been a morning person. I love it. Even on the weekends. I have such a passion for my job and I love the people I work with. When I get there in the morning, I’m ready to go. It’s game on! Our viewers count on us to tell them everything that’s going on, but also to do it with personality. Who wants to turn on the TV and hear someone complaining that they’re tired? You have to be on your game every day because if you look bad, if you’re stumbling, if you’re tired, people are going to notice.
Tell us about Leckey Time.
The people who produce Newswatch 16 at 7, and my friends Trish Hartman and Scott Schaffer, said we need to do something a little different on the 7 because they wanted to add an element to it like the morning show has. It was Scott Schaffer who said we need a segment where Leckey can just be Leckey. And what we ended up creating was Leckey Time. It airs every Friday night at 7, and it’s a piece with elements you didn’t see on the morning show, and maybe weird things that happened during the commercial break or bloopers because people eat them up. I think the biggest thing that we wanted to show was that all of us who work at the station are all human; we all make mistakes. And you can make light of it and have a good time, and that’s what we did.
It’s good to not take yourself too seriously in this business sometimes.
I have to say that the people I work with on this show, Tom, Mindy and Joe pulled me out of my shell.
You were in a shell?
Yes, when I started in this business, because I was only 18 and I was delivering stories about murders and very serious subjects, I had to almost be someone I wasn’t. I had to be this intense, credible, Tom Brokaw-like journalist in an 18- year-old’s body. So when I came here, I think I was almost too newsy. And when I started working on this morning show, the guidance I got was incredible. I work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life who teach me every day, and more than anything, they helped bring me out of my shell and be myself. I’m nuts! I’m crazy! I talk the way I talk on the air in real life. And they made me feel that this is OK, and I think that’s why the whole thing clicks.
— julie imel
You can wake up with Ryan Leckey weekday mornings on WNEP TV 16, and don’t miss Leckey Time on Fridays at 7 p.m.