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WPLG news anchor Jacey Birch answers all of our questions

A born-and-bred South Floridian, Birch grew up in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and today lives in Fort Lauderdale. (Carline Jean / South Florida ֱ)
Carline Jean / South Florida ֱ
A born-and-bred South Floridian, Birch grew up in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and today lives in Fort Lauderdale. (Carline Jean / South Florida ֱ)
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While you’re most likely sound asleep at 3 in the morning, Jacey Birch’s day is just beginning. But getting up in the middle of the night to co-anchor WPLG’s early morning broadcasts comes with a silver lining for the effervescent newscaster.

“The best thing about it is that I get to pick up my son from school and have the whole day with him,” says Birch, who covers the Local 10 Morning News weekday slots from 4:30 to 7 a.m. and 9 to 10 a.m.

“If I have him with me, nothing else exists,” she says of her 7-year-old boy, Jupiter.

The Fort Lauderdale resident is also a mom to her beloved rescue dogs. It’s a passion reflected in her supporting role as Local 10’s Animal Advocate for the station’s investigative team.

A born-and-bred South Floridian, Birch grew up in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and attended Deerfield Beach Middle and High schools. After graduating from the University of Florida, she launched her now 19-year career as a reporter and anchor, also covering weather and traffic.

But it was a circuitous trajectory through stations at Clarksburg, W.Va., Roanoke, Va., and Nashville that in 2004 brought her back home to WPLG, the station she grew up watching.

“I started off in West Virginia,” she remembers. “That was kind of a culture shock. It was a coal-mining town and there was, I think, one bar or restaurant in the entire town. But I needed to do that, because back in those days, I needed to experience seasons and drive in snow.”

Here’s more from our Q&A session with Birch.

Q: Aside from the weather, what do you enjoy most about South Florida?

A: I feel like we’re our own country down here sometimes. I like the fashion, the total mix of cultures. We have the best nightlife, the bars, the restaurants, the clubs, the dancing. I just think Miami is its own entity.

Q: Aside from the weather, what do you dislike most about South Florida?

A: Lately, my biggest beef with South Florida is insurance rates — car and home — they’re killing me. To live here, you’ve got to take the hurricanes, right? And the bad drivers and the traffic. That’s the price we pay for paradise.

Q: What do you do when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95?

A: I never have traffic. The worst thing I have is maybe the late-night drivers coming home from the bars and clubs. But let’s say there is an accident when I’m leaving work, I’ll do the phone calls, get things done. And my new thing is to listen to podcasts. I have my history ones that I love, but then sometimes I just do the Juicy Scoop. Sometimes you just need mindless entertainment … your guilty pleasure.

Q: Are you a beach person or a pool person?

A: I think I’m a boat person. My grandfather always had a sailboat. I learned to sail at a very young age. So I’ve probably spent the majority of my time on boats more so than pools and beaches. That was a rite of passage. My grandfather said you have to sail or you get off the boat.

Q: When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?

A: Well, that one’s easy because of my son. Being a single mom, every second you can get with your munchkin — especially with my career — I’m always the happiest with him. He’s No. 1.

Q: What music are you listening to now?

A: Since I’m from around here, I would be into freestyle, electronic music, EDM, DJs. I mean I feel like that’s a Miami rite of passage. I like DJ Laz and all the guys that were making that freestyle music back when I was a kid. That feels like home to me.

Q: Are you a fan, and if so, of what?

A: I don’t know if I’m really a fan of anything. When I’m on vacation, I’m a fan of reading. I’m reading a book.

Q: If you had to choose: Beatles or Stones?

A: I love this question because my dad raised me on both, but I am tried-and-true Beatles White Album, my favorite.

Q: What are your social media usernames?

A: Everything is just jaceybirch. If you can spell my name, you can find me on socials. And I’ve had quite a few viewers tell me they’ve named their children after me. That is the ultimate compliment. That’s why I had to name my son Jupiter — because I had a cool name. So I had to go even bolder, bigger, better.

Q: Apple or Android?

A: Apple. Although I am jealous of the Android photos. But I’m an Apple girl all the way.

Q: Who is your real-life hero or heroine?

A: That would be my 90-year-old grandmother. I call her Nanny and every one of my friends calls her Nanny, but her name is Joanne Brown. She’s always been my person, my entire life. We’re two peas in a pod. I take care of her. I call her my second child now, ’cause she took care of me my whole life. She took me around the world. She took me around the U.S. in a Winnebago. And Jupiter now knows his great-grandmother. How rare is that?

Q: What car are you driving now?

A: I recently got an E.V. I’m a tree-hugger. I’m a big environmentalist. You know, reduce, reuse, recycle. So I have the Tesla 3. I just got it in December, and I have never looked back. I do not miss stopping at a gas station at all. Once you switch, once you go gas-free, there’s no phantom limb where you’re starting to turn into a gas station.

Q: If you had to choose: “Rocky” or “Raging Bull”?

A: Rocky. My dad made me watch all the Godfathers and all the Rockys.

Q: What do you like most about yourself?

A: Well, ’cause with my job it goes with the territory, I’m outgoing, gregarious. I can talk to anyone, which is what I do every day. I think I’m good with compliments. I’m happy, I’m bubbly. I mean, if I can laugh and joke around from waking up at 3 in the morning every day, I think I have a pretty positive personality. And I hope it rubs off!

Q: What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out of town?

A: I always like to take them to the Hard Rock, which is so special and beautiful now since they’ve expanded it so much. Las Olas is an absolute stop for restaurants and bars. Go down to the beach. I love Broward, but if they really want to see Miami Beach, we head in that direction and make the obligatory stops to get a cafecito or a cafe con leche.

Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A: This is easy. I would react slower. I go zero to 100 quickly. I’d rather go zero to 20. It’d be nice to be a little more patient. Because, of course, as I mentioned, I’m a single mom running around town. Even today, I’ll leave work. I’ll go to the gym, I’ll take Jupiter to piano, I’ll take him to art, then we’ve got to make dinner. So it’s like I’m always vibrating at such a high level. Sometimes I wish I could slo-o-ow down, take things at much more of a crawl.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A: For me it’s not my career, or OK, I’m a mom — those are obvious answers, right? For me, I really thought about that because I wanted to give an honest answer. So I took some success in choosing to be happy, finding peace in my chaos. Also, it took me a long time to find contentment, like true contentment. You know how they always say if I knew back then what I know now — it takes so much longer, decades, to find that acceptance. I like who I am, I’m happy, I’m content. And everything else is icing.

 

 

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