Erica Cardenas

Switching channels

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For ABC 15’s Stephanie Sandoval, serving as the host of Sonoran Living Live brings elements of change to this seasoned reporter’s career. But it’s change that Sandoval welcomes with open arms.

Sandoval made her move this past April after spending four years anchoring the 10 p.m. news for FOX-10. It was her role as both a mother and wife that motivated Sandoval’s decision, knowing that she wanted more flexibility in her schedule.

And she’s looking forward to what lies ahead.

“Working on Sonoran Living is different, but in a really good way,” she says. “My whole career has been based on having another individual, a co-anchor, beside me. Serving as a solo host brings that element of just one person, which allows me to show a little more of myself…it’s a unique change.”

And Sandoval knows first-hand what it is to work her way up through the ranks of broadcast journalism. After graduating cum laude from Sam Houston State University in Texas with a degree in radio, television and film, Sandoval landed her first job in the news department of a small country-western radio station in Conroe, Texas. Shortly after, she made her switch to television as a reporter/anchor at a station in Odessa. Her trek didn’t stop there.

Sandoval then moved further west to El Paso, where she reported and anchored the 5 p.m. news at a local station. Performing duties as a weekday morning anchor would be her final transition before arriving in Phoenix.

SHARING DINNER WITH HER PET

Sandoval says she enjoyed those stints and is thankful for some of the bittersweet experiences along the way.

“I remember one point, early in my career, where I was just waiting and counting my next paycheck,” she says. “It was my college cat and I. I had no other option but to share one can of tuna with my cat. But I wouldn’t trade that because it just makes everything that much sweeter now.”

Though born in Michigan and spending her earlier childhood in Texas, Sandoval is no stranger to the Valley. She grew up in South Tempe and attended Kyrene de Los Niños, Kyrene Junior High and graduated from Corona del Sol High School.

Sandoval was even a Sun Devil for a few years at ASU before moving back to Texas to finish up her college career.

Sandoval on a recent show with chef Craig Emmons from Sunfare: “This show is beautifully put together,” Sandoval says. “And requires a lot of time and energy from the team.”

Fast-forward to the present: Sandoval agrees that her cultural background has created a path to where she’s at today.

“News directors today are looking for talented, qualified Latinas not to just fill a ‘spot’ on the news team, but to bring the whole package to the table,” she says. “There was always that somewhat subconscious motivation to make sure what you were doing was great, and that you maintained your integrity and served as a good representative of Latinas working in the business.”

And Sandoval is looking forward to continuing to bring those talents to her position at Sonoran Living Live.

“This show is beautifully put together and requires a lot of time and energy from the team,” she says. “It’s been on air now for six years and it’s continuing to evolve. I would love to see it continue to evolve and be on air for another six years.”

A WELCOME MAKEOVER

A Chandler resident, Sandoval looks forward to dedicating more of her time to her two-year-old son Landon and her husband Carlos. As far as her own personal goals, she has a vision for her future.

“I look forward to the continual growth of where life takes me as a woman, a wife, a mother and a professional,” she says. “Different seasons of life lend to different growth patterns. I look forward to continuing to evolve into a woman who feels completely confident about family, faith and work.”

Sandoval adds that anchoring for 10 years brought her a great deal of comfort. With her new role at ABC 15, it’s “a bit like starting over again” but with a different foundation of experience.

As for what advice she has for others, whether in the business or not, it is simple yet heartfelt.

“Find what you really love to do, not what you think you should do, but what you love. Develop and formulate that dream, and always surround yourself with people in your life to encourage and navigate you along the way…all in all, dream big.”

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