Longtime 680 News listeners will likely remember the name Daniela Bilotta. Daniela, Danny or Dan as she’s known off the air, still occasionally shows up on that radio station and hundreds of others in her role as anchor and reporter at ABC News Radio out of Manhattan.
I first met Daniela when I was teaching in the broadcasting course at Humber College. She was working as a receptionist and dreaming of a life in radio. She had an earnestness in her approach to the craft and a determination to get it right. She was enthusiastic and ambitious. It wasn’t easy holding down a job and going for a new career but she did it and within a crazily quick amount of time she was no longer a student but a colleague at 680. She anchored overnights and became a reporter on the morning show. One thing you could count on with Daniela was “yes!” Daniela can you…go to a dodgy corner known for hookers and drug dealers before it gets light out? Can you walk several km’s with people on a pilgrimage to Popestock and do reports along the way? Daniela can you… and the answer was always, Yes!
When it came time for a new challenge Daniela had no trouble attracting an agent who shopped her to New York City. Enter ABC and that’s where she works to this day. Now she and her husband Gary, an executive with the Fox Network, live in New Jersey and commute a half hour or so by train into Manhattan. They have nearly-3-year-old twins, Gina and Ronnie. They have the ultimate urban/suburban lives and to-die-for jobs in the broadcasting industry.
Daniela has talent, there’s no doubt about that. But talent is never enough. She almost threw in the towel in school but she forged ahead. Trying a new vocation and giving up the familiar is frightening and the worry about failing is very real. But it’s always worth the risk. And it’s Danny’s positive attitude that wins people over as much as anything else.
Gary threw a surprise 40th for Daniela yesterday in Richmond Hill and it was an absolutely lovely dinner party at The Marlowe. How we all kept it quiet these last couple of months is a marvel but she was truly surprised. She gets homesick in Jersey and Gary knows that – he basically gave her a home-based reunion for her birthday. She’s very humble about her accomplishments and she’s trying hard to stay part-time, as she has done since the twins’ birth, although her bosses want her back on a full schedule. What a wonderful bit of pressure to have at one of the world’s leading network news organizations. Daniela’s experience makes me proud to have known her “when” and to be her friend now. She’s having a career that most aspiring broadcasters can only dream of and it didn’t come to her on a silver platter. She went after it. Determination. Attitude. Work ethic. It’s all part of the “luck” that came her way.