Louisville's own Oprah, Dawne Gee [Local profiles]

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She’s been described as the Oprah of Louisville. She was selected as LEO Weekly’s 2010 “Louisvillian of the Year.” She has a living room wall adorned with her many accomplishments and awards. She also anchors three newscasts every weekday for WAVE-3, yet Dawne Gee remains a humble and unpretentious soul. Born and reared in Louisville’s South End, she loves this town.

“I love the people of Louisville,” said Gee, “they’re kind, generous, funny, wonderful and friendly.”

Born to Joanna and Walter Smith on April 30, 1963, Gee grew up dreaming of becoming a person in the field of communications. She attended Virginia Avenue Church School—later renamed Jesse Rodman Carter School—and graduated from Pleasure Ridge Park High School in 1981.

She enrolled at the University of Louisville where she earned two degrees: one in Biology and one in Communications.

At 24, Gee was hired at an R & B radio station, WJYL. As fate would have it, Gee had won an album from the station. When she went to claim it, the station manager, Tom Fields, met her. So impressed by her voice, he hired her on the spot.

“That turned everything around in my life, and I finally got to do what I wanted to do,” said Gee.

Fast forward to 1994. Gee, with some television exposure on KET and as a “Lottery girl,” would apply to WAVE-3 nine times before they hired her as a writer in the promotions department.

“I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do,” said Gee. “I wanted to take my TV skills to the next level. Plus, WAVE was very community-oriented and I thought that was a good fit.”

Gee eventually filled in for a vacationing Jane Norris on WAVE Listens, a television talk show. She would not relinquish that position until four years later, when she was named the morning anchor of WAVE news.

Now in 2011, Gee is a permanent fixture as news anchor for WAVE-3 newscasts. She anchors the 5:00, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. editions. But that’s just the beginning of the story. Gee is very much involved in the charities and the Louisville community-at-large. In 2010, she hosted, emceed or attended over 240 charitable affairs. So why does she do it?

“First I was raised that way, and second, because I know I am blessed. Like in the Bible, it says: (Luke 12:48) “’To whom much is given, much is required.’ And I totally believe that.”

Gee is involved in many charitable organizations including St. Baldrick’s, the MS Society, the Lupus Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Spina Bifida Foundation, and several others.