13 fascinating facts about Sonya Heitshusen:
• I interviewed Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson aboard their tour bus.
• I have a crush on Sean Connery
• I took a self defense class and used the “fake to the face, knee to the groin” move to fight off a would-be attacker in London.
• I have gone sky-diving.
• I have completed multiple marathons and triathlons.
• The worst job I ever had: Toss up between de-tasseling and being a maid.
• I was a wrestling cheerleader in high school.
• I can still do the splits.
• My most embarrassing moment on the air: Saying the entire name of female impersonator “Dixie Longate” repeatedly, without getting the joke until AFTER the news.
• I slept in a car with a photographer for four nights while covering hurricane Katrina.
• I have a voodoo doll on my desk.
• I was a biology and art major before earning a degree in journalism.
• Some of my favorite artists: Van Gogh, Munch, Pollock and De Kooning

Sonya Heitshusen grew up in eastern Iowa, near the Amana Colonies. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado from 1985 to 1987; The University of London in London England in 1988; and Iowa State University from 1989 to 1992.

Sonya earned her Bachelors of Science in 1992, majoring in journalism with an emphasis in electronic media studies and a minor in speech.

Sonya is a recognized figure for her work in the Des Moines television media as well as for her work in the Des Moines community. She worked as a reporter and anchor for ABC affiliate WOI-TV from 1991 to 2001.

In 2001 she left to pursue a different career path unrelated to media. However, it was not long before she realized that journalism was a strong portion of her life and felt the urge to return. “There is nothing like the daily adrenaline rush you get from working in a newsroom.” Sonya said. Now she reports and anchors for Channel 13 News at 5.

Actively involved in the community, Sonya has participated in events with: Variety Club, Big Brothers – Big Sisters, Ankeny YMCA Board of Directors, The American Diabetes Association, the Governor’s Conference on Aging and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Sonya has won five Emmy’s and received two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. She has also received multiple awards from the Northwest Broadcast News Assoc., IBNA and Associated Press.

In her spare time, Sonya enjoys running and exercise in general. She has completed several marathons and triathlons. She also enjoys drawing, painting and literature.

Recent Articles
  • Aaron Hepker (WHO-HD)

    Workout of the Week: Hepker’s Challenge

    DES MOINES, Iowa — WHO-TV’s Digital Director, Aaron Hepker started a weight loss journey about two months ago.  He committed to losing hundreds of pounds. With the help of his personal trainer, Terri Good, Hepker has learned how to read food labels, prepare healthier meals and burn fat at the gym.  He lost seven inches in a matter of weeks.  But about a month ago, Hepker hit a road block.  He got sick, which zapped his energy and his motivation. […]

  • promo271482541

    Workout of the Week: Ice Performance Training Center

    “Build a great person and a great athlete.” That’s the philosophy at Ice Performance Training Center in Altoona. You won’t find a lot of fancy equipment here or the newest workout craze.  What you will find is owner and trainer, Todd Downing pushing people to their physical and emotional limits. “We teach them to push further than they thought they could initially,” says Downing. During this workout, Downing’s clients are pushing themselves through four stations, consisting of eight exercises – […]

  • promo270443724

    Prairie Meadows: CEO’s Relatives Receive Contracts

    ALTOONA, Iowa — Doing business with Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino can be like hitting the jackpot.  Millions of dollars in contracts are awarded every year.  But those contracts come under close scrutiny.  All contracts over $100,000 must be approved by the Prairie Meadows Board of Directors and all contracts that might represent a conflict of interest with a “related party” must be approved by the Iowa’s governing gaming body, The Racing and Gaming Commission. “We look at related […]

  • promo270266633

    Workout of the Week: Supplements May Build Muscle Mass

    Dot Prater is in month five of a year-long study to determine if Vitamin D combined with Hydroxymethylbutyrate, or HMB, leads to greater gains during resistance training. “I know my body mass index has decreased, but I see it in strength,” says Prater. “Now, if my husband and I are moving a table I say, ‘Oh, honey I can help you.'” Prater decided to take part in the study after she was sidelined by foot surgery for a year and a half. “I knew that […]

  • promo269046495

    Workout of the Week: The Hepker Challenge

    “I’m not going to lie,” Hepker said. “It’s intimidating to start with a new trainer, a new gym.” But Aaron Hepker says it’s also exciting. We’re following him on his journey to lose hundreds of pounds. He wants to be healthy – physically and emotionally. His personal trainer, Terri Good, owner of Infinity Training Center, will be with him every step of the way. “In the past what have you done for fitness?” asks Good. “Weights, treadmills,” responds Hepker. This […]

  • promo268443924

    Workout of the Week: Hepker’s Challenge

    We introduced you to Aaron Hepker, WHO-TV’s Digital Director, a few weeks ago when he embarked on his fitness and weight loss journey. At the time, he expressed feeling worthless and depressed because of his weight. “I would like to go skydiving. I would like to go bungee jumping. I wanted to go bungee jumping off the Royal Gorge, but I couldn’t because there are weight limitations and I don’t want to put myself in a position to embarrass myself.” Since […]

  • promo267834445

    Workout of the Week: Do’s and Don’ts for Ripped Abs

    Who doesn’t want abs of steel?  But it takes a lot of work, both in and out of the gym. There are also a lot of myths about how to get ripped abs. Here are some of the facts. “You can’t have a strong core without a plank,” says personal trainer, Angie Gallagher. “I tell my clients, planks are one of those moves that aren’t going to build a muscle like a weighted move might. It’s the move that helps […]

  • summer-2015

    Workout of the Week: Aaron Hepker’s Challenge

    For some people, losing weight is about looking better in their jeans or swimsuit. For Aaron Hepker, WHO-TV’s Director of Digital Content, it’s a matter of life and death. “I’m not going to live forever and if I don’t do something now, I’m not going to live very long,” acknowledges Hepker. Like a lot of people, Hepker has struggled with his weight most of his life. “It really kind of took off when I was six or seven.” That was […]

  • promo265563223

    Workout of the Week: Shoulder Do’s and Dont’s

    We’re all crunched for time. So, why waste it on exercises that don’t help you achieve your fitness goals, or worse yet, cause injury? “A lot of exercises look cool, but if they’re not working anything for you, then again, it’s a waste of time,” says personal trainer, Dean Ponder. Your shoulders are the most movable joints in the body. They can also be unstable, and prone to injuries of the rotator muscles.  One of the worst exercises – the […]

  • Ellingson Drowning: New Allegations Against Missouri Highway Patrol

    Could a three year old rape case have impacted the investigation into the drowning death of Brandon Ellingson, 20, of Clive?  At least one Missouri State trooper believes it did. Ellingson drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks in May of 2014 after being arrested for allegedly boating while intoxicated.  Ellingson fell out of trooper Anthony Piercy’s boat while he was handcuffed.  Ellingson struggled to stay afloat, but his life jacket slipped off.  His body was recovered from the lake the following […]

  • WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Completing the Ironman Challenge

    The Ironman is considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run, in that order. It must be completed in 17 hours. Channel 13’s Sonya Heitshusen has been training for her first Ironman for the last six months. Her coach, Matt Zepeda, founder of Zoom Performance, reassures Sonya that she’s physically ready. “The work you’ve done, you’re fine, you really […]

  • Great Iowa Getaway: Honey Creek Resort

    MORAVIA, Iowa — If we were to drop you in the middle of this resort, you`d probably never guess you were in the middle of Iowa. Tony and Allison Christensen only live three hours away, but this is their first trip here. “It`s kinda nestled down here. Peaceful. Quiet.” It’s Honey Creek Resort at Lake Rathbun. “This is just such a unique experience. We are a state park and work really closely with dnr and our mission is to bring people […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,370 other followers