Not many people’s retirement is marked by a week of TV stories leading up to a live broadcast of a black-tie gala celebrating their life and career! But that’s exactly how WIS, South Carolina’s most dominant television station, honored news anchor Susan Audé when she decided to hang up her microphone.
For virtually all of her 27-year anchor career at WIS, Susan was the most popular and respected television personality in South Carolina television, a fact confirmed by industry research, pegging her in the top one percent of news anchors nationwide.
Susan’s achievements are all the more remarkable because of the fact that she was paralyzed in 1974 during her junior year at Erskine College when a truck struck the car in which she was a passenger. Susan struggled for months with grave internal injuries, and at one point, actually died. But after a year of hospitalization and rehabilitation, she returned to Erskine College and completed a double major in English and Spanish. She then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism in 1978.
Within a week of graduation, Susan was hired by WIS and began her remarkable career. She started with weekend weather and reporting assignments, but the station quickly recognized her ability and appeal and she found herself the first permanent female anchor in the market. In addition to being beloved and admired by viewers, Susan was respected for her high journalistic standards, with the longtime news director referring to her as “the conscience of the newsroom."
Susan received dozens of awards for her work both as an anchor and reporter, including two regional Emmys for newscasts she anchored and the South Carolina Broadcasters Association’s prestigious Master’s Award. She was named to the University of South Carolina College of Journalism’s “Diamond Circle”, which includes some of the nation’s top journalists. Upon her retirement, WIS renamed its studio in her honor.
Susan is equally respected for her service to the community and is a much-requested inspirational speaker and a trail-blazing role model for women and persons with disabilities. She was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Columbia College. Upon her retirement the governor bestowed upon her the state's highest honor, the Order of the Palmetto, and the South Carolina State Senate passed a resolution in her honor. Still, one of Susan’s proudest moments was bearing the Olympic torch as it passed through Columbia in 1996.
Susan’s life and accomplishments have been the subject of stories in Good Housekeeping and Ms magazines, as well as on CNN, Lifetime and Sally Jesse Raphael. As a journalist, she covered Hurricane Hugo, seven presidential elections, the visit to Columbia of Pope John Paul the Second and many other major stories. She scored exclusive interviews for WIS with such figures as First Lady Laura Bush and legendary journalist Walter Cronkite.
Since retiring from WIS in March 2006, Susan has focused on travel and creative writing. She also earned her scuba diver certification and takes ballroom dancing classes.
Born into a military family in Fort Lee, Virginia, Susan is the mother of a grown daughter and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.