WFSB & WFSB history

Goodbye Big Al

This week marks the end of an era in local television:  Al Terzi is leaving Channel 3.

“Big Al,” as we call him, first came to Channel 3 in the summer of 1968.    A decade or so later, he left for a job in Florida, where he survived a devastating plane crash.    When Al returned to Connecticut, he worked at WTNH, then re-joined Channel 3 in 1993.

Al is good friend and heckuva lot of fun.    In a business where we often have to report on the worst in human behavior,  it is nice to have a little levity now and then and Al would gladly partake in the silliness Denise and I so enjoy.   When Al would forget to sign off his computer, I would jump in send a preposterous e-mail to certain staff members, something like this:   “Can anyone recommend a good place to get a brazilian wax?”   Younger, newer,  staff members would murmur in twisted shock at this e-mail from Al, actually believing this military veteran  would undergo such a procedure!

 

Al always played along and was a good sport.   He wore a grass skirt, and footie pajamas  for Scot Haney’s Joy for Kids concert,  went along with good natured teasing about his age, and even tried a green jello shot at a St. Patrick’s Day party.

 

One of Al’s roles here at Channel 3 that the viewers may be unaware of,  was that of teacher.     His memos and notes on grammar, history and journalism are legendary.   I saved them for about a month or so and put them in a handmade book, called the “Terzipedia of JournALism.”  Here is one of my favorites from 2004:

In today’s Noon news, we referred to a “strip joint” as a “gentleman’s club”   “Gentleman’s club” is what the OWNER calls his business, so we should not use that term, because it’s misleading.    Viewers may be confused and think it’s a social club,” membership in which is something to be DESIRED.  Why not just call it a NIGHTCLUB FOR MEN?”   That’s not passing judgement.  That’s what it is.  By calling it a “gentleman’s club, we ARE passing judgment.     Thanks, Al

It was not uncommon to get an e-mail  from Al sent from home calling to our attention a mistake or an offer of new information about a story.   Some people might not have welcomed that missive, but they certainly learned from it.

We all learned from Al.  As anchors, I can say Denise and I are better at our jobs because of Al’s guidance.     He once told us he had two contracts; one with the station, the other with the viewers.   The dean of Connecticut television always made time for the people who watch us.

I’ll tell you a story that sums up what kind of guy Al is.   There used to be a mentally challenged man who waited outside Broadcast House nearly every day to greet us as we came and went into the television station.   He would take the bus downtown and sit outside our studios.   He knew our names and the stories that appeared on Eyewitness News.    Al would buy him lunch, and gave him comfort when his mother died.    That was Al.

For Denise and me, Al’s departure is a big loss.   Our desks have been at the same pod since 1999, when Gayle broke up our foursome when she left.    At the old Broadcast House, Denise, Al, and I used to take a daily “coffee walk,” either outside to Constitution Plaza or in the station lunchroom.    We’ve been there for each other at weddings, funerals, family dramas, and newsroom management upheavals.

On his final day here, Al got a standing ovation in the newsroom as he walked into the studio.   Well deserved.

 

 

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44 replies »

  1. I am sad to hear that Al is leaving channel 3! He will be sadly missed. To Al, I wish you the best in what ever your dreams are taking you to! Enjoy each day, and your family! Best Wishes Al! Thanks for all the years!
    Thanks, Bev

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  2. Even though I am no longer living in CT, I was saddened to learn that Al was leaving your station. I remember Al form the early days (I moved to CT in 1969), heard about the plane crash after he had left, and was happy when he came back to CT broadcasting.
    It will not be the same per se without Al, but everyone @ 3 will carry the torch and keep a bit of Al with them.
    Good luck wherever you may land next, Al!

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  3. It will be very sad to see Al leve,so many years to watch and listen to him,, we thank you for all your hard work, and for sharing your life with all of us…I wish for nothing but the best for you and Bless you Al, enjoy your life..

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  4. A true professional- not letting the cat out of the bag for the sake of the ratings. You will be missed. Thanks for all the memories. Maybe we will see you golfing some time. And you never know where the Terzi boys will show up next. Good luck in your endeavours.

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  5. Dennis, what a wonderful tribute to such an awesome figurehead. He will most certainly be missed…and I can see him in the role of teacher 😉 I hope he will continue to carry that torch from wherever life may take him, and hope we get updates on occasion from him.

    Good luck to you, as well, Dennis, as you step into those shoes he’s leaving open. You have been an astute learner and a sponge and you should be proud of all you have accomplished. There is a lot more in store for you, I believe.

    Sad to see Al go, but couldn’t ask for a better shoe filler 😉
    ~meri

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  6. I am disappointed to hear AL is leaving WFSB he has been a staple in CT broadcasting for decades. I remember AL leaving for Florida and his plane crash. I was glad to see him return to CT. I remember when AL & Pat Sheenan were teamed up at WFSB. Pat was well known from WDRC AM & FM. Hope to see AL pop in every now in then. I have lived in CT since 1953. I live in SC now but will return to CT and continue to watch EYEWITNESS NEWS online. I wish AL & his family the very best in whatever he does in life. He will be missed by millions.

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  7. Al you will be missed. Been watching you since you came to channel 3 and all I can say is you are one class act. Dennis, Denise and the rest of the staff will always hold you in the hearts you have taught them well. Best of luck in the future and may god Bless you and your family.

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  8. Thanks Dennis for this little tidbit about one of our favorite channel 3 anchors. We in CT will miss Al Terzi. I wish him the best and can’t wait to see tomorrow’s newscast.

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  9. I’m still missing Bob Steele! Not having Al as the “silver fox” is going to break my heart. I wish he and his lovely lady a happy retirement. Send him off with enough sunscreen for all that golf he is going to be playing. I know you are all going to miss him. I am going to miss him as well. God speed Al.

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  10. Thank you Dennis… and everyone forgets that just a few years ago Al added something else to the resume — that of graduating law school.. to understand the legal system even more.

    Living in Southington Al’s adopted home for so many years he is missed every day, either church, or just around town.

    Sure we haven’t seen the last just wish you brightness in the future – may it be Broad Street, Elm Street or New Britain Ave we all gain frim your experience the business needs more like ‘Big Al’…NASTROVIA!!!!

    John West

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  11. I still remember the first time I heard Al Terzi. He did a evening (after 7pm I think) show on WTIC AM. The one Dick Bertell did previously to Al. That would have been mid to late 60’s. Live radio. It was on as we had supper as a family. I still recall drying the dishes listening to it. A lifetime ago, but only yesterday.

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  12. Al will surly be missed by all my husband and i were saying 2 days before the announcement that Al had been ther a long time and we are sad to see him go good luck

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  13. I have always enjoyed watching Channel 3 and Al Terzi is one of my favorite anchors. I wish him the best toward his new adventure in his journey of life. Goodbye Big Al =)

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  14. How I hate to see Al Terzi leave, he was like the root – the base for channel 3, it will never be the same. Ever since I was a child, we have watched Channel 3, with Al Terzi, and watched how other news staff have joined, him, and how channel 3, and the news people have grown. He is a icon of the news. I wish him the best, and I wish the rest of the news team, the best, as U continue your journey, without Al Terzi, I am sure U will carry on in the great way everyone has.

    Gold Bless U all

    Patty Dolan-LeMAY

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  15. Dennis…what a beautiful tribute to Al Terzi…we all grew up with Al on Channel 3, prayed for him after his accident and had happy tears knowing that he was coming back to us on “3”. He is and will always be an icon of Channel 3…sad to see him go however we know that he will do well. We are wishes him the very best!

    Marie Dixon
    Windsor

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  16. What a GREAT MAN. I have enjoyed him for so many years….he reminds me of my Dad..His smile and manners have always been so pleasing and WHAT A VOICE! Al ..we will miss you and all the very best for you in the future. GOOD LUCK ..Dori Somers CT

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  17. I will miss Al, though I do not him personally. He spoke at my graduation from Charter Oak State College in 1995. I remember most of what he said. I wish peace and prosperity to him as moves on to another place in life.

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  18. It was always such a pleasure listening to you..God bless you and keep you safe and healthy in all you choose to do.. You will definately be missed . Best wishes

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  19. Al Terzi, a true Channel 3 Icon! A gentleman and a scholar as well. I cannot believe Channel 3 could not negotiate a deal to keep this iconic treasure at their station! Rediculous if you ask me. Channel 3 lost out BIG TIME! Al, Thank You for your professionalism and realism in all your broadcasting. You’ve distinguished yourself as a true news icon whom all shall miss! God Bless you and keep you well, happy and forever young!

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  20. Al, we’re gonna miss you pal. Been with you since 1968 and the news at 3 just won’t be the same without you.

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  21. What a great loss for WFSB! I just have to share a personal story about Al that always impressed me. Many years ago, my family and I saw Al at a restaurant on Cape Cod. As he was leaving, he walked near our table and my Mother decided to kindly ask him if he was who she thought he was. Well, Al couldn’t have been nicer about it. He was gracious and kind to us and came right over for a chat!

    Now, here he was, on a vacation, and he could have simply said, “No” and been on his merry way. However, the fact that some people from Connecticut recognized him was all it took to bring-out the true professional. I am certain that others wouldn’t have been half as kind to us and we were all so thrilled to meet him.

    He will certainly be missed by loyal WFBS viewers and I, for one, wish him the best in whatever the future holds.

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  22. While no one is irreplaceable in any job, Al has been the consummate professional newscaster all of his years at Ch 3, and the station is the loser. Somehow, his direct connection with viewers, likeable personality, smile and honesty came across every evening. Life will go on, obviously, but it just won’t be the same and it will be interesting to see what changes will happen as a result. He would make a great teacher and mentor to up and coming journalism students, so whatever he chooses to do, I wish him good fortune wherever he goes. And good luck to the rest of you, too. You’re the BEST!

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  23. As did the late and well respected Walter Cronkite, Al has such a distinctive voice, that even when reporting the most horrifying news, he did it in a manner that was professional, yet you could hear and feel the sympathy or saddness he was feeling. I wish him well and will miss him. I have watched Channel 3 news for many years and it just won’t be the same. It was a sad day in CT history when the old broadcast house came down and this ranks right up with that. If I didn’t love all of you at 3 so much, I may consider a different source of news but I will remain a faithful viewer. Al, I wish you all the best. Enjoy life and family, that you so often let us know how proud you were of them!!

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  24. It is so sad to see such a true icon newscaster leave~~he is the epitome of grace, dignity, kindness and a wonderful person~~that always came through the TV to his audience. Best wishes Al~~may you enjoy your next endeavor and find “your” rainbow in the sky. I know Denise and Dennis will carry the torch well, as they have had you as an example, mentor and fellow newscaster, but mostly as a dear friend. Thank you Dennis for the wonderful tribute and photos. Good Luck to ALL and God Bless.

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  25. What a beautiful tribute to Al. He so deserves it. I’ve always enjoyed watching Al Terzi, and remember when he reported the news at noon. Now, I’ve enjoyed watching him at the 5pm news. Al is always is a gentlemen, and i wish him all the luck in the world, wherever that takes me. Hopefully, he’ll realx and take a much deserved vacation first. God Bless Al Terzi.

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  26. Sorry to see Al go! Watching you for about 40 years now, and it will seem strange not to see you on channel 3 anymore. I bet you have many plans for your retirement years and I hope you enjoy them to the fullest! Best of luck and happiness!

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  27. I wish you the best in your retirement.
    It is hard to believe it has been this many years.
    I remember fondly babysitting for your children and getting to know your family.
    I wish for you a long, happy and healthy retirement as you enjoy time with your family and friends.

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  28. It was great seeing all my former WFSB colleagues! Thanks Dennis for posting this so we could all be apart of this day. Al will be missed!
    Katishia Cosley-Trigg

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  29. How wonderful they allowed Al a ‘send off’ moment with colleagues. Sad to say in this day and age in Television News many stations will be adversarial when a contract impasse occurs no matter how long the news anchor appreared on their air. May Al ‘live long and prosper’! Keep going…don’t take no for an answer and if there’s a will…there’s a way! 🙂

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