NEW YORK – After more than three decades as one of New York City’s most beloved and respected newscasters, Ernie Anastos was awarded the National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 55th annual New York Emmy Awards on Sunday at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. He began broadcasting in New York in 1978 when he joined WABC’s Eyewitness News.
Former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden presented the special Emmy, the highest honor the academy bestows, to Anastos, who received “one of the rare standing ovations of the night,” according to mediabistro.com. Anastos is a native of Nashua, New Hampshire, where the local paper reminded the media world that, “he started his broadcasting career at Nashua’s old WOTW radio station, which he later owned, reading commercials when he was 16. He told the Nashua Telegraph, “I learned so much from my early days of broadcasting in New Hampshire,” and he said “my news foundation came from Chris Nikitas at the station who mentored me and taught me how to cover a story. He was a legend.”
“I am honored and humbled by this very special Emmy award and especially grateful to my family, friends, mentors and the viewers who helped make it happen,” Anastos told the Telegraph, and mediabistro.com wrote “Anastos, the multiple-Emmy winner gives credit to his Creator: “Thanks for the gift and where it’s taken me.”
TV Weatherman Nick Gregory, who has known him personally for 30 years and has been his Fox 5 colleague for six, told TNH the honor was well deserved for his contribution to television in the New York Metropolitan area.
But at 67, Anastos is far from thoughts of retirement. He told mediabistro.com, “My dad, God rest his soul, was a tireless worker … One of the things that I remember just growing up was to make sure that you’re always busy doing something– active.” In fact, he has taken on a new mission. He is disturbed that children today have a dark view of the news business and told The New York Daily News The image of the news is you have to do something bad to get on the news. Anastos, who anchors the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts on WNYW Channel 5 with Dari Alexander, says We have to turn that around.
Im looking for balance, he told The News. “Lets get some positive stories on the news as well. There is now a separate area on Channel 5s website Myfoxny.com called Positively Ernie, where The News says, “He delivers positive stories and offers up favorite quotes, and he is preparing a TV special, Positively Ernie, to air in May.
Richard Huff of The News put those efforts into a perspective Greek Americans can appreciate: “Anastos, the son of a Greek Orthodox priest, also knows change happens one person at a time.” The New York TV icon told him “Im the messenger. If I can bring better stories on the air – and working within the system – then Im making a difference. Describing him as “an eternal optimist, even on the bad days,” Huff informed the Greek newsman’s many fans, “hes known to play an accordion in the office to cheer the troops during rough times, and is a tireless worker for favorite charities such as the St. Francis Food Pantries * Shelters, where he has a tie-in with his childrens books.”
Business mogul John Catsimatidis told TNH, “I am so proud of my friend Ernie Anastos receiving another Emmy Award. He is such a great role model for Greek Americans… always upbeat, always enthusiastic, always ready to help out in the Community.”
CBS newscaster John Metaxas was one of a number of Greek American broadcasters for whom Anastos was an inspiration. He told TNH “Ernie came to the New York market at the time that I had just started broadcasting at my college radio station. Instantly he became a role model for me. He has always been gracious with his time and willingness to give a younger colleague advice about the business. After having watched him for so many years, it was my privilege to overlap with him at CBS for two years and to work in the same newsroom at Channel 2, where he is remembered as a legend. Ernie deserves all of his accolades, as a professional and a person.”
Alexis Christoforous, CBS News Correspondent, acknowledged that “In the late 1970s, Ernie Anastos was a roll model for me growing up as a young Greek American in Brooklyn. In later years, he became a mentor, a colleague and a friend. Aside from being the consummate professional, Ernie is a geniunely compassionate and positive person who makes you feel good just being in his presence. He also has a wicked sense of humor, loves to sing and is an impeccable dresser. In fact, in all our years working together at WCBS, I dont think he ever wore the same necktie twice! Im fortunate to have worked with Ernie and even more lucky to call him my friend.”
Fox Business Network correspondent Nicole Petallides, who co-hosted TV coverage of NY’s Greek Parade with Anastos two weeks ago congratulated him “on yet another great accomplishment.” She also told TNH, “Ernie has set a stellar example for not only Greek journalists but also for all professionals in journalism…Ernie is an outstanding television news anchor, a pleasure to work with [and] a good friend.”
Eleni Daniels, Producer and Host of the “All Things Greek” radio show on WNYE told TNH, “He is truly in a league of his own. His charm, personality, professionalism, wit, and deep concern for the youth and our diverse community shines through. I grew up watching Ernie during the late 70’s with my late father every weekday evening on WABC-TV and remember thinking how I wanted to grow up asking the right questions.”
After graduating from Northeastern University, Anastos worked at WRKO, a radio station in Boston. In 1976, Anastos transitioned to television, becoming an anchor at WPRI-TV in Providence. Two years later, WABC-TV lured him to New York and the rest is history.
According to the Fox 5 web site, Anastos “has won more than 30 Emmy awards and nominations, including “Best Newscast in New York” and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for broadcast excellence…He has national experience as a news anchor and substitute host for The CBS Morning Show and ABC’s Good Morning America…Anastos is a celebrated author, most recently introducing a series of children’s books titled, Ernie and the Big Newz, with proceeds donated to The Make-A-Wish Foundation. A Phi Kappa Phi honoree, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern University.”
Anastos has remained active in his Church and community throughout his frenetic life and is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a member of Leadership 100, but in a town that was the home of legendary newsmen like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, its tough to beat the title Dean of Gotham’s broadcasters.