The Board of Directors of the New York State Broadcasters Association is honored to announce its Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The inductees were selected by the NYSBA Hall of Fame Committee from nominations submitted by NYSBA members.
David Donovan, President of the New York State Broadcasters Association stated: “The Class of 2020 represents the best in the broadcasting profession. While the inductees represent a cross section of broadcasters from across the state, they share one key characteristic. They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to serve their local communities. We are honored to have them join the ranks of the legendary broadcasters from New York.”
David Ushery – WNBC TV Ch. 4 (New York City)
Recognizing his commitment to broadcast excellence, passion for community service and his work as a positive role model for New York’s youth, the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame Committee has selected NBC 4 New York / WNBC news anchor David Ushery for its 2020 Induction Class. One of the most recognized and respected news anchors in the Tri-State region, Ushery joins fellow anchor Chuck Scarborough, Chief Meteorologist Janice Huff and the late Senior Correspondent Gabe Pressman as members of the Hall of Fame.
“David is a gifted writer and anchor and one of the most respected and accomplished journalists in our newsroom and beyond. He is a big believer in giving back and making a difference. This is a well-deserved honor and we look forward to David joining the legends of New York broadcasting,” said Eric Lerner, President and General Manager of NBC 4 New York.
Ushery anchors the 11 am and 5 pm editions of “News 4 New York”. He also hosts “The Debrief Podcast”, taking listeners behind the headlines and interviewing the men and women who bring the news to their viewers. A member of the Silver Circle for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York Chapter, Ushery was honored with a National Emmy® and an Edward R. Murrow Award for WNBC’s continuing team coverage of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Passionate about service and helping those in need, Ushery has brought attention to the sacrifice and unique challenges facing local first responders. He has investigated the high rates of suicide among firefighters and placed an important spotlight on the emotional struggles faced throughout their lifetimes. He also won a New York Emmy® for his 2019 profile on 9/11 responder Michael Dorian, who was diagnosed with cancer following his service and later fought a challenging battle to secure the health benefits due to him under the law. Later that year, he conducted one of the last televised interviews with the late NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, who helped lead the grassroots campaign which resulted in renewal of the federal Victim’s Compensation Fund.
“It takes two incredible teams to tell the stories most important to our community. It begins with my work family at WNBC, where I work side-by-side with the best in the business. But most importantly, it’s anchored by – and ends with the home team, my wife and son. Entering the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame would never have happened without their love and support. I am grateful,” said Ushery.
For more than 17 years, Ushery has offered WNBC viewers a front row seat to the biggest news stories of the day. He has traveled around the world to report live from site of terror attacks in Paris and Manchester, England, the front lines in Gaza and the West Bank and the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. He has also made multiple visits to St. Peter’s Square in Rome where he covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the 2013 papal conclave electing Pope Francis and the canonizations of Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Saint John XXIII.
In recent years, Ushery also reported from Houston following the death of former President George H.W. Bush, from Orlando following the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting and the White House for the transition between the outgoing Obama and incoming Trump teams. He covered Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Washington D.C. and New York City live from the parade routes. Ushery also delivered live coverage following the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and the miraculous 2009 landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.
Prior to joining WNBC in 2003, Ushery worked for 10 years at WABC-TV where he rose from general assignment reporter to full-time anchor of the early morning and noon broadcasts and later became the primary fill-in anchor for the evening newscasts. While here, Ushery covered the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. He also covered the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster from Houston, the O.J. Simpson trial from Los Angeles and the disappearance of Elizabeth Smart from Utah. Ushery also made multiple trips to Haiti for a series of reports on the island’s political and economic unrest, traveled to Africa and Toronto for visits by Pope John Paul II, and reported from South Africa where he covered the United Nations’ conference on racism.
Ushery is the recipient of three honorary degrees, earning honors from St. John’s University (2014), St. Francis College (2018) and Fordham University (2019). He is actively involved with both the New York Urban League and the Archdiocese of New York, and received numerous awards for community service, including from the Nubian Cultural Center, Consulate of Israel and Public Relations Society of America. He has received the McDonald’s Black Media Legends: Faces of Black History Award and the National Association of Black Journalists Award for his series of reports on children and violence. Ushery has also been named “40 under 40” from Network Journal and Black Professionals Business Magazine.
A Hartford-area native, Ushery graduated from the University of Connecticut and began his broadcast career at WFSB-TV, where he worked as the lead evening reporter. He also reported for the Hartford Courant and the Los Angeles Times. Ushery was 11 years old when he was selected from a search to host the Connecticut edition of “Kidsworld”, a nationally syndicated television show. One of his first interviews was with news icon Walter Cronkite, who was considered one of the most trusted men in America at the time. Ushery hosted “Kidsworld” until he was 18.
Mimi Griswold – Galaxy Media Partners (Syracuse)
Once an avid Red Sox fan, this Boston native found her broadcasting home in “Yankee” country. After graduating from Syracuse University in 1979, she began her career with the Cortland Standard, a newspaper in Cortland, New York.
But broadcasting was her goal and Mimi began her 35-year broadcast career in 1985, in sales and promotion and as program director for WQNY-FM in Ithaca. From there she moved to WKLL-FM as a program director and on-air talent. In 1992 she moved her energy and creative talents to Galaxy Communications. For 27 years Mimi remained on the air and served as the program director for Galaxy’s WTKW.
In 2014 she was promoted to Vice President of Programming for Galaxy Communications. In that capacity, Mimi oversees station debuts, format changes, music, promotion, formatics, imaging, staffing and on-air talent. Often she has juggled up to 5 stations at once.
Sunday mornings in Syracuse belong to Mimi. For 27 years she has been the host and creative force behind “The Blue Moon Cafe,” a Sunday morning music show that is mainly acoustic and is based around singer-songwriters from the 70’s as well as contemporary acoustic artists. The show airs on WTKW-FM, Syracuse, NY and WTKV-FM, Oswego, NY.
Beyond radio, Mimi has been actively involved in the community. Over her 27 year career with Galaxy, she has supported countless public service organizations. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Cortland Free Library. She is a member of the Dio Day Committee which raises money to award annual scholarships to music students in honor of Cortland native and world famous musician, the late, great, Ronnie James Dio. Mimi is a beekeeper and volunteers as an educator for the New York State Honey Producers Association. Previously she served as a volunteer educator for Women Victims of Violence in Cortland.
Greg and Ernie Schimizzi – Owners WVVH-TV, Hamptons Television (Long Island)
Greg and Ernie began their journey in television in the 1950’s. Their father would take them to Rockefeller Center to see a production of the “Today Show” with Dave Garroway. It made an impression that lasts to this day. They both earned advanced degrees at NYU.
In 1977 Greg and Ernie formed a television production and distribution company – Video Voice Inc. They produced more than 150 motion pictures establishing a partnership with MacMillan Publishing Company and the Canadian Broadcasting System. In 1994, the FCC offered the last UHF license in Southampton and WVVH- Hamptons Television was born. By 1995, the station began broadcasting from a studio located near the East Hampton Airport and broadcast 24 hours a day.
For 25 years Greg and Ernie have remained true to the stations mission – providing local service to the communities on Long Island. WVVH is famous for its live coverage of the Hamptons Classic Horse Show. The station has covered the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Mercedes Benz Polo Challenge, the East Hampton Sandcastle Contest, American Heart Association’s Heart of the Hamptons Ball and Long Island BOLI Awards for the best news coverage and advertising creativity on Long Island; and Emmy and Press Club of Long Island recognition. It has provided Long Island with a variety of content such as “Outside Television” and “Youtoo America,” that cannot be found on other channels.
The station has received numerous awards for its commitment to public service. It was honored by NYSBA for its tremendous service to Long Island during Superstorm Sandy. It has received numerous “Serving New York Awards” for its public service campaigns supporting non-profit groups such as the Clamshell Foundation, ASPCA Horse Rescue Efforts, Riders with Disabilities, Meals on Wheels, Wounded Warriors Project and many others.
WVVH has embraced technological change. It was one of the first stations to stream programming, the first to demonstrate High Definition Television on Long Island while reaching millions of viewers world-wide. After a long struggle, the stations can be seen on Verizon – FIOS and Altice – Optimum in the New York DMA. Innovation has been a hall mark of Greg and Ernie Schimizzi. They hold a patent for an anti-theft trunk lock device that was used by Chrysler.
Beyond TV they are true scholars, having authored a book entitled “September 11th, 1776, Americas First Attempt at Peace.” The book details a peace conference held on Staten Island during the American Revolution.
Paul Vandenburgh – Owner/GM/Host – WGDJ Talk 1300 AM/98.7FM (Albany)
Paul is in bed by 7:30 p.m. and in the office no later than 3:45 a.m. every day. His dedication to broadcasting and the citizens of the Capital Region is unsurpassed. The radio legend grew up in Troy and graduated from Siena College. Paul hosts the longest-running morning show host in the Capital District. His morning show is a “must listen” in the politically active Albany market.
He has been involved with local radio throughout his life. In the 1960’s he engineered record hops for WTRY. During the 1970’s Paul was involved with the high school radio station, where he got his first chance to be on the air.
After high school he pursued a non-broadcasting career, but began working part time doing talk/sports at WWCN 1460AM in 1986. A year later Paul moved to WQBK Talk Radio 1300 AM as an on air talk host. From 1989 to 1993 he served as a talk show host and Sunday Night Sports talk host on WGY (810AM) in Schenectady.
Paul has become the voice of drive time in the Capital Region. In 1993, he hosted an afternoon drive time program and then hosted the morning drive time program for WQBK Talk Radio 1300. In 1997, he took his drive time talents to WROW, where he hosted morning drive and served as the program director for the next decade. In 2007, Paul made the move into ownership, becoming president, part owner and general manager of WGDJ (Talk 1300 AM/98.7 FM).
Throughout his career Paul has given back to the community. Each year his station holds a golf tournament to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Jake’s Help from Heaven. Paul has done many remote broadcasts to support JDRF events such as their annual fundraising ball. He does a remote broadcast annually at the Jakes help from Heaven Family Fun Day fundraiser. Paul has worked to bring awareness to the Epilepsy Foundation. He is a long-time supporter of the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club as well as the South Troy pool. Paul has been the emcee for a number of charitable events including the Heart Association Ball.
Paul exemplifies what is best about local radio. He is truly committed to Capital Region, where he grew up and raised a family that includes three children and five grandchildren
The New York State Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame is located at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public communications at Syracuse University. The NYSBA Hall of Fame website is available at https://hof.nysbroadcasters.org/
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