Dawndy Mercer Plank
A project in sixth grade led to a dream of being in television news. As a young girl, Dawndy Mercer Plank knew right away that her love of creative writing, current events, and talking with others about their lives all combined to spark her interest in telling stories to an audience. A class project in her Indiana hometown solidified that dream of being a journalist. She told her family, teachers, and friends that one day she was going to be in TV news.
Dawndy chose Ball State University to pursue that dream. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in telecommunications in 1989 after finishing her schooling in Washington, D.C. through the Washington Center internship program. Dawndy's television career began immediately after. She left her hometown of Indianapolis to be a reporter at WBAY TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She learned quickly that tall snow boots were the only way to tackle stories in the frozen tundra. She immediately became a Packers fan and found cheese curds make a great midnight snack.
Though driving on the frozen lakes of Wisconsin was always thrilling, Dawndy chose in 1992 to trade in her cross-country skis for water skis and flew south to become a morning anchor at WIS TV in Columbia, South Carolina. She later was promoted to the evening newscasts and was happy to pass on her obnoxious rooster alarm clock to the new morning replacement. After four years at WIS, Dawndy moved to Houston, Texas in 1996 and spent time at Houston's KNWS News, KTRK TV, KSBJ Christian Radio, and hosted both a horse and travel pilot show. She also starred in commercials, print ads, and industrial films for major corporations. Dawndy even had a role in a movie, Equinox Knocks. (Don’t blink; you’ll miss her Hollywood debut.)
While in the Lone Star state, Dawndy had been flying back and forth to Columbia to shoot reports for a major hospital system. Though the big city life of Houston was enticing, the traffic was not. Plus, Dawndy’s heart had always remained with the people of South Carolina she had come to love. So, in January of 2001, she returned to WIS TV.
She has served numerous organizations over the years including Oliver Gospel Mission, the Palmetto Center for Women, Trinity Focus, Crossover Communications International, the Sister Study on Breast Cancer through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Heart & Sole, Council on Aging, Ronald McDonald House, and Hoof & Paw Benevolent Society.
Dawndy is a frequent speaker at churches throughout the state and is an active member at Shandon Baptist Church. She leads a Bible study for young women at the University of South Carolina. Dawndy is a marathoner and triathlete, an advocate for plant-based nutrition, passionate about helping others lead healthy lives, and thinks horses are God’s greatest creation. Yes, she actually enjoys cleaning out the barn stalls.
AWARDS & HONORS:
Best TV Anchor by Columbia Metropolitan Magazine (2023, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2003)
Green Outstanding Media Partner Award by Keep the Midlands Beautiful (2022)
The American College of Gastroenterology’s SCOPY Media Champion (2016)
Inductee into the Greenfield Central School Foundation Alumni Hall of Fame (2016)
Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of South Carolina (2015)
General Francis Marion Award for Patriotism by the South Carolina State Guard (2015)
Hopeline Hero Award by Verizon to benefit SisterCare (2012)
Palmetto Center for Women Tribute to Women in Industry nominee (2011)
Best Anchor Personality by the Free Times Newspaper (2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 1995, 1994)
Sexiest News Personality by the Free Times Newspaper (2011)
Associated Press 2nd place award in the Medical/Health category for cochlear implant coverage (2009)
Media Fitness Award by the South Carolina Governor's Council on Physical Fitness (2002)
Southeast Regional Emmy Award for Best Newscast (2003)
Winter Olympic Games torchbearer (2002)
Personality of the Year award by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association (1994)
National Journalism Award for Best Television Coverage of Leukemia (1994)
And let’s just save the best for last! Dawndy is married to Craig Plank, the man she says hung the moon in her world. She is blessed to have three stepchildren she loves as her own.