WPXI co-anchor departing; replacement named
By Rex Rutkoski
Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
There will be a new look to the mornings at WPXI-TV Channel 11 News, starting Oct. 22.
Co-anchor Todd McDermott, who came to the station in January 2010, is moving to WPBF-TV, a Hearst-owned ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., to be closer to his daughter.
Joe Arena, most recently a news anchor and reporter for five years at WIVB, a Lin Television-owned CBS outlet in Buffalo, will replace him. Arena, a New York City native who attended Syracuse University, assisted Tom Brokaw on his “Greatest Generation” interviews, and worked with another broadcasting legend, Don Imus, on his radio simulcasts at MSNBC.
“Replacing someone as talented as Todd McDermott isn't easy, but I think viewers will find Joe to be warm and engaging and a good fit with co-anchor Jennifer Abney,” says Ray Carter, vice president and general manager of WPXI.
In addition to Abney, Arena will join traffic reporter Trisha Pittman and meteorologist Kevin Benson every weekday morning from 4:30 to 7. He will also co-anchor Channel 11 News at noon with veteran anchor Peggy Finnegan.
Morning anchors are sometimes the most difficult to find, Carter says.
“They need to have that combination of seriousness and stature, while at the same time, they need to be warm and approachable. No one wants to wake up to someone who never smiles. I think when you see Joe Arena, you'll see the right combination. He's a terrific communicator and, on the personal side, a well-grounded person,” he says.
“After meeting with Joe, I can tell he will be a tremendous addition,” says Mike Goldrick, news director. “He can't wait to get started.”
Arena's 15 years of experience include working in Shreveport, La., Washington, DC, and Bluefield, W.Va.
“It's very refreshing moving to a city like Pittsburgh that is on the rise. My wife, Mary Claire, and I are very excited about it,” Arena says.
“We have a handful of friends and distant relatives all around the city. We are expecting our first baby in January, and it's kind of good to know we won't have any problem finding a baby sitter.”
The public already is familiar with the work of his father, Francesco Arena, an early “Marlboro Man” (“He was one of the guys on the horse in the national advertisements,” Arena says), and of his mother, Jean Arena, who created the “I've got a headache this big” advertisements for Excedrin.
McDermott, who has a political science degree from Canisius College, Buffalo, his hometown, will debut at his new station during WPBF's live team coverage of the presidential debate at Lynn University on Oct. 22.
“I've had three great years at WPXI,” he says.”There are no memorable moments on the air that will equal just getting to know the incredible people of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. I've never lived in a better city with better, friendlier people. I'll miss them very much.”
Rex Rutkoski, a staff writer for Trib Total Media, can be reached at 724-226-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Kesler remains on Penguins’ radar as Shero looks bring back ‘Big 3’ formula
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Pirates’ big risk with pitch-heavy draft focus might soon pay off
- Manufacturing course opens Knoch students’ eyes
- Penguins GM Shero’s deadline deals: Addition by subtraction
- Ex-Colts executive Polian: Approach free agency with caution
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Penguins minor league report: Defenseman Dumoulin optimistic for home stretch
- Fashion essentials: Pittsburgh’s style watchers tell what they can’t live without
- IUP students have raucous early St. Patrick’s Day celebration