By Larry Bonko
Do you watch the local TV news? Do you feel close to the reporters and anchors? Feel connected?
Yes, you say?
Well, then, you might like to know that Erica Greenway of WTKR and Jason Marks of WAVY were married earlier this year.
They wed in Virginia Beach at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club. The bride wore a couture gown by Enzoani. The couple honeymooned in Jamaica.
She’s a reporter and weekend co-anchor at Channel 3. He covers breaking news for Channel 10. Their stations are fierce rivals for the hearts and minds of Hampton Roads’ 714,410 television households.
On the job, Greenway and Marks are competitors. At home, they are husband and wife.
Let’s delve into this life of His and Hers newscasts.
Does the conversation at their dinner table revolve around deadlines? Is the pillow talk about which station has the better ratings, who bags the most scoops? Do Greenway and Marks talk shop at home?
GREENWAY: “We spend so much time at our jobs that it would be really hard not to talk to each other about our work. It’s nice to have someone at home who can relate to the challenges of the job and who knows what I mean when I talk about voice-overs, sound bites and on-air packages. We are careful what we talk about related to work. We typically don’t go into detail about individual stories so that it doesn’t become an issue if we ever have to work on the same story.”
MARKS: “We do, of course, tell each other about our day’s work but we never get into upcoming stories we are working on. We don’t want to be accused of sharing secrets from work. Honestly, we try not to talk about work when we are together away from work. Who wants to talk about work when you are not at work?”
Have Greenway and Marks ever been assigned the same story?
GREENWAY: “The reason we typically don’t cover the same stories is because we work on opposite shifts. I work on the dayside while Jason works nights. That means we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like. I recall that it’s been only twice when we wrote packages for the same story. One was about a Franklin woman who had a lot of jewelry stolen. The other time was a report on a Salvation Army bell ringer. A thief stole money that had been donated. We also crossed paths on a few breaking news scenes – a car chase in Norfolk, a murder-suicide, a City Council meeting in Virginia Beach when the discussions were about building a sports arena.”
MARKS: “I can’t recall what stories I did that she was covering, too. Since we work on different shifts we rarely cover the same story. Because of our schedules, we do not get to spend much time together. That’s the nature of our business. We hope someday that we will be on the same schedule. No complaints. We knew the kind of business we were getting into.”
Do they help one another with research? Do they discuss their station’s plans for stories to appear during the ratings sweeps’ periods? Do they volunteer critiques of one another’s work?
GREENWAY: “We do not help one another with our stories before they air. But we do sometimes critique each other’s stories after they have aired. As for the sweeps, we don’t usually discuss them.”
MARKS: “I do not say anything about how she does her anchoring. I’ve never been an anchorman so it would not be fair for me to critique Erica’s anchoring. I imagine that it is not an easy job.”
When Greenway is at her desk at WTKR, co-anchoring the weekend news with Dominic Brown, does hubby Jason visit the Channel 3 digs in Norfolk to see her do the job? When Jason is working nights at Channel 10, and Erica is off work, does she visit him at the Portsmouth station?
GREENWAY: “Jason works Monday through Friday. I work Saturday through Wednesday. Jason has never visited me at WTKR. When I’m anchoring on the weekends, I’m too busy writing stories and getting ready to do the newscasts to be able to hang out with anyone. We try to keep our lives at work as separate as possible.”
MARKS: “I’ve never visited Channel 3. Nor have I ever been to the WVEC building. We have tried to keep our jobs separate from one another. Erica has been in the Channel 10 studios because she was an intern there right out of college. She knows a lot of the people at WAVY.” (Coincidentally, Marks, too, was a WAVY intern. He worked in the sports department after college before leaving to be sports director at WBBJ in Jackson, Tenn. He stayed there for about a year, and then left for WHNT in Huntsville, Ala., where he began his career in general news).
How and when did these two beautiful people of local TV News get together?
GREENWAY: “We met in 2006 when I was still in college – my senior year at Virginia Tech. We were just friends then with no intention of dating. When I was home during Mother’s Day weekend in 2009, we re-connected and started dating. We continued dating that year when I was working in West Virginia. In 2010, I got the job at WTKR and moved back home. We’ve known each other for eight years and got engaged after four years of dating.”
MARKS: “We’re both locals. Erica is a Cox High School grad. I graduated from Kempsville High. She attended Virginia Tech. I went to Virginia Wesleyan. I first met her when I moved back to Hampton Roads from Huntsville, where I worked for three and a half years. She had been dating a mutual friend. After Erica went back to college, I talked to her from time to time. She would write or call at times asking advice about doing television news.” (They saw each other in Blacksburg in 2007 when Marks, working for WAVY, covered the shootings that left 32 dead on the Virginia Tech campus).
How did the casual friendship develop into a romance?
MARKS: “She texted me out of the blue one day when she was visiting her mom in Virginia Beach for Mother’s Day in 2009. She said something nice about a story she had seen me do for WAVY. We decided to get together the next month, June, when Erica came home for Father’s Day. I remember that it was a Friday night when we met, that she was wearing a black shirt with blue jeans. We talked then and we’ve been talking to each other every day ever since.”
Their first date was at Tango’s Tavern (pool, darts and karaoke) on Pembroke Boulevard in Virginia Beach. They began dating when Erica was working at the station in Bluefield, where she anchored the newscasts at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. How was this long-distance romance carried out?
GREENWAY: “We both put a lot of miles on our cars when I was working and living in West Virginia. We took turns making the drive between Bluefield and Virginia Beach. It was a six and a half hour drive each way.”
MARKS: “There was a lot of driving. I’m not sure how many sets of tires I wore out on my Jeep. I listened to a lot of music. Def Leppard. I drove to see her on New Year’s Eve, arriving at her place around 4 a.m. She was up and waiting for me with the champagne ready to go. Erica recorded the New Year’s Eve coverage from Times Square. She hit the play button when I walked through the door. I got to see the ball drop. It was the perfect way to start the New Year.”
THAT IS WHAT HE DID FOR LOVE – filling up the Jeep with gas after leaving work in Portsmouth and driving all the way to West Virginia. That was courting the hard way. And then came the wedding.
In Laura Simson’s online photographs of the ceremony, Greenway’s white wedding gown looked spectacular.
“It had a lot of fabric, which made things interesting for our first dance at the reception. We choreographed the number to two songs: ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.’ Jason had to pick me up during the dance number a few times when I was in that giant dress,” said Greenway.
It was one more thing he did for love.
Before we close the book on this local TV news romance, be advised that Erica is now Mrs. Jason Mark Hechtkopf.
When Jason took the job in Tennessee, he dropped the Hechtkopf from his name, added an “s” to his middle name and became Jason Marks, TV reporter. It made life in TV news easier, he said.
Have any questions about local television and radio? Contact Larry at email@example.com.