Rhonda Rawlings knew two things growing up: she wanted a job broadcasting news, and she wanted to be able to serve the community.
Both her dreams came true after Rawlings moved to the Upstate over a decade ago.
“I’m just thankful for our opportunities,” says Rawlings, a part-time radio personality for WJMZ-FM, where she hosts the Sunday morning show Pause for the Cause.
Since last September, Rawlings, 50, has also hosted Uplift Upstate, an online news segment that “spreads positivity and joy” by highlighting people and organizations “doing amazing things” in the community. The show airs biweekly on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
“If you scroll through and see my [social media] feed, I want it to be something that will make you smile, that’s going to give you a positive outlook on your day and make you laugh,” Rawlings says. “That is my goal with Uplift Upstate.”
Rawlings grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, a suburb on the border of the Bronx.
A self-described movie fanatic and Broadway play fanatic, Rawlings studied radio, television and film at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She interned for New Line Cinema in college and after graduation was able to work at the film company again as a production assistant for the movie “Deep Cover” starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum.
“I made copies of scripts and ran the scripts to the actors’ homes and did all kinds of menial assistant type jobs,” Rawlings says.
When the job ended, Rawlings found work on “Roc,” a TV series that aired on FOX in the early 1990s, before working as a production secretary on “The Chris Rock Show.”
Despite these opportunities, Rawlings’ passion for news and community service was always in the back of her mind.
“While the work was exciting, it wasn’t fulfilling for me,” she says. “I didn’t want to wake up at retirement age and think, ‘I should have really gone for it.’”
When her father died, Rawlings moved to Greenville. The following month, October 2008, she applied for an administrative position with WJMZ and wound up with a part-time job doing on-air news.
Not long after, she became the news and community affairs director for SummitMedia, a job she held for 11 years until she left the station in April 2019 to work for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s presidential campaign.
“I’ve had some really, really great experiences and met some really great people, and I’m just really thankful for it all,” Rawlings says.