Big Stage Ahead for TV Anchor, PSL

Paula Sands in 2002 (QUAD-CITY TIMES FILE PHOTO)

There are three named institutions in the Quad Cities. John Deere, Happy Joe and Paula Sands. Everyone knows all three in town and for good reasons. They’re dependable, have good taste and in a class by themselves. That’s just Paula.

Des Moines may have John Bachman and Kevin Cooney. Sioux City has Larry Wentz, the Cedar Valley has The Ron Steele, but they’re no Paula.

The KWQC-TV6 mainstay is the face of the NBC affiliate in Davenport and all the QC TV sets.

If you believe the legend, Paula Sands walked into the WOC (Channel 6’s call letters until 1986) station in 1982, got a job as a receptionist and quickly moved in to a roll on the syndicated PM Magazine, as the youngest host of the show. Then she hosted Live at Five and eventually Paula Sands Live.

Name me another TV personality in Iowa with their name in the show?

Paula now anchors PSL at 430p and the 6p news on KWQC.

Paula delivers her news on her show, May 12, 2011. (image from

Now she’s in the middle of a story of a fight against ovarian cancer, her own. Paula announced in a pre-taped segment on Thursday that its been 3 weeks since her diagnosis of Stage II ovarian cancer. According to a Quad City Times story by David Burke, Sands said on-air “I am equipped for the battle.” She later added, “we’re gonna start out having a little bit of fun with this.” Another article in the Argus/Dispatch includes quotes from news director Denise Killian about Paula’s battle, including details about the .

This is the 3rd health issue to strike the folks on Brady Street Hill. Chief Photographer Randy Biery‘s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Reporter Fran Riley was diagnosed with a brain tumorand is recovering. He hopes to return to work in the next couple of weeks.

Whenever I would make a public appearance for the station, one question I would always get was, “what is Paula really like?” For me and anyone inside the walls, it was the same, professional, upbeat and identical to her on-air personality.

For those not familiar, I would describe PSL as Martha Stewart meets Oprah with some Rachel Ray thrown in for fun. A typical show has a cooking segment, movie reviews, visit from the zoo, a fashion show and usually a visit to some new speciality shop in the Quad City area.

Paul and Amy holding Noah with Paula. A day short of 5 years before Paula went through her first cancer surgery.

I was on PSL several times. Amy was on as well. Once we made our favorite holiday desert. Amy was a great and Paula wanted her on more. The next time for Amy was when Paula visited our hospital room as we were about to go home from the hospital with Baby Noah.

Each I got to anchor with Paula, it was fun and nerve-racking. This was The Paula Sands you were sitting next to. There was that one time I sang in a toga and even got to talk about Ron Burgandy’s Anchorman movie as the three TV6 male anchors spent time on Paula’s couch. Good thing no one put anything on YouTube back then….

Best to Paula and David in this trying time ahead for them both.


4 thoughts on “Big Stage Ahead for TV Anchor, PSL

  1. Such sad news. As a native of the QC, I grew up watching PSL and Paula anchor the 6pm news. All the best to Paula and her friends and family as they go through this difficult time.

  2. Thanks Paul for the news. What a shock. We grew up just a few blocks from each other. WQUA Radio together Seems like yesterday. Wishing Paula, Randy’s wife & especially Fran (one of the nicest guys anywhere) all the very best.

  3. I was part of a small group that saw and commented on Paula’s audition at WOC (now KWQC) for PM magazine. Paula wasn’t working at the station in any way. Paula had been in radio as a writer/announcer. Her audition was amazing. In 40 plus years in television I’ve never seen someone so smooth with so little experience. We were all happy and shocked hiring her immediately. I think Paula might have spent a little time as a receptionist in radio but you can ask her about that one.
    Jeffrey Bilyeu – Past KWQC Creative Manager or something like that

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