coolest of the cool
Television Personalities
Okay, I admit it.  I was a couch potato.  Most of my IDOLS were the people I saw on tv.  Newscasters, talk-show hosts, weathermen and sportscasters.  I'm a bigger fan of sportscasters than I am of sports....I generally could care less about what they talk about, but enjoy the delivery!

The people on this page are, in my opinion, the BEST of the BEST(or as the title says the "Coolest of the Cool".)...some are local television personalities, some aren't.........these are the people I've admired and some have made a difference in my life!(in no particular order....)
David Letterman
As a teenager,  Letterman was "it" for me.  He wasn't your cut and dried talk show host.  I have done an ENTIRE page saluting his show "Late Night With David Letterman."(click on his picture to view the page). 
Lew Jetton
Lew Jetton has graced Southern Illinois' airwaves since 1989(by way of WPSD TV).  He's a great weather forecaster and and even better person!!  He's a gifted musician and a natural on television.  Our area is lucky to have this man!!  Whatever channel 6 is paying him, it isn't enough!(click on his picture to see his webpage for his band 61 South!)
David Rose
I had the pleasure of seeing David early in his career on WPSD TV in Paducah..  I remember sending him letters telling him how good he was and I KNEW he was destined for big things! 
It was a thrill to see him on the syndicated show EXTRA and he's continued to shine just about everywhere he's worked.  I am proud to have "known" him when.....
Tom Butler
This southern gentleman was on WPSD TV for many years.   Look up "professional" in the dictionary and I think they should put a picture of Tom Butler.  I really looked up to this man when I was growing up and  my respect only has grown for him as an adult.   He's the real deal!  
"Uncle Briggs" a.k.a Briggs Gordon
Ask anybody who grew up in Southern Illinois and its surrounding areas who "Uncle Briggs" is and they'll probably put on their cartoon eyes!  Briggs Gordon played "Uncle Briggs" on WSIL after taking over for Catcus Pete in the mid-seventies and made the show his own.  With his sidekick "Bananaman" and characters such as "Sally Safety", Uncle Briggs was "must-see tv" back in the day!  Sadly, Briggs Gordon(who ended up on local radio after the show was cancelled) died in his late 30's( he was in his 20's when he did the Uncle Briggs show!)
Sam Burrage
Ask anybody in this area to name a favorite local tv personality and Sam's name will most likely be mentioned first!  With his "Burrage's Bag" feature on WPSD TV, Sam is one of the most popular people on local television in Southern Illinois!
Johnette Worak
I've seen Johnette on local tv since 1986 when she was on WSIL tv in Harrisburg!  She is now the female anchor of the evening newscasts on WPSD TV.  Johnette is truely a local tv "sweetheart".  She is as friendly as she is professional and one of our OUTSTANDING journalists and equally as outstanding as an anchorperson!!   I can't say enough good things about this woman but I'm out of space.......
Ron Beaton
Ron Beaton was a mainstay on local television for over 2 decades.  I believe he started out as a teenager and was one of the most respected newsmen(if not THE most respected newsman) in our area.  He also has one of the best news VOICES I've ever heard.  When he speaks, I listen.  One of the few people I'd call "sir" and mean it!(not that he's old...) Ron has retired at a very young age from television...
Mike Rowe
I first noticed Mike Rowe when he was a pitchman on the home shopping Channel QVC.  I hadn't paid much attention to anybody there up until then, but he was different.  Naturally funny and very suave, one wondered "what the heck is he doing on QVC"!!  

He's since left QVC(and they've never come close to replacing him) and has done several projects and commercials. 
Jeff Bidwell
WOW!!  Jeff Bidwell hasn't been on our local tv for very long, but he's quickly become my all-time favorite local sportscaster.  I'm not the biggest sports fan, but this guy can make a fan outta anybody.  I hope WPSD is smart and doesn't let this one get away from them!!!
Cal Sisto
A true "superstar" of local weathercasters.  I've been watching Mr. Sisto since I was in high school(when he first came to this area)  Like other superstars such as Elvis,  Cher and Madonna, he could go by one name......he IS the weather Authority......he is CAL!
Mike Mallory
Behind that boyish(or perhaps a DEVILISH grin) lies a great sense of humor!  If you've ever seen Mr. Mallory during his live spots for the "What's it Worth" you see a great example of his humor.  Plus-he's really a nice guy!   You can watch Mike on the morning and midday news on WPSD!
Amy Watson
I remember sending a letter to the WPSD tv news director saying that he should "snap up" Amy Watson when she was on Channel 12(I had seen her filling in on the Breakfast Show).  Well, I don't think I had anything to do with it, but they did.  Now she's the co-anchor of the 10 o'clock news on WPSD!  Ms. Watson is as good a person as she is an anchor.  She cares about the people in this area!  She isn't bad to look at either!!
Erv Coppi
Erv Coppi hosted the Friday night horror films on our PBS station WSIU in Carbondale for many years.  He introduced the films in an exciting way that always enhanced the movie....I sorely miss him on our local television!!  He also hosted the PBS fund drive with local legend Virginia Marmaduke.
Jim Cantore
Watching Jim Cantore do the weather on the weather channel is like watching a star athlete excel at his sport.  He really gets into his forecasting and (by all reports) is one heck of a nice guy as well!!!
Linda Ellerbee
For a few years, Linda Ellerbee kept me up just a little later after I was through watching "Late Night With David Letterman", with the award-winning, groundbreaking news program NBC News Overnight!  Ms. Ellerbee was a natural for this show.  She brought a "laid back" approach to the news that I'd never seen before.... 
Chris Wragge
Talk about your 10 million watt smiles!!!  Wragge is an great sportscaster, but it was his stint on Entertainment Tonight that brought him to my attention.   He brought a great personality and a lot of humor to a show that generally was lacking both.....they let him get away(not a smart move), I understand, he's married to a model!!  Way to go dude!!
Ernie Mitchell
He's been on WPSD for many years as both and  an anchor and a reporter!  He's one of our area's trusted newsmen!   
Berndt Petersen
Berndt Petersen who used toco-anchor Newschannel 6 Today on WPSD(and now is at WFTV in Orlando, Fla) didn't intend to be in television when he attended college at the University of Central Florida.   He was studying Accounting.  He took some debate classes and found he enjoyed being in front of an audience.  A STAR was born!
He held several jobs at other stations before landing in Paducah's WPSD.  While at WPSD he's earned an EMMY Award!  But it's his stint as co-anchor of the morning news show that lands him here. 
Suzanne Farmer
Suzanne Farmer has one of the most sincere, lovely smiles I've ever seen on television(network or local).  She's the girl-next-door that even the biggest grinch could fall in love with!  She started us off right by with her effusive personality and bright smile......she's a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.....I hope Ms. Farmer makes a return to television one day!
Don McNeely(no picture available)
Don McNeely is the FIRST local television personality I remember!  I remember him mostly on the Breakfast Show on KFVS TV 12, when the news set consisted of a plain background with a clock on the wall!  Mr. McNeely, like many others that started in local television in the early days, was an all purpose television personality. He would later settle as KFVS' chief weatherman!
Brian Alworth
Don't know much about this guy, but I do know he's got a great on-air personality.  Plus he gets some points for being a rabid Gordon Lightfoot fan!!  Channel 12 needs more guys like Mr. Alworth!!
Christopher Glenn
Christopher Glenn used to narrate and report on the little "newsbreaks" during Saturday Morning Cartoons in the 1970's and 1980's.  Called "In the News",  Mr. Glenn covered a variety of topics and presented news in a way that was interesting to kids. 
Kukla Fran and Ollie
Long before the internet did the job of making the world a smaller place, Kukla, Fran and Ollie did it by hosting the show "The Children's Film Festival" on Saturday Mornings on CBS during the late 1960's through the 1970's.  The show showcased films from around the world. 
Jim Hackler
Even though Mr. Hackler wouldn't sing the theme from Green Acres on AM Newsbeat on WPSD TV(the original name of the news show)  he remains as one of the coolest people I've known. (A suggestion and subsequent letter writing campaign I came up with after watching his AG reports because he reminded me of Oliver Douglas standing out in a cornfield with a suit!)   I love it that he's now a comedian on the side(his day job is at the Southface organization in Atlanta, GA where he serves as Director of Earthcrafthouse) 
Jane Pauley
I used to love when Jane Pauley appeared on Late Night with David Letterman!  She could've been a comedienne in another life!  However, as a journalist and co-host of NBC's Today show, she proved herself as one of the "coolest"(and an inspiration to Johnette Worak!) 
Kasey Kasem
Besides providing the voice of Shaggy in Scooby Doo, Mr. Kasem hosted the American Top 40 on radio.  But his tv version of that show America's Top 10 lands him on my page!  He was the source of much of my early musical trivia!!
Carol Burnett
I don't think any show made me laugh harder than Carol Burnett's variety show!  I used to love how Carol would do the audience question and answer segments.  That kind of care and warmth for her viewers set my standards for what I think is "cool" television behavior!
Captain Kangaroo
Long before David Letterman, my first childhood HERO was Bob Keeshan's Captain Kangaroo.  Along with Mr. Greenjeans, Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit, I watched faithfully for most of my pre-school years.
Fred Rogers
I loved Mr. Rogers Neighborhood when I was a kid. I always thought his "house" was cool with the trolley and the picture that played I think I got my love of Jazz music from this show(and Charlie Brown specials).......
Mike Spissinger
Mike Spissinger is simply this area's BEST cameraman in local television, HANDS down.  He's got the Awards to prove it!  There's not a cameraman whose name is more recognizable or whose work is more respected than than Mr. Spissinger's!
Pam Spencer
You can count the number of women on one hand who've held down a weathercaster/s job in this area. Pam Spencer was one of the BEST!  And she's a nice lady to top it all off!!  She's now doing the morning news on WPSD!
Mike Shain
Mike Shain is another one of our local legends.  He's been at KFVS channel 12 since 1972! 
Tony Hensley
Mr. Hensley is passionate about what he does and has a great presence on the screen!!   I hope he sticks around Channel 12 for a long time!
Dan Phillips
Dan Phillips is not only a great sportscaster, he's one heck of a funny guy.  Like WPSD Sports director, Jeff Bidwell, Phillips will make you stop and listen and laugh, even if you don't like sports.  Another winner in the winning team at WPSD!
John Champion
John is very serious about weather.  IN fact his ambition to be a weatherman must've come early as he was one of Cal Sisto's original weather watcher's when he was a kid!  Now he forecasts weather on the station he keeps coming back to(he interned at WPSD as well).  I think he's home!
Erik Silverberg
Erik left WPSD to pursue other interests, but I hope he decides to return to television as he was an excellent newscaster and reporter...
Mike Janssen
I've caught Mike Janssen every now and then on WSIL TV.  He's been there since 1998, did weather for "Daybreak"(the morning news) and now is on the weekend newscasts.  He's very friendly, has a great sense of humor and I look for him to go very far in the television industry!
Lindy Thackston
Lindy, who has been on TV 3, WSIL became the anchor of the new 60 minute morning news in 2004. Lindy is a former Indianapolis 500 princess who graduated from Purdue University in December 0f 2002.  I expect big things from this young lady as she does a FANTASTIC job on the news and as a reporter.
Scott Couch
Scott has had some big shoes to fill as he took over the evening newscasts from Mike Mallory and Ron Beaton on WPSD.  He's done a great job so far.  Not surprising as several of his viewers from his former job at WTVF in Nashville, TN had emailed me to tell me what a great guy he was and how much they admired him before he even did his first newscast at WPSD!
I'd better take a moment to credit the various websites of WPSD, KFVS and WSIL for the various images used on this webpage.  I would've liked to use my own images, but I have none.  I would've had to resort to "artist's renditions" with me being the artist.  It would be very hard to compliment these people using stick figures to represent I had to resort to "borrowing" these images......