As fall prepares to give way to winter, Denise D’Ascenzo and I have been doing quite a bit of reminiscing these days. That’s because twenty years ago this autumn, we became co-anchors for the first time.
In September 1994, I was anchoring the morning news and Denise the evening news. Due to the opposite schedules we kept, we didn’t see each other all that often, that was until the middle of the month, when I got moved to the nightly newscasts. We soon realized we had quite a bit in common: our Italian heritage, Catholic school upbringing, attention to grammar and spelling, and a goofy, sophomoric sense of humor. We’ve been close friends ever since and have shared the ups and downs of our personal and professional lives together.
Here’s Denise reading at my wedding to Kara in 2003.
How I was initially paired with Denise twenty plus years ago, and Janet Peckinpaugh on another newscast, is a complicated story, involving personnel departures, new hires, non-competes and a lawsuit, all of which was covered by the Hartford Courant and other media outlets. In early 1995, I returned to the morning news, but was promoted back to the night shift that summer to become Gayle King’s “tv husband” as she put it, and to anchor with Denise when Al Terzi was off. I’ve been on the evening news ever since, paired with Denise again on a permanent basis later in the 90s. I told you it was complicated.
There is an awesome responsibility that comes with being the longest serving anchor team in Connecticut, and Denise and I do not take it lightly. We are very aware that we wouldn’t have reached this milestone without the support of the people of this great state who have watched us faithfully and sent us letters. and e-mails over the years telling us what they like and don’t like, not to mention story ideas and news tips. We were both deeply moved at the many hand made gifts viewers crafted for our children when they were born. We thank you for watching and look forward to working for you, and giving you our best every day, for the next twenty years.
We’ve also had the tremendous pleasure to report the news with some amazing broadcast journalists over the years, and are blessed to have terrific bosses in our general manager Klarn DePalma and news director Dana Neves. They are both younger than us, but if you ask Denise what grade they were in when she started at WFSB, she may hurl a shoe at you.
You can watch a condensed version of one of our 1994 newscasts complete with that funky purple we used to have in our color scheme at the link right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=10920420
Here are some pictures of us over the past two decades. See you on the news tonight and thank you again.