35th Anniversary: All Grown Up

Four adorable kids, and four moms with miraculously coiffed, on-air hair, beamed off the pages of the March 2001 issue for “Baby On Board.” The story introduced readers to the children of local anchorwomen trying to balance work with motherhood. Six years later, the babies are all grown up, and the moms are adept jugglers. Here are the updates.

Stefani Schaefer
Stefani Schaefer returned to the Cleveland airwaves this fall after a year in Orlando, Fla., anchoring NBC’s national show “iVillage.”

“You think you died and went to heaven,” Schaefer says of Orlando. “But I missed my family, too.”

Now, she co-anchors the Fox Morning Show from 7 to 9 a.m., then writes, produces and anchors the Fox Family Health Report for the 5 p.m. broadcast. She gets home in time to pick Race, 7, and Siena, 5, up from school.

“All I miss [of] their whole routine is just the chaos in the morning,” Schaefer says (her husband, Roger, handles the morning shift). “I’m a news junkie, and I love it, but I also love being home with my kids.”

Eileen McShea

She isn’t doing the weather anymore, but Eileen McShea still has a lot of sunshine in her life: her daughters, Katherine, 7, and Kristen, 5, and her new gig co-hosting WKYC’s “Good Company.”

McShea had been a weather reporter for 20 years — 13 of them at WKYC — before she left in 2005. A short time later, she started working part time on-air for the morning show.

The shift from full time to part time made sense. “The schedule I have now with ‘Good Company’ is very family-friendly,” she says.

She leaves the set right after the show wraps at 11 a.m. and either heads to her daughters’ school (where she volunteers) or to her second part-time job as the community relations director for the city of Seven Hills.

“I’m trying to be the best mom I can possibly be and just raise really nice, happy kids,” she says.

Tonya Strong-Charles

After two stints at WEWS NewsChannel 5, Tonya Strong-Charles is out of the spotlight.

“It was really a family decision,” says Strong-Charles, who now hyphenates her married name. “I wanted a stable schedule, and I decided to take a break and be a stay-at-home mom for awhile.”

After six months at home, she started working as an independent media consultant. In January 2007, she accepted a position as director of media relations for John Carroll University. She handles internal and external communications, working with many of her former colleagues.

Her son, Anthony Charles Jr., is 9 and “quite a gentleman,” says Tonya. “I think that we find what works for our families, and, as a working mom, nothing is ever easy. But this is a nice opportunity for me at this point in my professional life and family life.”

So, does she ever miss her on-camera role?

“I have to say I don’t miss reporting in the middle of a snowstorm,” she laughs.

Kim Wheeler

Kim Wheeler has found that delicate balance — but it wasn’t easy. She and her husband, Tracy, brought Max Arun, 3, home from Thailand two years ago. He joined their older son, Terry Pitak, now 8. Then, this past year, she won her first Emmy as an anchor on WKYC’s morning show. She took the job in 2006 and held it for nine months.

“It was incredible,” she says. “It was the best thing I could have ever received, because I’ve never worked so hard.”

But the job took its toll. She was up by 1 a.m. every day and often had to race home at 2:30 p.m. to meet Terry’s bus.

Now, she reports on education issues Monday through Wednesday, and anchors the weekend morning news. That leaves Thursdays and Fridays exclusively for the kids.

“My schedule is perfect again with balancing work and family,” she says.
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