Up Close and Personal with Emmy-Award Winning Greek-American Broadcaster Ernie Anastos

by Markos Papadatos, Reporter



Ernie Anastos, an Emmy award-winning Fox News broadcaster and the first Greek-American anchor in the country states: "I am very proud of my Greek heritage. I am extremely proud of my family and all of the good values and qualities that they've passed on to me. My grandfather, on my father's side, was one of the first Greek Orthodox priests ordained in America. He is listed among one of the great pioneers of our church. His name was Anastasios Anastasiou. My grandfather's dream was to become a priest, and when he came to America that dream was fulfilled. He brought his whole family here. My father, Phillip Anastos, was also extremely proud of his Greek heritage. He was in the travel business in Boston, and became a prominent figure in New England. His travel agencies were located in Boston and Lowell in Massachusetts, as well as in Athens, Greece. Dad also had a radio program on Sunday mornings called 'Grecian Echoes.' He would provide travel information on the program, and give commentary on family values, including the importance of our faith, education and the family unit. As a child, it was important that we celebrated many of the great holidays and traditions of our culture and our church. I grew up in a home filled with family and love. For many years we lived together with my Papou, Yiayia, my parents and two sisters, Maria and Georgia. I am still very close to my family and thankful that we were provided with great role models that we now share and pass along to our extended family. I have been honored to be on television in New York City for more than thirty years, and often speak of my Greek heritage. I have tried to serve as a role model for many young people who have entered the field of broadcast journalism and I have shared my love and respect for our church."

Anastos continues, "I have been close to the Archdiocese of New York. I have even taught Sunday School at the Holy Trinity Church in New Rochelle. This was one of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences of my life. Many students will remind me often times of something that I said in that little classroom. I believe we can make a difference and impression on people's lives by doing something very simple such as teaching a Sunday school class about our faith. Overall, my Greek heritage is very much a part of my life."

"My wife Kelly's father was a wonderful man and a great priest. Reverend Spyridon Coutros was cherished and admired in his community of Asbury Park, New Jersey for more than 40 years. Today our family remembers the great traditions that have become a part of everyday living. Kelly provides the delicious Greek cuisine in our home, we speak the Greek language, and often look at picture albums to rekindle our memories of the motherland."

Image courtesy of Fox 5 News, New York


"One of my first inclinations as a young person was to enter the priesthood, but I eventually became very interested in becoming a broadcaster. As early as ten years old, I would pretend being a radio announcer at home by reading the news out loud and telling stories to whoever would listen. All that passion helped me in landing my first radio position as an announcer when I was 15 years old and growing up in New Hampshire, thus commencing my path into the field of journalism. I still feel like a kid at heart since I love what I do!"

In addition to reporting the nightly news, Anastos is producing and hosting two specials for Fox 5 in New York called Positively Ernie. "This is a program which will share much of the good news and many stories that are going on in the world that often don’t make the news. There will be other positive features that will help motivate and inspire people to achieve their goals, and help them become happier and more successful with themselves and their families," says Anastos.

Ernie Anastos was one of the biggest influences of the founder and author of the Loukoumi book series, Nick Katsoris. "Nick Katsoris was a young student who came to visit me when I was on ABC about twenty years ago. I saw his zest for life and I could sense that he was also a person of purpose. I am a strong believer in that. We started to talk about his desires to follow journalism and law. Nick and I really struck a chord right there and we became good friends and have been friends since the 1980s."

"I think his Loukoumi book series are great! I think Nick has done an exceptional job. He's trying to use his books to teach children about values and principles and doing good deeds and showing the kindness and sensitivity to our fellow man, and to make the world a better place. I applaud him for what he has done," says Anastos.

Throughout his illustrious career in journalism Anastos has been the recipient of many awards and accolades. "Recently, I was truly honored by a New York Times special article called 'The Importance of Being Ernie.'"

This tribute article was exceptionally written since the writer was basically saying that everybody in New York loves and respects Ernie… from the police officer, to the mayor, to the man on the street, and of course his millions of viewers.

"It is very fulfilling to have gained the trust, love and compassion of my viewers who depend on our broadcasts to keep informed and in many ways, entertained through a personal relationship that we have developed over the years."

With regard to his proudest professional moments, Anastos remarks "I've received 30 Emmy awards and nominations in my career. The most significant story and the most painful was covering the events of September 11, 2001. I was on the air for several months with extended coverage that generated strong emotions throughout the nation, and especially in New York City."

"I have also traveled to Havana, Cuba to cover the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. My assignments have taken me to London, where I covered Princess Diana's funeral. I reported on the heartbreaking story of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s unfortunate passing on Cape Cod. Also, I landed an exclusive report on the death of former Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1979."

According to Ernie Anastos, "I've been to Greece many times. I've traveled with my wife and with our children. I love the islands. We spend most of our time in the island of Mykonos, Santorini, and Patmos. I love Athens and Delphi. The center of democracy, among other things, is a reminder of our rich history and contributions to the world. Our culture has its origins in Greece and I also proud to be an American. I have served in the United Stated Army as a communications specialist and have been active in many patriotic programs and events in New York City. I will always have this great admiration and respect for Greece."

Ernie Anastos was the first recipient of the Hellenic Times Dinner Dance Scholarship. "This started twenty years ago, and I still attend every annual GALA. I congratulate John and Margo Catsimatidis, as well as Nick Katsoris, on their vision to create this scholarship program which benefits so many talented Greek-American students. This year, they are celebrating their 20th Annual Anniversary, and it is expected to be a promising and stimulating evening event." In addition, Anastos presents a scholarship award to an outstanding student in the field of journalism.

"My advice for aspiring journalists is to have the passion and commitment to report the news with truth, fairness and accuracy," says Anastos. “You also have to have a sense of motivation and a sense of purpose in your life. I believe education is paramount. Get as much as you can and never stop learning!"

American best-selling writer H. Jackson Brown, Jr. once said, "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get." Anastos echoes this inspirational quote as his personal definition of the word success. "I feel successful because I have a family that I love and people who respect my work, and a sense of purpose in my life. Most important is my faith in God. After that, everything else then falls into place" adds Anastos.

As for the future, Anastos concludes, "The Greek-American community is very much alive and doing very well. I see families, children, schools and programs that perpetuate what we believe in. We are strong in pursuing and nurturing our faith and family values. The Greek-American community is extremely strong and I witness that every day and I am very proud of it."



(Posting date 04 March 2011)

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