Turning Back the Dial : Amy Strobl

We sit down with Amy Strobl (née Saalwachter) as she remembers her time at WTAP.
Published: Sep. 3, 2023 at 3:55 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - It’s time for a look back as WTAP celebrates its 70th year in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

In the spirit of celebration, we have invited some familiar faces from the past to celebrate with us.

We sit down with Amy Strobl in this week’s “Turning Back the Dial.”

“I’d been working for NBC News in Washington, D.C., that was my first job out of college, and I was incredibly lucky and excited to be working on the national news desk. We would go out and cover the White House, or the Pentagon, or Congress, and it was an exciting time. Bill Clinton was President then, and I’ve actually gotten to cover the White House when he was there.”

This is Amy Strobl, though you may know her better as Amy Saalwachter. Strobl moved to the Mid-Ohio Valley in 1997 WHERE after working in news on the national level, she found her love for local news.

“The people, when you go out for local news are real and when you go up for national news, the politicians all have media training and they know how to speak to you and what sound bites to give you, and I thought there was some authenticity lacking from it. So, I started tagging along with the reporters at WRC, decided I really wanted to do on-air work, and I knew I had to come to a smaller station to do that.”

Over time, one of Strobl’s superiors told her about a little station from West Virginia.

“When I was in D.C., I worked with a man named Bob Kerr, and he did the weekend news for the Today Show, and Bob Kerr actually Came out to WTAP to the Parkersburg area to shoot some promos for the TV station. And he came back and he said, Amy, this station was amazing. It’s a small station in West Virginia, great technology, all the people were super impressive. Kathy Lucas Stephens was the news director at the time, and she interviewed me, and it was an amazing fit.”

While she worked at WTAP Strobl worked in a wide variety of positions that she said gave her many opportunities to learn more about her chosen field.

“So when I started here, I started as a Daybreak producer, so I was coming in at two in the morning getting the show ready, and then I would stay and help with the noon news, and then I transferred over to producing the six p.m. news during the week. When I did that, I was able to start doing lots of writing, lots of reporting, and eventually I switched over to anchoring a little bit for the weekend news, so as you go to a bigger station and maybe go to a whole another job you’ve picked up this incredible set of skills that you can use in all types of fields and that’s something WTAP does really well, because it’s a smaller station, people that work here have opportunities just to learn so much.”

Looking back on her time at WTAP, Strobl says that one of her main takeaways that still remains with her is the community both in and out of the station.

“I love community, and when you come to a small TV station you quickly become part of a community, and it’s amazing how quickly you’re welcomed into that. The community that I was welcomed into has really become my life, I mean, I’m here 25 years later. We’re really lucky where we live.”

As the community around her became an important part of her life. Strobl shares what working in the Mid-Ohio Valley meant to her, and how It led to an unexpected, yet welcome, introduction.

“Actually, kind of a fun story. I met my husband. I was doing a story on men and breast cancer, and I got sent over to Saint Joseph’s Hospital. And I went over and I interviewed a radiologist named Peter Strobl, and I remember he came in the room and I thought that he’s a good-looking guy, but I quickly noticed he had a wedding ring, right? So, bummer, but luckily for me, Peter Strobl had a twin named Phillip Strobl and Phillip Strobl is now my husband. Phil and his family are amazing, and we laugh [when] we look back at that story now. We giggled so hard because Pete was a little nervous, and so he blinked his eyes like this the entire interview, so we laugh a lot about that now. So, we now are happily married, and we have a 19-year-old who just left for college, 17-year-old, who is a senior at Williamstown High School, and a 12-year-old who’s a 7th grader at Williamstown Middle School. So again, I’m grateful the community accepted me because I’m still here.”

Strobl says that she currently volunteers and is frequently involved in the community that has become of utmost importance to her, on top of doing freelance work from time to time, where she gets to do one of her favorite things...tell the stories of others.

“When you go out in the field and you meet people, you’re usually meeting them all on one of the worst days of their lives, or one of the best days of their lives, and so you meet people at a very vulnerable moment and they’re trusting you to tell their story, So we really have an awesome responsibility to tell that story.”

L.V. Hissem for WTAP News. This Is Home.