Emmy-nominated producer recaps college experience

Staff Reporter

Les Anderson is no longer here, but he is the voice in the back of her head that keeps her going, because without him, Melisha Regier would still be locked in her car contemplating med school.

While talking about Anderson, a former Wichita State journalism professor that passed away, Regier fought back tears expressing her gratitude for the man that made it all happen. She recalled her first encounter with Anderson, how he took her under his wing and became a father figure. He gave her the reassurance she needed.

“After one conversation with Les, I was like ‘this is what I want to do.’ I just knew,” she said teary eyed.

Before becoming an Emmy-nominated KAKE-TV producer, Regier honed her skills reporting for the Sunflower. Covering nearly the entire newspaper, she would routinely write multiple stories per issue. In one such case, she wrote seven of 10 articles in a single paper, and scored an exclusive interview with comedian and singer, Bo Burnham. Writing became her life; med school wasn’t an option anymore.

In her final three summers attending Wichita State, Regier was a part of the Flint Hills Media Project. It is an annual project that provides a rich learning experience for communication students.

The project is in its fifth year. Primarily experienced-based, it enables students to go out and do live media coverage of the Symphony in the Flint Hills.

Students are assigned stories in groups and are encouraged to go out and find stories on their own. Regier’s enthusiasm to tackle on any project resulted in her improving several areas of journalism: storytelling, writing, photography, video and interviewing.

She isn’t tall nor does she possess an imposing voice, but she stands out with her infectious energy and passion that enables her to communicate with civilians effectively.

“Melisha is great at connecting with people,” project faculty Amy DeVault said. “She is eager to tell stories. She has no problem going out meeting new people.”

Regier’s passion grew as the summers went by as she applied for internships in television, something she wasn’t sure she be interested in. In came a new challenge.

“KAKE was the first to respond to my applications,” she said sitting with her legs crossed on the desk. “I grew up watching KAKE — that where’s my heart’s always been.”

Feeling out of place she quit after working for three semesters.

Regier, still a student at WSU, went back to writing for the Sunflower when she received a call that catapulted her career.  She was offered a staff position at KAKE before she had even graduated. She did not have to apply for the job.

She never intended on becoming a producer. Adjusting to her new job hasn’t been an easy transition, but it’s that voice that’s stuck in her head that won’t allow her to fold.

She wanted to make Anderson proud. Whenever things get difficult, Regier thinks of Anderson and finds the spirit within that has gotten her here.

“Knowing him and being close to him makes my passion for my job grow. I’m working toward reaching my full potential, not taking anything for granted. I still want to make Les proud.”

Now a professional, Regier doesn’t have much free time, but when she does, she’s watching Netflix, going to concerts or helping out at her church. She does stage production and lighting at her church. Her church is a big part of her life. She attends service regularly and volunteers whenever she is needed.

Regier’s willingness to volunteer has positioned her to cover the Symphony in the Flint Hills Because of her prior experience, Regier insisted she should be the peron to cover the event.

WSU is like a big family for her. Prior to becoming a journalist, she would sit in her car between classes and think only about med school. This year, she reunites with her old classmates, except this time, she is working as an Elliott School professional.

“I think Melisha being able to cover Flint Hills for KAKE just proves how much of a win, win, win this project is,” DeVault said. “Our students go out there and many of them have never been to the Flint Hills — many of them have no connection to it. But they go out and meet people, connect with them and the land, which happened for Melisha.

“She loves the event and she loves the Flint Hills. Now that she is out there for a professional job, and because of that she has gotten her station to cover the event. That’s great for the Flint Hills, five years ago they didn’t get any coverage.”

Her prior experience at WSU and in the Flint Hills has made her well rounded as she enjoys the perks of being a professional.

“Covering the Flint Hills for WSU, students were not allowed in the tent even though we were covering the event. This year they invited me in.

“In the past I wasn’t allowed to track down the governor, but having my KAKE logo on and them knowing I’m with a reputable news source they were more willing to point him out to me.”

Her experience at the Elliott School and the life-long friendships she’s made doing the Flint Hills has broken her free from the solitude she was once subjected to. She doesn’t want to be closed up anymore; she walks around confident and replete with energy.

“People shouldn’t isolate themselves. Because of the people I met in the Elliott School I became a more open and outgoing person. I know there are people that I’ve met here that I’m going to talk to forever.”