Melissa Francis at WFSB: the Hartford Years
December 7, 2012

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Melissa Francis is the answer to a WFSB trivia question:  who anchored the first edition of Eyewitness News of the millenium?      Kevin Hogan was her co-anchor and Scot Haney was doing the weather, and yes, apparently, there was a typo in the scripts.

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Melissa worked at Channel 3 for only two years, from 1998 to 2000, but made her mark and is remembered fondly by many of us here.     In fact, she became good friends with our then assignment manager, Dana Luby, who has since added Neves to her name and news director to her title.

After leaving Broadcast House, Melissa worked at CNET on the west coast, then for many years at CNBC, and now she’s at Fox Business Network, where she is the host of “Money, with Melissa Francis.”

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In our Face the State Flashback this Sunday, we take a look back at Melissa’s time at the Big 3 to coincide with the launch of her new book, “Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter, a Memoir.”    Long before Melissa came to Channel 3, she was an actress on a hit show in the 1970s and ’80s, “Little House on the Prairie,”   and the book focuses on her relationship with her mother during that time.

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I went digging through the archives and found that Melissa’s assignments were a far cry from the grilling of hedge fund managers and CEOs she is known for today.     As a Channel 3 rookie, Melissa seemed to have been on the animal beat, covering stories on cats, dogs, even this  snake.

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Melissa did move on to covering people as her WFSB career progressed.   I found reports she filed at the concerts of the Spice Girls,  Rod Stewart, and the Rolling Stones, all of whom performed at the Hartford Civic Center and the Meadows Music Theater.

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Melissa’s work on serpents and singers led to a promotion to the studio, where she anchored the weekend morning news, and got to report on her true passion:  business.    The Channel 3 archives contain reports on real estate, the economy, even a hedge fund.

You can watch the entire flashback, this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, and look for Melissa to make a guest appearance on Better Connecticut on December 13th. 

UPDATE:  You can watch the segment right here:  http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8050101

Also watch our flashbacks on these other Channel 3 alumni:

Gayle King:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/gayle-king-at-wfsb-the-hartford-years/

Bill O’Reilly:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/bill-oreilly-the-lost-wfsb-tapes/

Mika Brzezinski:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/mika-brzezinski-at-wfsb-the-hartford-years/

Marking 20 Years at WFSB
May 22, 2012

For much of May, my good friend and longtime co-anchor Denise D’Ascenzo worked tirelessly  on a special report:  a celebration of my 20th anniversary here at WFSB.   At times, I can’t even believe 2012 will mark  two decades since my first report as a 20-something at Channel 3 after leaving WWMT, the CBS station in Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Michigan.     Even though I’ve covered countless stories and anchored hundreds, perhaps thousands of newscasts since 1992, I was impressed by how Denise managed to pull so many classic clips, including from a period when it appears I had a mullet!

Truth be told, my actual anniversary falls on August 31st, but with summer vacations, primaries, etc.,   we figured it was best to mark the milestone now.    I should note, we’d be lying if we said it was just a coincidence the flashback aired during May sweeps!   

It has been a great twenty years here at WFSB and I truly feel blessed to have been in a job this long, and still love what I do:  broadcast journalism.      I’ve have the fortune of being assigned to cover national political conventions, the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995,  UConn’s historic Final Four win in 1999,  a visit of a Pope, and the Pope’s funeral.   I immediately went to lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 and stayed there for a few weeks.   Eight and half years earlier I stood in front of the Twin Towers after a truck bomb exploded in a garage.    I’ve been on the field at a World Series,  sat across from Oprah, and been in inner city neighborhoods as gunfire went off.     I once even ran through a snake infested field while covering wildfires in Florida with a young field producer named Dana Luby, who is now my boss!

Most importantly, I met my wife Kara here at Channel 3, and became a father two times.     Both of my children began their entrance into this world after the 6PM news.  When I wasn’t on the air at 11 those nights, viewers knew something was up.      It truly has been quite a ride. 

To our devoted and loyal viewers, thank you for watching and commenting over the years.  Without your support,  my bosses wouldn’t have kept me this long!    I should also thank my many co-workers and co-anchors, who always made me look good.   

 I first anchored with Denise in 1994, and then off and on over the next five years.   We became permanent co-anchors in 1999, and have been together ever since, making us the longest current anchor team in Connecticut.       Gayle King and I co-anchored Eyewitness News at 5:30 for four years before she left for O Magazine.    I also shared the desk with Virginia Cha, Mika Brzezinski and Janet Peckinpaugh, and with Kara numerous times in the past decade.     

You can watch Denise’s well-researched, and heartfelt report here:   http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7316421

  Also read:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/marking-a-milestone/

Here are some other pictures from the past 20! 

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