Dennis House reporting on Feb. 27, 1993, at the World Trade Center in New York City
This Friday I mark a professional milestone: 15 years at WFSB!
It was August 31, 1992, when I first “punched the clock” so to speak, at Channel 3.
Much has changed here. While there are several engineers and photographers who have more years under their belt than me, the only on-air people on our staff today who were here for my first day are Denise D’Ascenzo, Dan Kain, and Bruce DePrest. Al Terzi was on Channel 8. An intern from the summer of 1994, Dana Luby, is now my boss. One of our new sales recruits hired around the same time as me, Klarn DePalma, is now the general manager of WFSB.
I had just driven in from Michigan, my Pontiac packed with boxes. I was thrilled to be closer to my family in my native Massachusetts and my favorite summer place, Newport, R.I. I was part of a new group of young reporters at WFSB that included David Ushery, Mika Brzezinski, Eric McClendon, and Virginia Cha. We learned from veterans Jim Vicevich, Jeff Cole and Brian Garnett. Our anchors were Don Lark, Denise, Gayle King, Janet Peckinpaugh, and Gerry Brooks. Hilton Kaderli — complete with his “gullywomper” — was our weatherman.
Those first days, weeks and months were a blast. It seemed everybody owned a Whalers cap, shirt or jacket. I would run into players in restaurants and pubs. We would walk to lunch at the historic Marble Pillar restaurant in the shadow of the Travelers Tower, shop at the Gap on Pratt Street, I even bought a piece of furniture at G. Fox. I went to a Celtics game at the Civic Center.
Since 1992, I’ve been able to have a front row seat to history. I interviewed Al Gore inside Modern Pastry in the South End. Covered Presidents Clinton and Bush at Yale University on different occasions. Chatted with Oprah in her studio about her new movie. I sat in the courtroom in L.A. and actually saw the faces of the jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial that were concealed from television viewers. I’ve interviewed governors, senators, actors and actresses, doctors, lawyers, authors, athletes, victims, and killers.
I have also seen joy and sorrow up close. I will never forget the raw emotion of sheer joy in the fall of 1992 in New Haven. A Newhallville girl named Jasmine had been kidnapped. I was there when her family came out of the house shrieking with euphoria that police had just called to say Jasmine had been found alive in the Bronx. I will also never forget the agony a woman shared with me in Lower Manhattan the evening of 9/11, as she asked me to put her husband’s picture on television. He worked at the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center. I also was on hand for the massive funeral of Pope John Paul II.
Looking back, I have to say, staying at WFSB for 15 years was not my original plan, but I got promoted a few times over the years, fell in love, got married and became a dad. Kara and I fell in love with Connecticut’s capital city, which is now our home. We relish taking our daughter all over the city and all across the state.
It sound kinds of corny, but I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, the viewers. I enjoy meeting you everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I’ve actually met Channel 3 viewers as far away as Rome, Mexico, Chicago, and Florida.
Over the past 15 years, your mail, comments, gifts, and e-mail have been greatly appreciated. Here’s to another 15!