When Dawn Stensland came to Cleveland in 1994 to co-host the 6 and 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts on WKYC-TV 3, she was single and fresh off jobs in Fort Myers, Fla., Wisconsin and Chicago. She posed for our September 1995 cover and gave us a peek into her Beachwood apartment. Shortly after, she moved to Bay Village with her co-worker, weather forecaster Amy Hasten.
“We lived in a huge, two-bedroom condo,” Stensland says. “We had a glamorous life —going out to eat, partying in the Flats. A lot has changed since then.” Now married with two children, she’s settled in Philadelphia, where she’s lived for more than a decade.
Stensland is the 10 p.m. news co-anchor for Philadelphia’s WTXF-FOX 29.
“It’s funny to think back about Cleveland and living in luxury and now being a mom with diapers,” she says, but it’s completely worth it.
During our interview, her 3-year-old son Michael brought her flowers. “Life is good,” she says.
— Kim Schneider
Robin Swoboda says that our first profile of her in 1989 painted her as a “metaphysical wacko nut.” It also changed her life. After it ran, the then 30-year-old newscaster received scores of letters gently telling her to choose God. She did.
“It was because of that article that I became a Christian,” she says.
One year later, we put her on our cover again, along with her new love, Browns punter Bryan Wagner — the godly man she’d prayed for. But then Robin left us, following her husband across the country.
When she came back, in 1995, we wrote of her return, splashing the words “Love her or not she’s back” on our cover next to a photo of the newly bobbed mother of two. The phrase hurt her, and rightly so. Because of all the women who’ve been on TV in this town, Robin is the one you could never hate.
Note her smile, it’s different in every picture. She’s honest, she’s real, and with her most recent comeback on Fox 8’s “That’s Life,” she’s ours again.
Down to Earth: Connie Dieken
It’s telling that, on two of the three covers we shot of her, Connie Dieken appears with her two children. Because, ultimately, that’s why Connie left the Cleveland airwaves after a 16-year run. It’s also telling that except for the photo taken in the early 1990s (a time when even regular folks had big hair) Connie doesn’t look all that much like a newscaster. Because, ultimately, that’s not what she says she was born to do.
When she left the news business, she started onPoint Communication. Her new purpose: Help other people get their message across. “I was born to do this,” she says. “Television was merely a warm-up act.” Doesn’t she miss the spotlight? “It’s such a relief to me not to have to get all gussied up every day as if I was going to the prom,” she says. “What really interests me is what you can do with your brain. My hair was never my strength.”
Still Perky: Jan Jones
In his April 1990 profile on her, Drexler noted the hard times in Jan’s life, pointing to her two divorces, the day “PM Magazine” was jilted for “USA Today” (it was subsequently brought back, and went on to garner high ratings) and her distaste for reporting stories that might affect her hair. But the theme he couldn’t help returning to was that damn upbeat attitude she had, no matter what.
She’s still got it. Semiretired now, and living with her third husband, retired plastic surgeon Dr. Sheldon Artz, on four acres of parkland near Cleveland, she’s an ardent dance aerobics student and Associate Hostess Chair of the Music and Drama Club of Cleveland. “Every morning I wake up and am thrilled that I have another beautiful day in Cleveland,” she says.
The Hometown Girl: Denise Dufala
You feel like you know Denise Dufala, as if you grew up next to her in North Olmsted, where she was a cheerleader and student council member. At least that’s what market research conducted by her TV station shows. Viewers think of her as the girl next door.
Maybe we do, too. After all, we posed her next to a picket fence the first time she appeared on our cover. “I’m very much like I am on the news, a little more silly,” Denise says. “Just a normal, average person.”
But, by 1997, it became obvious that she was a fair bit sultrier than your average neighbor, so we declared her a “Sexy Single.” It’s harder to explain our 1999 “Celebrity Kitchen” cover in which Denise (who once burned spaghetti) is holding a spoon.
But we got it right in 2003 when Denise gamely allowed us to style her as a retro radio starlet for our “Fantasy Makeover” cover. We’ll concede that Denise is the girl next door ... if you concede that the girl next door occasionally sneaks out of the house late at night. And that’s exactly why we like her so much.