Bringing the World to Dayton

 Bringing the World to Dayton

Courtney Reagan uses CNBC to bring attention to the Dayton area.

By Jamie Kenny

Watching Courtney Reagan in action, broadcasting from the Mall at Fairfield Commons on Black Friday, you can see that she is a consummate professional. Once the lights and cameras go off, you also see a hometown girl who is proud of her Dayton roots and an advocate for the area.

Courtney Reagan is from Centerville, Ohio, and today serves as CNBC’s retail reporter. In 2011, Reagan was named general assignment reporter for CNBC’s Business Day programming. She also contributes to NBC’s TODAY, NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams and Nightly Business Report on public television. Reagan even regularly contributes to CNBC.com.

While Reagan loves living in New York City with her husband of less than a year, she says that news broadcasts tend to perpetuate the coastal bias of what life is like for most people.

“I love the Midwest and coming home to Dayton,” says Reagan. “It frustrates me that people don’t really know what Ohio is like.”

The Midwestern Reality

So, Reagan decided to show them by bringing the world to Dayton. For the past four years, Reagan has conducted her Black Friday newscast from a different shopping area or mall in the Dayton area.

“I thought if I had to work on Black Friday, why not spend it in Dayton?” she says. “Besides, the Midwest is more in tune with getting the best deals. People in the middle of the country spend the day after Thanksgiving trying to stretch their dollar as far as they can. Broadcasting from Dayton gives a true reflection of what is going on in the heartland as we enter into the biggest retail season. That is what my viewers want to see.”

Reagan is a proud 2001 graduate of Centerville High School and has always been a hometown fan. “I was that girl voted most likely to live in Centerville,” laughs Reagan.

After heading off to Miami University in Oxford to pursue a degree in finance, Reagan found that she had a love for mass communications as well.

“I had always been a news junkie and started to realize that if I combined my finance degree with communications, I could have a unique niche.” That decision set her on a whirlwind journey.

Reagan graduated from Miami in 2005, with a bachelor’s degree in finance and mass communication. She went on to attend NYU’s Stern School of Business and graduate with an MBA with distinction, with specializations in economics, luxury marketing and entertainment/media/technology. She was her class recipient of the “Excellence in Economics” for academic achievement in economics while at NYU.

Reagan pursued her MBA while continuing to work in the broadcast industry. She began her career in the NBC Page Program, where she held positions at Dateline NBC and Weekend Today, and worked in guest relations for the network. Reagan also held positions at ESPN Networks and Merrill Lynch.

Reagan joined CNBC in 2006 on the News Desk and went on to anchor the daily business headline reports for CNBC, the NBC affiliate stations, MSNBC and CNBC World. She worked on CNBC’s planning team and was a segment producer for CNBC’s On the Money, where she pitched, wrote and produced feature and news stories as well as packages for the program. However, during her climb to her current position, she never forgot her roots and how important her upbringing was to who she is today. She knows that to be a good financial reporter, you have to consider how the economy is doing in all parts of the country, not just the key financial areas.

Coming Home

When Reagan is able to visit the Dayton area, she looks at the Miami Valley through her financial lens.

“For a while, whenever I came to Dayton, I would get concerned looking at the businesses that were leaving town and how it impacted the overall vitality of the area. But recently, I’m beginning to see a resurgence in the downtown area and in the Oregon District as well as historical areas that are starting to be refurbished.”

“I love living in New York, but Dayton will always be home to me,” she says. “I don’t think of Dayton as just the core downtown area… it is bigger than that to me. It is a combination of the businesses, communities and neighborhoods that surround it as well. Dayton is a mix of all types of people living from Vandalia to Springboro and all places in between.”

Working with and interviewing companies across the country, Reagan has learned that many retailers need a unique heritage to be successful. Otherwise, they just become a commodity and the longevity of their success is threatened.

“I want to let Dayton know not to hide its light! There are so many reasons to be proud of Dayton. Every time I’m in town, I make sure that I visit all of the places that are special to me like Bill’s Donuts, Esther Price, Marion’s Piazza and especially Doubleday’s where I worked in high school. These are just of the few places that represent that Midwestern spirit that I have come to love even more since I’ve moved away. It is time for Dayton to find its voice and to continue to promote what works for our community. I will always be here, cheering you on and letting the world know about the Miami Valley!”