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Storm Warning: She Breaks Barriers

Twenty miles outside of Corpus Christi, Texas, in the middle of farm country, is a radio tower that once housed the studio of C.101.

And late at night, if you happened to have your radio on back in 1983, you might have heard the voice of 20-year-old Hannah Storm, reports Rene´ Syler about her The Early Show co-host.

"I would drive like an hour to get to the station, which was in the middle of cow pastures. And so what I had to do every day before going in to work was get out of my car, and chase the cows away from the gate that led into the station," recalls Hannah.

Fresh out of Notre Dame, she was a government major with a passion for theater, and as her roommate remembers, a clear ambition…

"I think she always knew what she wanted to do. She got a job working for the production company that did Notre Dame football games. So we would be going to tailgaters and Hannah would be dressing up and going to work," says Ellery Ciesemier.

Born Hannah Storen, Storm was a performer from a young age, encouraged by her mother's love of the theater. But it was her father Mike Storen's long career as a sports executive that got Hannah dreaming of becoming a sportscaster, a long shot for a woman.

"It was something that was clearly a nontraditional job for women. And so as I pursued that after college, I just got shot down over and over, told by news directors, you know, we don't want to hire a woman," Hannah recalls. "I've heard that many times."

So Hannah decided to try getting work in radio, instead. She worked as a D.J. in college. She looked just like singer Pat Benatar. And she even thought of music television.

"Yes! I wanted to be a VJ," says an enthusiastic Hannah.

Meanwhile in Corpus Christi, C.101 was looking for new talent to spin heavy metal.

"We played Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Scorpion, Black Sabbath" says former C.101 program director Bob Fazio.

He put out an ad for the graveyard shift and Hannah Storen answered it.

"I was impressed. She looked good, she sounded good; she handled herself great in a crowd," says Fazio.

But the music director said the name Storen had to go.

"We wanted to come up with something that was a little bit racier, a little bit more to the lifestyle," says former music director Bonnie Stacey.

And that's when she became Hannah Storm.

"We ran promos on the air about the 'Storm is coming' before she got there and everything. And it just sounded a little Moroccan roll, Hannah Storm," Fazio says.

Storm said she didn't have much of a choice, if she wanted the work.

"I didn't really have a choice. I wanted to, I mean I wanted the gig. They changed my name and I still have it. I think that's kind of cool," Hannah admits.

Hannah left C.101 after eight months, and covered sports for Houston radio. Then came a break, a part-time job in TV. She had as special guest Hakeem Olajuwon.

Then came a full-time job in Charlotte, N. C, national exposure on CNN and TBS, and finally, her long reign at NBC sports.

Are things better now for women in sports?

"I'll notice just traveling around the country that you'll see at least one woman in every market doing sports, whereas before when I started off, back in the day, 20 years ago, there really weren't any," says Hannah.

Twenty years later, C.101 has left its old studio for fancier digs. And so has Hannah. Her radio days - "This is Hannah Storm saying good-bye and thanks for a real good Friday night" - are a distant memory.

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