Highlighted News

Dawn Wotapka’s Media Movers: Fox Business’ Cheryl Casone

November 8, 2022

Posted by Dawn Wotapka

Cheryl Casone

Sometimes journalism is about taking risks. I remember when Fox Business Network started and, since I’m not a risk-taker, I didn’t even think about applying for a job there. But the fledgling cable network didn’t scare Cheryl Casone. Even though her resume included several storied broadcast brands, she joined Fox Business for its launch.

The network succeeded. Cheryl, a graduate of Northern Arizona University, is now the host of “American Dream Home,” airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. She’s also a financial contributor to the main news channel and provides weekly job reports.

I chatted with Cheryl about her journey – which could be compared to running a marathon – and how being a flight attendant actually helped with her current role.

Dawn: Talk to me about your road to television news. You’ve been on several well-known networks, which is impressive.

Cheryl: When I took my first local news job at KRON4 in San Francisco, I knew my eventual goal was to get to New York. San Francisco was a great news market at the time because so many national issues were playing out in the city. Covering business, technology, politics and the outbreak of the Iraq war in that market was exactly the training I needed for the national stage. I also knew my goal was cable news. I started watching Fox News when the network first launched, and found myself engrossed in the coverage. The idea that I could one day anchor live, breaking, rolling coverage at any given moment, possibly for hours, was a draw that led me straight to New York in 2004.

Don’t misunderstand though, I didn’t get the first job I interviewed for in the Big Apple, but I landed the third. That’s what it takes to get here: tenacity, drive, dedication and always keeping focused on the goal. For me, that was anchoring cable news, and it happened. My first job at MSNBC anchoring overnights taught me how to cover breaking news hitting without warning, knowing how to go on the air with little information, and roll with the story however it played out. There were some bumps, and a few tears to be honest, but I learned from my mistakes. After short stints at CNN and CBS News, I found my home at Fox News. I’ve never looked back, and I’ve worked in cable news for 18 years.

Dawn: What has it been like to grow up with Fox Business? How have you both changed over the years?

Cheryl: Who in their career can say “I launched a news network”?  It is an experience I will never forget. That first day, we just wanted to make sure the lights went on, the feed went out and cable systems had our signal.  I equate launching Fox Business to a marathon because that is what this is: It is a marathon, not a sprint.

As for changing: Well I’m several years older, but I still come to work feeling the same excitement I felt back in October of 2007 that first day. I joined Fox News Channel in November of 2006 as the “test case.” My job initially was to put together short “market reports” because FNC really hadn’t been in the business of covering the stock market as a singular play. We knew there would be tickers, economic reports, analysis and corporate stories but to what extent would the Fox News viewer embrace that? Obviously, our content has evolved over the last 15 years and I’m proud to say we are beating the competition.

Dawn: How has social media changed television reporting?

Cheryl: I view social media as a competitor to what we do. It is also a tool for information, and sometimes it can be dangerous. You may see something cross on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, but there’s usually little context. What does the story mean, what is the background? It is my job to break down and analyze what I see, in particular with my role as host of “American Dream Home.” Your home is not just a structure made of stone, wood, and tile; it is your heart and one of the biggest investments you can make in your lifetime. A home is not just a financial investment. It is where you create memories, where you may spend the rest of your life.  A piece of data or analysis from the government isn’t going to be the only reason you make or don’t make a purchase. It’s personal. That’s my job: Personalize the numbers. You don’t get that from social media.

Dawn: What is it like to be a woman on TV in the age of social media?

Cheryl: I feel more empowered than ever right now. Look at the management structure of Fox News Media. CEO Suzanne Scott has promoted women I’ve worked with for years and respected into key leadership roles. Lauren Petterson is now the President of Fox Business. Senior VP of The Five and weekend primetime programming Megan Albano, Fox Nation VP of programming Jennifer Hegseth, and Senior VP of news programming Kim Rosenberg are just a few examples of women I’ve called friends, and I’m cheering for them every day. As for social media, my biggest concern is for young girls. These companies, in particular Instagram, knew the harmful effects their platforms were having on these young teens. And in my opinion, they still have not acted to prevent the psychological damage some of that content can create.

Dawn: What story stands out the most to you? Why?

Cheryl: To this day, I’m still heartbroken about what happened in Syria. I had always dreamed of going to and reporting from the Middle East, and through a contact I had I was able to travel to Damascus in 2010 with a crew from Fox Business. At the time, Syria was beginning to embrace the West and in particular capitalism. We were the first business network to broadcast live from Syria.  Several months later, the war started. I still think about the people, the produce markets, the women and children I met, and I still find it hard to accept what transpired. The world is a fragile place.

Dawn: I love that your resume includes being a flight attendant. What skills did you pick up then that you still use today?

Cheryl: I studied journalism at Northern Arizona University and knew I’d eventually go into broadcasting but I wanted to travel and see the world. I flew for Southwest but was able to fly standby on inter-airline passes with global carriers. I went to Africa, Australia, Western Europe, New Zealand and eventually Nepal. I still have the adventure bug and I’m a very efficient traveler, so flying around the United States for “American Dream Home” is familiar territory for me.

Dawn: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into broadcast news today? 

Cheryl: If the front door closes, try the back door. If the back door closes, try the side door. If the side door closes, try the other side door. Never give up. You may get several rejections or have bad job experiences but there is always the next opportunity.  Television news is a tough business, and I’ve had my share of difficult bosses, coworkers and assignments. I think it’s why I am so grateful to be at Fox News Media.  They give you so much room to try new things, chase new opportunities, and spread your wings. I don’t have one job, I have several — and I love it.

Dawn Wotapka is a former Wall Street Journal reporter who loves to read and write. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children. She is a slow runner and an avid Peloton user. To submit tips for her Media Movers column, you can contact her at dwotapka@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with Dawn on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.