Morning Show TV reporter Eugene Ramirez began his career in journalism while a student at Belén Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami. Like many young men, he was unsure of what direction his future would take him or the career he sought.
“I wanted to be a lot of different things,” he recalls. “At one point, I wanted to be an architect. At another point I wanted to go to school for business. And at one point I wanted to own a restaurant. And the reason I got into journalism was actually by mistake. When I was looking for an easy elective in high school my friend suggested to me to do either the newspaper or the year book. The year book class was already full so I ended up with the newspaper. I fell in love with it.”
As part of the curriculum at Belén, young Eugene went on a field trip to Channel 51, Miami’s Telemundo Spanish language station. While at the station, he was given an offer he could not refuse—an internship. “I really liked the immediacy of television; how fast news and information are delivered and that is when I realized that TV is the way I wanted to go instead of print.”
Ramirez began his broadcast career at another Spanish language station, WTPH Azteca America 14, in Cape Coral. In 2006, he joined News 13 in Orlando, as anchor/ reporter for News 13 en Español. While in Orlando, Ramirez did both English and Spanish language reporting.
Though Ramirez believes that “news is news regardless of what community it comes from,” he realizes that Spanish language news offer “a lot more stories that are specifically about that [Hispanic] community and those oftentimes English language media outlets ignore.” He was proud that he could present news in that forum.
Still only 26 years old, Ramirez moved back to Miami last year, hired as a reporter for the WSFL-TV ‘Morning Show,’ broadcasting on Channel 39. Here Ramirez joined a personable cast that includes hosts Dave Aizer and Kristin Anderson, news anchor Lisa Hayward and weather person Jeff Mielcarz.
Ramirez jumped at the chance to come back home: “My family is here. Many of my friends from high school and elementary school are here and I like to see them on a regular basis. And it was an opportunity to do something a little differently,” he added.
Ramirez was doing hard news in Orlando. In Miami, he says, “I was offered the opportunity to do feature stories that are more lifestyle-oriented and in a morning show format where the idea is to help you leave your house in the morning on the way to work with a smile on your face and not all stressed out because of what was in the news.”
He stated that he is enjoying the transition. “I have done so many crazy things with the show that I have never done before. There was one time they tied me up to a bunch of balloons and flew me out of Dolphin Stadium. I got to report on the fans and the excitement from the Super Bowl.” A great job if you can get it, even if Ramirez has to wake up about 2 o’clock in the morning to prepare for his early morning appearance.
Ramirez defends “The Morning Show” against critics who decry it as fluff journalism. “The Show is there to give you information but also to entertain you. And I think we have been very successful doing so. We have a very loyal audience who regularly tune into the Show, e-mail the Show, visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. We are very interactive…. This is a very big market and we are the alternative,”
Though Eugene Ramirez is out at work, he hasn’t had any trouble being openly gay, in Orlando or South Florida. “I know that, from my experience, there are many gays and lesbians who work in television at every level, from production staff to writers and talent. Much of the gay talent in South Florida isn’t publicly out- but in their workplaces they are out and it’s very acceptable.”
Ramirez has covered hard news features involving gay men, like a piece about a gentleman who applied for a job at the airport with TSA to check bags and was denied the job because, according to him, he was HIV positive. “Then there are the human interest stories where the humans involved just happen to be gay.” On one of the days he hosted the show last month, there was a Valentine’s Day feature spotlighting a gay couple who had been together for ten years.
Notes Ramirez, “It is this cutting edge openness and attitude perhaps that has won our program a very large gay audience.”
Ramirez is currently single, which doesn’t surprise him. “I don’t think anyone can put up with my work hours,” he says; that aside “from working and sleeping and going to the gym there is not much that I do.” The awkward work schedule doesn’t keep him from being a loving parent to his three-year old his four legged “son,” Spencer, a not-so-miniature schnauzer mix.
While he does not know how long he will wind up doing the show, Ramirez does know that right now “I definitely love what I am doing. I love television. I love it in English and I also love it en Español. Right now I am focused on improving my work and being as good as I can be but I’d love to have my own show some day.”
The Morning Show airs Monday through Friday from 5 to 9 a.m. You can also follow Ramirex on Twitter, where he promises to share trade secrets you might not find on TV. But one thing is for sure. Eugene Ramirez is no longer a secret to the LGBT community.