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Ernie Anastos Still Grabbing Headlines

There was an entertaining profile of WNYW New York lead anchor Ernie Anastos in the Metropolitan section of the NY Times Sunday. Anastos may be the best known anchor in DMA #1, after 32 years in the market, including stints at WABC, WCBS, WWOR and for the past five years the Fox affiliate.

Anastos recently re-upped for three years at over a million a year, reports Michael Wilson.

Inevitably the profile covers what Wilson terms Anastos’ “spectacular gaffe” from September 16, where a certain on-air malapropism inadvertently made Anastos a star well beyond the tri-state area, and overshadowed much of the work the guy has done for the last few decades. Anastos actually asks the reporter not to include the incident, which is a guaranteed way to get a NY Times reporter to mention in print what you don’t want them to mention.

He explains the malaprop’s origins: ”My grandmother, she would have a live chicken,” he said. “I would pluck the chicken. I would help her out.”

Fowl language aside, “The Importance of Being Ernie” is a fun look at a day in the life of the anchor/children’s book author/TV icon/YouTube star. Here’s one description of Anastos’ enduring appeal to viewers:

“Perfectly straightforward, sensible, easy, New York,” is how Richard Wald, a professor at Columbia Journalism School, described his appeal. “He knows the area, andhe looks as though he knows the area. There have been anchors who haven’t.”