Tag Archives: Fox

Fox’s Cavuto Celebrates Danbury, MS Awareness Month And 30 Years In Business

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cavutoHis career path started in fish and chips to a priestly calling, ultimately winding its way to the world of business and television. Now, 30 years later, former Danbury resident and FOX Business Network (FBN) and FOX News Channel (FNC) SVP, Managing Editor and Anchor Neil Cavuto, is not only celebrating a milestone in the world of business reporting, but also his personal challenges that include multiple sclerosis.  March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month and the 55-year-old author and award-winning broadcaster  who hosts FNC’s “Your World” and FBN’s “Cavuto,” offered insight into that and more as he Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: It is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month and I know you are afflicted with the disease. How has it made you a better person?

A: I think I’m less focused on stupid things. But that didn’t start with my getting MS that actually started a decade earlier when I was battling cancer, very advanced Hodgkin’s disease. Up until that point, I was a Type A jerk – far more interested in climbing the ladder, than giving a rat’s-you-know about whose hands I was stepping on. It was all about me and my career – the next gig, the next big assignment. I know it sounds trite to say we all have to stop and smell the roses, but for me, it was a good pot of marinara sauce, and simply taking the time to appreciate sharing a simple meal, and moments, with my family. So many wonderful relatives and dear friends have passed away in the course of my battles. I just wish I spent more time being with them and simply chatting, and less time thinking about me and constantly battling.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in dealing with the disease?

A: MS is unpredictable. My condition is particularly unpredictable. One moment I can be fine and thinking lucidly and clearly, and the next I’m falling down and seeing spots before my eyes, before seeing nothing, at all. It’s the erratic extremes of this disease that I find the most troubling, and frankly, annoying. I can never be sure. An attack can come at any time, sometimes in the middle of an interview on air. I’ve learned to adjust, but it’s never easy, and I can tell you, it’s never, ever, welcome!

Q: I did a little research and while you attended school in that fine city of Danbury, your first job was not in broadcasting but in fish and chips. Was it a detour and how did you end up in business broadcasting?

A: I was 16 and Arthur Treacher’s Fish n Chips had just opened a restaurant in Danbury. Jobs were tough to get so I applied and was rocketed to manager at 17. I did learn a lot about business and money and not wasting product in that job. It is a delicate balancing act. I learned about cash flows and budgets, and actually, come to think of it, I learned a lot on that job. When you run a business to make money you learn a lot. I ate so much when I worked there because we could eat for free. The French fries, the chips, were thick and fried in saturated in oil. Now it would be considered death on a plate.

Q: But you still didn’t explain the path to broadcasting.

A: It was a circuitous path. My first goal was to be a priest. I went to Immaculate High School in Danbury. I loved journalism and planned to be a priest and teach. My Irish mom was very happy about it. I started in the priest seminary program at St. Bonaventure and realized I just wasn’t cut out for it. So I had to break it to my mom. My father, who is Italian, said ‘good, there is no money in it.’ I decided to pursue journalism instead and his joke was that only I could find a job that pays less than a priest. I just had this interest in business and journalism and sort of stumbled in by way of a couple of production projects.

Q: How did life in Danbury help your career path?

A: My father moved around a lot. He was an executive with an Industrial American Can Co. I was lucky though. I went to the same high school for all four years and did have the virtue and benefit of being in one place for a while. There were a lot of lasting friendships and relationships made and I love that area of the state. That’s where I got into things. I helped start and served on the Danbury Youth Commission and that was quite a civic duty early on. I was just a nerd in high school. I was always the guy they said had a great personality.

Q: How has life on tv changed since you began?

A: A lot has changed. When I started just doing work on financial shows like CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, it was the only place you could see stock prices other than newspapers. Now there are hundreds of sites. Now we are not only giving data but context as well. I fear though, in some cases, it is going from serious to adding some entertainment components and in our profession that is the conundrum. We can’t think of it as just a way to inform people anymore and we have to deliver the news in a new way without dumbing it down.

Q: You are celebrating 30 years in TV business reporting in 2014. What are you proudest of during your tenure?

A: There is no single event. Just trying to make sense of bull and bear markets, crashes and crashettes, the meltdown five years ago, the Latin American fiasco. You get to see so many calamities over a lifetime that you do get a business perspective. The market has an uncanny knack of emulating our country. I don’t mean to sound native Yankee Doodle Dandy view of the world but it is a remarkable testament to capitalism and our country in terms of how the U.S. is weathering its difficulties. I like to think no matter what crap we are thrown in life, we see more good than bad.

Q: Any financial advice for us in 2014?

A: Rather than paying 18 and 21 percent to those credit card guys get your debt under control. I know it is simplistic but once you get control on what you owe you are well on your way to making money. And the same thing applies to our country. Before we get pie in the sky riches ideas, think about this. It is money in money out and everyone needs to understand that. While we are doing better and we definitely are, what I fear is that when we are celebrating and getting giddy, we are being shortsighted. I welcome the optimism but this country has these enormous bills and we should be addressing that. Those bills are going to choke our kids. It is time to make some long-term adjustments because it is going to be prohibitively expensive if we don’t do something about the national debt.

Q: Because it is MS Awareness Month, what advice do you have for those who are diagnosed with it?

The first thing MS patients have to get in their head is this disease messes with your head, quite literally. From lesions in the brain, to similar markers along the spine, it can and will incapacitate you. The only difference in MS patients is how much. When that happens, it’s frustrating as hell…but more often than not, in the moment, we think it’s hell, and constant hell, at that. That’s when we need to remind ourselves…that as debilitating as the moment can be, and as progressive as those moments can “get” to be, they shouldn’t mentally get the better of us. I try to count my blessings, and my family, and my friends, and of course, a very supportive network of bosses and colleagues. Think good, it will get you through bad. I’ve discovered it’s very easy to bitch. But I’ve also discovered few people want to listen to you bitch. So I don’t. For myself, for them, I don’t dwell. I just deal. That’s the secret to carrying on with this disease riddling your body. Don’t let it steal…your soul.

MasterChef Judge Elliot To Open Restaurant in Greenwich

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GE_Graham Elliot HeadshotGraham Elliot, two-Michelin-starred chef and judge on FOX’s ‘MasterChef,’  and ‘Junior MasterChef’ is bringing his culinary expertise to Connecticut.

The Chicago restaurateur, who always sports those killer eyeglasses,  is opening  Primary Food & Drink in downtown Greenwich this winter.  Elliot’s long-standing Director of Operations, Merlin Verrier, will serve as Executive Chef.

 According to a release on the new eatery, the name of the restaurant comes from the dictionary definition of the word primary itself, meaning “first or highest in rank, quality or importance.”  To that end, Primary Food & Drink’s philosophy is guided by three main principles: mastering basic, fundamental cooking techniques; using the highest-quality seasonal elements; and providing the greatest level of service and guest experience.

 According to the release:

‘Primary will serve contemporary American seasonal cuisine in a refined yet casual atmosphere, featuring locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.  The menu will showcase Elliot’s creative spins on well-known classics like Caesar salad, pot roast, beef stroganoff and buffalo chicken.  A selection of classic cocktails and a wine list comprised primarily of American varietals will also be offered.’


FOX Business Liz Claman Coming To CT For Breakfast

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The very economics savvy Fox Business anchor, Liz Claman, will be the featured speaker October 1 at the Tunxis Community College Foundation breakfast, “How the Smart Money Succeeds.” Claman, who has interviewed political and business powerhouses including business magnate Warren Buffett, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, will share her insights as part of the program that begins at 7:30 a.m. at Farmington Gardens. A California native who lives in New Jersey, Claman, who anchors “Countdown to the Closing Bell,” and co-anchors “After the Bell,” hinted at how to succeed with money even in these economic times when she Spilled the Beans with Java.

Q: Let’s get to the bottom line. How does the smart money succeed in this economy?

A: It is very difficult. The smart money is succeeding by zigging when everyone else is zagging. The most successful people, where Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, run toward an investment when everyone else is running away from it. During the height of the financial crisis, Starbucks was at $8 a share as they were closing 600 stores, there was a change in management and there was great concern. It looked like a company in a total utter state of confusion. It brought Howard Schultz back and that $8 a share is up to $51. The point is, just when it feels uncomfortable, the best of investors are saying ‘has anything changed within company?’ And while yes the exterior forces, the financial crisis and the store closures are disconcerting, this was a case of a great company going through rough time. Good investors saw that.

Q: Is this something the average American can buy into?

A: It is time when there is no average American. We all have to take financial bulls by the horns and take control over our own investments. Any American can assess whether this is a company that has the ability to grow. You can be completely enamored with company and its product. You want to avoid high price to earnings ratio. You want high cash flow, low debt. Put in the time, education yourself. It is a simple as walking into Lululemon, currently a hot stock and see how they are doing, how you are treated. And do your research on Wall Street.

Q: Who is the most interesting person you have interviewed and would like to interview again?

A: Buffet is the winner clearly but his vice president, Charlie Munger, is one of the most brilliant people I have spoken with. You can see his mind working. In this day and age when everyone spits out answers, you ask Charlie a question and he stops and thinks and then blows out the most unbelievable concepts and ideas. We were talking about the United States and becoming energy independent and Charlie stops and thinks and says “This is the stupidist idea. Why wouldn’t we want to conserve our reserves and use up the other guy’s first?” Charlie is one of a kind.

Q: Connecticut has the less than stellar reputation as being one of the most unaffordable states in the nation. What do you think?

A: If you had a choice to live in Indonesia or Connecticut, and you were told you would have to pay more taxes in Connecticut, 99 percent of the people would choose Connecticut.

Q: What makes you so good at what you do on Fox?

A: I am very good at extracting information although not so good at putting it to work for me. I am very engaged in getting the guests and producing the pieces. I am going to Cleveland next week. It’s part of a series FBN is doing called “Open for Business,” where it looks at the economies of various cities throughout the U.S. Ohio’s Cleveland, in my opinion, is one of the greatest American cities. It is alive and kicking while other guys are chasing Facebook shares. It’s an American city open for business

Q: And  Connecticut?

A: Connecticut is the heart of the hedge fund world. Different states each have a personality that will contribute to a vibrant economy.

Q: How would you characterize people’s mindset today compared to 15  years ago?

A: People are much more serious and much more focused. Pre-2000, the dot.com world was an inflated balloon that was stretching and stretching then in 2000 it popped. That was a wake-up call for a lot of folks. It affected everyone. I pointed it out and received hate mail, that it was unpatriotic and that I was trying to step on something good. I can spot a fraud when I see one. Examine the local news. It tells a lot.

Q: Are you an expert on the economy?

A: I am still enrolled in the Liz Claman School of Business and to this day, every night, I still study. It is very arrogant of people to think they are going to grasp something like the market without studying.

Q: Your advice to people who are struggling to make smart financial choices in these tough times?

A: They are sorely mistaken if they think they should not be planning for future. I wish I had started investing right off a college. To young people, take 30 cents a week and start funneling it into broad base or mutual funds. Over time, the stock market has always had better returns than anything else. But that’s not all you do.  Finance is intimidating, a mystery language, but guess what? You better start learning how to translate because it will make the difference between a comfortable retirement and a nightmare.

Q: Something no one knows about you?

A: I am obsessed with chocolate. I eat it every single day, cheap or expensive, I don’t discern. I will steal it from colleagues’ desks and step on peoples’ backs to get to it.

Former WFSB Anchor Spills with Java

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It’s been a while but some Connecticut viewers may remember Melissa Francis, a WFSB weekend morning anchor and general assignment report in the late 1990s. You might also remember her from her childhood acting days. Francis appeared as Cassandra Cooper Ingalls in “Little House on The Prairie,” and in episodes of “ALF,” “Mork and Mindy,” and “St. Elsewhere.”

These days however, the mother of two has a different kind of tv persona. She just launched her own FOX Business show called “MONEY with Melissa Francis,” where she breaks down the day’s top stories and how they impact the American taxpayer.

Francis also has another project on the drawing board. She has written a book scheduled for a fall release and it includes her stint in Connecticut. Rumored to be the inspiration behind the “30 Rock” journalist, Avery Jessup, Francis recalled her quality Connecticut time and explained her career these days  as she Spilled the Beans With Java.

Q: I know it’s brand new but what prompted your new show and what is the focus?

A: Just been on a couple of weeks since it began but it is all very exciting. It is all about your money, the issues of your pockets, the economy, small businesses and how what happens in Washington D.C. affects it all. The show has attitude and a point of view with lots of guests from politicians to economists. The idea is to show that what is happening to the economy interconnects with your life from student loans and household budgets to taxes on your businesses and investment choices. We look at how Washington is mismanaging and managing things , we have a point of view and debate both sides.

Q: I know you are a Harvard grad with an economics background. But is it still a man’s world when it comes to reporting on money matter and the economy?

A: Not at all. I don’t think so at all. Maria Bartiromo was my idol. She made brains glamorous and brought women to the forefront of financial journalism.

Q: Hartford was one of the markets where you cut your teeth. Memories?

A: Fond ones. Dana Neves was one of my best friends and was in my wedding. And we were roommates. There was a cub reporter at the time I was there, Dennis House, right after the mullet. Denise D’Ascenzo , she has not changed a bit. I had the pleasure of working with them all. And then there was a new guy when I was there. Someone told me he would be doing weekend weather and that he was really, really funny. It was Scot Haney. We were immediately friends. We had a blast.

Q: You were an actor first. Why the switch to journalism?

A: I enjoyed acting but when it came time to go to college, I went far away so I couldn’t keep on foot in acting. My first tv job was in New Hampshire and the news director there was all excited because of my acting background. He thought it would translate well on television. It didn’t. I was like a deer in headlights because in acting, someone is giving you the words to say and you rehearse a million times. In tv you are flying by the seat of your pants and it’s unscripted. But what I love about my own show is that it is my own voice.

Q: You will be 40 soon. Is that good or bad in your business?

A: At my broadcast level, age and beauty aren’t so important.  There are seasoned women who may also be gorgeous but we have a longer life in the business. I have to be able to handle a debate with politicians about money.  You can’t just be pretty. Although I am acutely aware that down the line the life span on television will end. I mean television will always be a visual medium so let’s not kid ourselves.

Q: I understand you have written a book. Tell me about it?

A: I have and it comes out in the fall. The title is “Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter” and it is juicy and I dish on everyone. Hartford plays a big role.  Dana is in the book.

Q: Any professional words of hope or encouragement as people struggle with this economy?

A:  I would say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, things will get better, and we have resolve and fortitude to forge ahead. I think the recession may us realize what is important in our own lives and I forcing us all to get smart with money and how we are spending it. This is not the time to hide you money in your mattress but to get more engaged and face reality. We are smarter about planning for our future, about investing, and what our government is doing when it comes to spending. And that’s a blessing even though it is an exhausting time for every family no matter what the income.