Tag Archives: nbc connecticut

Tarantal to Boston, Ripley to Tokyo

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erikaripley Some tv world blasts from the past updates:

Former WVIT NBC Connecticut reporter Erika Tarantal has joined Hearst’s ABC Boston affiliate WCVB as an anchor and reporter.

And former Fox Ct student news program reporter Will Ripley, a 1999 graduate of Manchester High School, has been named CNN’s Tokyo-based correspondent.

And speaking of tv,  current WFSB anchor Dennis House will celebrate his 50th birthdahouse (4)y helping  Interval House.

House actually turned 50 in December but will celebrate publicly  on Feb. 27 at the party which will be held at Hartford City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Hartford non-profit that provides help to victims of domestic violence.

Tickets are $50. Information: 860-246-9149, extension 337.


New News VP At NBC Connecticut

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Matt Piacente, WVIT VP of NewsThere’s some new brass at NBC Connecticut in West Hartford. This is the announcement.


“NBC Connecticut / WVIT announced today that Matt Piacente will serve as the station’s Vice President of News, overseeing the news team for the NBC-owned station. Piacente joins the station from NBC 5 / WMAQ in Chicago.


For the past 15 years, Piacente has served as a newsroom leader at WMAQ in several roles, including Executive Producer of News and Special Projects and his most recent post as Manager of News and Content Development. In addition, he has held key producer positions at Chicago’s ABC7, WGN, and CLTV.


“Matt’s robust experience overseeing breaking news, investigative reports, election coverage and severe weather make him a perfect fit to lead the NBC Connecticut news team,” said Ric Harris, NBC Connecticut President and General Manager. “Our viewers look to us to be Connecticut’s first and best choice for local news across all platforms and we are confident that Matt’s vision and leadership will provide viewers exactly what they are looking for from NBC Connecticut.”


Piacente, a winner of 18 Chicago Midwest Emmy awards, replaces Mike St. Peter who recently was named General Manager of New England Cable News, also owned by NBCUniversal.


Piacente begins at NBC Connecticut on Monday, February 10th.”

‘Rudat’ Is Now ‘Lee,’ Change-Ups At WFSB

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rudatRemember tv personality Brandon Rudat who left NBC Connecticut a few years ago for the West Coast?

Well, he’s had a few gigs since then including one in Atlanta, and has now landed in Arizona with a new job and a new name.

According to TV Spy, Rudat is now at KTVK in Phoenix where he has taken the name, Brandon Lee.

According to the report, Lee is Brandon’s middle name and he has taken the new moniker “to honor his adopted family and keep a promise to his adopted father David Lee.”

Speaking of changes, WFSB has done some switching up when it comes to one of its weekendkimlucey reporters.

Former weekend anchor Tina Martin is now working four days a week in the early evening and 11 p.m. news while Kim Lucey has been moved over to the weekend morning anchor desk.

Good 2014 Start for Sally’s, Brady, Cusato, Chandler

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varanoA new year is off to a good start for Hartford’s Black-eyed Sally’s.
The popular restaurant is one of 13 from across the nation to be featured in the online site “Bluescentric” new 2014 calendar.

“We didn’t really know how it happened,” said James Varano about his popular barbecue/Cajun restaurant and rhythm and blues club taking the October spot on the calendar.

The picture features Ryan Hartt and the Blue Hearts during a performance at the Asylum Street club. “We didn’t know about it until Ryan posted it on the band’s Facebook page,” Varano said. “Imagine that right here in little ol’ Hartford.”
For calendar information go to bluescentric.com
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And there’s more Sally’s news, its new stage.

“There is not a bad seat in the house now,” said Varano about the new stage and music system that will make performing and listening a better than ever pleasure than ever in 2014.
If you headed down to Mohegan Sun to catch one of Prince’s performances, you may have seen more stars than you planned on.
According to The New York Post’s Page Six, Prince and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez were both there New Year’s Eve.
Prince was out and about after performing with Janelle Monae and his bands New Power Generation and 3rd Eye Girl. JLo, with her twins Emme and Max in tow, was there to take the youngsters to the Cirque Celebration at the Mohegan Sun Arena, according to The Post.
And now back to Facebook.
Former NBC Connecticut sportscaster John Chandler has given a shout out about his new sports gig at WNBC-TV in New York.

Former WTNH favorite Kristin Cusato is tweeting about her return to KUSI TV in San Diego. Cusato left the West Coast and came to WTNH in 2009 to care for her ill mother.
And, finally,  WKSS 95.7 FM has announced that morning show personality Brady has left the state to from the morning show is leaving to take a job at sister station WKSC in Chicago.

LaBarbera Becomes Mrs. Dufour

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dufour (2)Here are some more sneak peek pix of that New Year’s Eve wedding starring  former WFSB traffic reporter and now WTNH traffic reporter/ show host  Teresa LaBarbera, now know as Teresa Dufour .

She married All-Star business owner Brandon Dufour at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury. Once the “I dos” were done, it was on to the  black tie wedding reception with a 2013/2014 party vibe thrown in for good measure.

And among the long list of tv personalities at the bash, that included one awesome snowball photo 3fight at Waterbury’s Palace Theater, were WTNH’s Anne Craig and Gil Simmons, NBC Connecticut’s Darren Sweeney, WFSBers Jill Konopka, Irene O’Connor, Hena Daniels  and former WFSBers Jessica Schnieder and Heather Hegedus.

More pix here.

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A Party On Every Corner In Hartford, Including One For House

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house (3)There was no doubt it was the holiday season in Hartford Wednesday night.

Company parties were as popular as candy canes and tinsel at downtown restaurants.

Various organizations including NBC Connecticut and CT1 Media were celebrating the season at places including The Society Room  and Capital Grille, while the group from public relations company McDowell Jewett,  partied at Max Downtown.

And among the parties, there was one very private but noteworthy one over at Salute where WFSB anchor Dennis House and his immediate family, including mom (who coincidently, is also named Mary Ellen) were celebrating his 50th birthday.

“It’s been a good day,” said House who also dined with wife and co-worker Kara Sundlun and their two children.

House, who by the way, shares a natal day and a Dec. 18, 1963 birthday with a host of celebrities including Brad Pitt, will  be celebrating his half-century birthday  again at a bigger bash in the weeks ahead.

Happy Birthday!



TV/Radio Hello/Goodbye CT

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Lots of changes over the summer in local television and radio as people come and go.

Among those who have gone were NBC CT’s investigative team members Chris Coffey, now at WMAQ in Chicago and Monica Buchanan, named media relations manager at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

One of those positions has been filled by George Colli, formerly with Fox Ct.


Courtesy of WTNH

Meanwhile over at WTNH, news director Erik Schrader has been named president and general manager of KSNW in Wichita. Taking over his job at the New Haven-based station is Al Carl. Carl has been at WTNH for over a year and is has previous experience as an executive producer and assistant news director at several other stations.


Courtesy of WRCH

And in case you haven’t heard, Friday marks longtime morning show co-host Allison Demers last day on the job at WRCH-FM. Demers, who has been at CBS’s WRCH for 13 years and co-hosts the morning show “Allan, Mike and Allison” with Allan Campo and Mike Stacy, is stepping down to do “mommy” things, she said. An ordained minister in the First Assembly of God, Demers said she will continue her missionary work when she leaves the station.

“That’s it,” said Demers as she counts down her final hours. “I couldn’t wait for the day to come so I can have a normal life, but now I am overwhelmed. It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I will miss it, but will like not getting up early or driving in blizzards,” she said. “And I will miss Allan and Mike. I grew up with them.”

Steve Salhany, operations manager for CBS Radio’s four stations in the Hartford market (WTIC-AM, WTIC-FM, WRCH-FM and WZMX-FM), said Demers’ replacement is expected to be named in the next few weeks.

Russini Headed To Washington D.C.

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It’s hello and goodbye to a couple of Hartford- area tv personalities.

The goodbye is to NBC Connecticut’s Dianna Russini who is leaving the West Hartford-based station on May 24 and heading to WRC NBC4 in Washington, D.C.

“I’ll be a sports anchor and reporter,” said Russini who begins her duties at the NBC affiliate in early June. “It is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “And there is no way I would have been able to get there without the people at NBC Connecticut.”

The “hello” is over at WTNH in New Haven where David Iversen has come on board as its new chief investigative reporter. Iverson previous worked at WOWK in Charleston, W.V.

Interval House Holds Annual Gala

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ih1Interval House’s mission, to provide help to victims of domestic violence, is a lifeline for those who have nowhere to turn when life becomes sad and fearful.

But on Saturday night at The Society Room in Hartford it was all about smiles as supporters of the non-profit turned out for its “Step Up and Sept Out 2013” annual gala.

The tone was set with a welcoming, celebrity-style red carpet that had even executive director Cecile Enrico giddy.

“I just want to walk down that red carpet with my son,” said fellow staffer, Rosemary Padin, heading back outside for the strut after tending to last-minute arrangements inside. “I can’t wait to walk the red carpet together.”

ih3There were a slew of local personalities to make the red carpet walk worthwhile including Fox Ct/WTIC Joe Furey, NBC Connecticut’s Brad Drazen, WFSB’s Dennis House and Kara Sundlun, and WTIC’s Joe D’Ambrosio.  And home from Washington D.C. was U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal, one of the founders of Interval House’s Men Make A Difference, Men Against Domestic Violence Campaign.

And while he is happy with the progress of his Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, there are other matters in Washington, not so much.

ih2“I am frustrated beyond words,” he said about the federal budget gridlock. “Just frustrated.”

The evening included an auction, dancing and dinner and for most at the black-tie event, it was a night to have fun while benefiting a worthy organization.

“I can’t image in women and children who live in fear of a husband or boyfriend,” said Melody Ricard, an Old Saybrook wife and mother who attended the function for the first time. “There should always be help for people in that situation. How fortunate we can make sure they have somewhere to go for help.”


For more pictures go here.


Hartford’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Day, Just One Big Party

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irish2 (2)While St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford may have been the main event on Saturday, there was lots of pre- and post- parade partying both inside and outside all over the city where, for one day, by the looks of the crowd anyway, everyone was Irish.

Beyond the restaurants that opened early to get the party started, there were dozens of private parties going on beginning with Congressman John Larson’s “ceilidh” over at The Society Room.

At the same time over at lobbyist/pr firm Sullivan & LeShane, top guys Pat Sullivan, in scally cap of course, and Gene Sheehan, in his signature baseball cap, welcomed an eclectic group of revelers ranging from NBC Connecticut’s Gerry Brooks and WTIC’s Ray Dunaway to legislators including Democrat Russ Morin from Wethersfield and former CT Republican party head Chris Healy with CPTV’s Jerry Franklin and Leadership Greater Hartford’s Ted Carroll thrown in for some extra fun. Wardrobe of the day, more Irish wool knit sweaters than you could count and the menu, corned beef Reubens, cod balls, Irish soda bread and for those who imbibed (and who wasn’t?) Smithwick, Guinness, and Bailey’s.

“We started the parade party 10 years ago,” said Sheehan, “and it’s become a tradition.”irsh3

A lot of other traditions were going on at the First Presbyterian Church on Capitol Avenue where the parking lot had become a Gaelic “tailgate” heaven starting at around 6 a.m.

There were O’Reilly’s and Murphy’s and Kelly’s all with tents and buffets fit for the best of the Irish  and Irish “wanna bes.” And in the midst of the pop-up party central was Mary Beth Syme, who was also celebrating, the parade, her heritage and the 10th anniversary of her family’s parade day get-together.

irish1 (2)“We started it as away to get the family and friends together on a holiday that is just upbeat and animated,” said the event planner who proudly boasts of being 3/4 Irish.  Each year Syme fires up the stove and the oven in her kitchen several days before parade day, preparing an assortment of dishes including colcannan (Irish mashed potatoes) and corned beef, and then transporting everything to the church parking lot by 6 a.m. on parade day to make sure she gets a good spot along the parade route.

“The parade is wonderful, it’s always wonderful,” said Syme, cooking up baked French toast, hot dogs and chili on the grill as the 80 guests arrived. Syme even arranges to have a porta-potty brought in for the convenience and comfort of guests.

New at her party this year were commemorative buttons honoring her late aunt, Sheila McKenna Harrison, who died in 2012 and whose contribution to the parade buffet was a special macaroni and cheese dish, prepared by other family members this year in her honor.

Admitting there have been years when the weather was less than desirable including horizontal rain, sleet and freezing cold temperatures, the Glastonbury resident  said she doesn’t see an end to the party, despite the planning and the work involved. “It’s a tradition we plan on keeping,” she said. “It’s wonderful  way for the family to get together.”