Rosemary Pennington fell into the radio business by accident, she says. Like so many who pursue a career in broadcast journalism, she had her sights on a role in television news.

WBHM’s Rosemary Pennington received the Douglas L. Cannon Broadcast Journalism Award for Excellence in Medical Writing for the second year in a row. 

Then she volunteered to host a half-hour radio news program at WOUB-FM at Ohio University. “And I was sucked in,” she says.

It turned out to be a good move for Pennington, now an announcer and producer at WBHM-FM 90.3. Pennington recently won the Douglas L. Cannon Broadcast Journalism Award for Excellence in Medical Writing from the Medical Association of Alabama for her stories on “The MOMS Project” and “Meth and AIDS.” It’s the second year in a row Pennington has been selected a Cannon award recipient.

Pennington, who hosts the local portion of “All Things Considered” Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m., also recently was named Best Specialized Reporter. Her story “AIDS: The Epidemic in Alabama” won an Alabama Associated Press Broadcast Award and an RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award.

“It’s an honor that those stories were selected,” Pennington says.

Chasing her future with fervor
Once Pennington decided radio would be her future, she chased it with fervor. Former NPR “Morning Edition” host Bob Edwards – one of the more famous broadcasters in NPR’s history – learned firsthand how badly she wanted a career in it.

Renovations were taking place back at WOUB during Pennington’s tenure there, and students were allowed to write messages on the walls before they were painted. Pennington took a black marker and wrote in big block letters, “I’m going to have Bob Edwards’ job.”

Edwards happened to be a guest of WOUB for its 50th anniversary party a few months later. Guess at which table he was seated? At Pennington’s table – seated next to her.

One of Pennington’s friends told Edwards the message she had written on the wall, and Edwards couldn’t resist leaning toward Pennington and saying, “So, you’re the one that wants my job.”

“I was mortified,” says Pennington, who admits she is shy. “But, really, I loved Bob Edwards. He always had such a warm presence on the air. That’s what I strive to be like on the air.”

Pennington says she sometimes wonders what it would be like if she had followed her television aspirations. “Every now and then I think it would be cool to do the live shots,” she says, noting that she also likes shooting video.

But at the end of the day, the intimacy and anonymity radio provides is what she yearns to have. Plus, her job enables her to do the work she really enjoys.

“I want to be able to continue to tell community stories that matter,” she says. “I don’t want to ever get to a point where my reporting is derivative or not connecting with the heart of the community.”

To listen to Pennington’s award-winning stories, visit the staff section of .