Monica Pearson One on One: Connie Seacrest is helping make dreams come true

Ryan Seacrest’s mother told her son to follow his dreams

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Connie Seacrest isn’t just Ryan Seacrest’s mom. She’s also the vice president of community affairs and hospital relations for the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.

Currently, 11 Seacrest Studios are operating in hospitals across the country, including at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Connie Seacrest - who lives in Atlanta where Ryan and sister Meredith grew up - recently told Peachtree TV’s Monica Pearson how it all started.

Watch Monica Pearson One on One on Sunday, July 24, at 8 pm, on Peachtree TV.

“We were with Ryan and Meredith, and he said, ‘I would like a foundation but I want to see something that happens. I just don’t want to write a check. I want to see something that really makes a difference. The only thing I know is radio and TV.’”

Connie Seacrest said Ryan had visited a children’s hospital in Orange County, California. “He saw these children, and what a difference it made when there was music and fun.”

After making a presentation to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the first studio was created. “We didn’t have a clue. but here we are in the very first studio. And now we have 11 and we have 12 and 13 coming on.”

Ryan Seacrest is one of American media’s most popular personalities and producers. He is the co-host of “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” as well as the host of “American Idol,” “American Top 40″ and “On Air with Ryan Seacrest.” He has received several Emmy nominations.

“He loves music,” Connie Seacrest said, recalling when Ryan’s school bus driver let her son play music tapes on the route to school. “Next thing you know, we’re going to the beach, and we had music driving to the beach. So I saw his love for music. And for Christmas, he’d want a mixer and a microphone.

“And the next thing you know, when he gets to high school, he’s working at Star 94 with Tom Sullivan.”

Ryan Seacrest began doing Dunwoody High School’s morning announcements, and then attended the University of Georgia while interning at the popular Atlanta radio station.

“We tried to listen to what he wanted to do,” Connie Seacrest recalled “And I’ll never forget he wanted to talk to us about leaving University of Georgia and going to L.A. So we had one of our house meetings, and he presented his case. And, of course, my husband’s attorney had a lot of questions for Ryan.

“Ryan would say, ‘Mom, I can always come back. People tell me I’m good, but I want to know.’ So we decided that it [was] OK. Follow your dream.

“You encourage them to follow their passion,” she said. “But on the other hand, I say, make sure they’re surrounded by good people. Make sure that if you get into management you have trustworthy people. Ryan was very fortunate in that his father, being an attorney, could look over contracts, and help him in a lot of ways. But it’s about the people that you keep around you and let them follow their dream. They can still come back home.”

Monica Pearson: One on One is an interview-themed series featuring the legendary Atlanta journalist.

Tim Darnell

Tim Darnell

Tim Darnell is the Investigative Digital Content Producer for CBS46.