In 1978, Rea graduated from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio with a degree in music education. He taught music in Newark, Ohio, and was twice teacher of the year at Wilson Junior High. Also a professional singer and actor, Rea toured in a production of Camelot and was also the principal baritone at the Ohio Light Opera Company.
Rea started at WCMH in 1985 as a weekend sports and daily feature reporter for the station, and received an Emmy Award for a feature news story on Camp Reams, a corrections facility in Lancaster, Ohio ().
Rea briefly served as the co-anchorman on the nightly news at WWHO, the Columbus UPN affiliate. He teaches radio and television performance at Otterbein College. Until recently[when?], Rea served as the host of the Miss Ohio Pageant since 1986.
Rea has a wife, Heather, and three children: Josh, Meredith, and Cassie.
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