When CBS News Detroit launches in January, viewers in the Motor City will get a healthy dose of the Duncan family on their air. Ronnie Duncan is the sports anchor at CBS News Detroit, as the WWJ news operation is known, while his daughter, Jericka Duncan, is a national correspondent at CBS News and anchors CBS Weekend News on Sundays.
Ronnie’s career has taken him all over the country, including stations in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Phoenix, and Jericka has childhood memories of visiting her father at his various outlets. She was too young to remember when Oprah Winfrey, then of WJZ Baltimore, held her as a baby (Dad was WJZ sports reporter and weekend sports anchor). But she reminded Winfrey of their connection decades before when Winfrey visited CBS Mornings in recent years.
Jericka’s daughter now accompanies Mom to her job on occasion. “As a single mother, it’s not a big deal to bring my child with me to work when I can,” Duncan said, “because that’s what my father did with me.”
Jericka, 39, initially wanted to direct music videos, but also saw how much her father enjoyed delivering sports and, at times, news. “Even with his crazy hours, the job afforded him opportunities to see me and my brother and sister at our plays, football games, track meets,” Jericka said. “I thought, if my Dad can do it, I can probably do it. And he seems like he has a lot of fun with his job.”
Before coming on board at CBS News in 2013, Jericka worked at KYW Philadelphia and WIVB Buffalo, among other local outlets. Ronnie points out that his daughter occasionally filled in on the sports side.
Ronnie, 64, was drawn to WWJ Detroit for what he called the autonomy the sports anchor position represented. Unlike many veteran sports anchors, he can shoot and edit his own segments. “You get a chance to just go,” he said, speaking from an event involving the Motor City Cruise, an NBA G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons. “I don’t have to go to the assignment desk. I just pick up a camera, go, do the story, and do the interview afterwards.”
A Proud Dad
He’s extraordinarily proud to see Jericka on the network news, and to think that, on Sundays, she takes the seat that Walter Cronkite occupied for so long. “To know that she has risen to that level — we know as a family, it’s a blessing,” he said. “And we’re very proud.”
Ronnie has been a vital role model for Jericka, but he’s quick to credit his wife for passing along her grace under pressure. “She gets her moxie, her coolness and her calmness from Yvonne Griffin Duncan,” Ronnie said. “When you see Jericka on TV, it’s not my talent — it’s her mom’s.”
Jericka said her mother and father are the two people she trusts more than anyone else in terms of career decisions. But their advice is not limited to the workplace. “It’s a blessing to be able to talk shop, but also just talk about life,” she said. “It doesn’t always have to be about the business.”
Ronnie has one more milestone he’d like to reach before he retires — to be at the anchor desk, and kick it over to Jericka on the network news. It might sound something like this: “Jericka, tell us what’s coming up next on the CBS Evening News,” Ronnie said. “Well, Dad …” ▪️
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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