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Alrighty, FN Dishers! I am bubbling over with excitement today! I chatted with Sunny Anderson and will be sharing the tasty dish she offered up in Part I of my two-part interview. Get your appetites ready because she is simmering with juicy information.
Secretary Confidential: Tell me about your name. I love it! It so fits your sparkling personality.
Sunny Anderson: Well, Sunny is my real name. Nothing cute or inventive about the naming story… It’s as simple as my mom sitting in the hospital after giving birth and flipping through a magazine that mentioned an Avon lady named “Sunny”. She thought it was pretty and here I am. It’s a bit to live up to and I’ve heard every single sunny joke, but it really describes me at my best.
SA: It was JUST like that! I interned at the local ABC affiliate in high school and still have my first script that was read on-air by an anchor. There was such a learning environment there that I craved more. So, before graduation, I enlisted and auditioned to become a writer or broadcaster in the Air Force. It was arduous and the military really wanted me to become a cryptologist based on my high test scores in languages. I held out and finally got the word that I was accepted into the broadcast program for the military.
I went to basic training like any other recruit, and then was shipped off to broadcasting school where I learned TV writing, editing, producing and directing. I then got a similar crash course in radio and public affairs. After training, I was sent to Seoul, South Korea to work for AFKN (Armed Forces Korea Network). I really wanted to be in the television department, but it was full so I landed a position in radio. I’ve always loved music and listening to the radio, but never thought I could do it necessarily. Plus, there was already a “Sonny Melendrez” on the radio in San Antonio which made me think I couldn’t also succeed as a Sunny. Stupid…yes, I know. :-)
I was wrong. Radio was great, and I fell in love. I began hosting nights and weekend, got my own nationally syndicated alternative rock show and eventually landed on the morning show. Hence, the Good Morning Vietnam part!
SC: How was the food in the Air Force? What was a standard meal? Are you tempted to ship food out to those currently enlisted in the Air Force?
SA: Ummmm, the food in basic training was just that … basic. There’s a dish the enlisted often refer to as “S–t on a Shingle” (try a tasty version of that here) that I came to love in basic training. When I moved to Korea, I don’t remember ever having a meal on base at the mess facility. I knew from my days of growing up as an Army brat that the best food in a foreign country is not on the base.
SC: What was the most exciting element of radio?
SA: That’s hard to narrow down. My work day entailed listening to great music cranked up to high and connecting with an audience that loved to do the same. I also love a good chat. Picking up the request lines and discussing not only music but daily current events with like-minded fans was really nice as well.