Hoist The Anchors

Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm
By: Doug Lund
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No matter where we are in the country, it’s always fun to turn on the TV and see a familiar face anchoring the news. It’s happened several times this past year as Linda and I have had a chance to explore a wide swath of the good ol’ USA.

anchor irvin

Right here in Phoenix, Steve Irvin is the main anchorman on channel 15, the ABC affiliate. I remember when Steve came to work for Keloland as a reporter back in the nineties. Steve was clearly talented and great at investigative stories. But Steve was also self confident to a fault and would often get into arguments with the assignment editor and producers about any changes to his stories or about covering stories he thought were beneath him. Because he was so serious about his career, we made it our goal in life to tease him incessantly to get him to lighten up. Somebody in the newsroom came up with the nickname, “Astro” which was a reference to the dog on “The Jetsons” but I won’t go into further detail. Steve got a shot at anchoring at Keloland and was a natural. He’s now one of the most recognized faces in Maricopa County and I think I actually saw him crack a smile on the air the other night. Good goin’ Astro!

anchors bachman

Last summer when we were in South Carolina I saw another Keloland alumnus on the ABC affiliate in Atlanta. John Bachman, who worked for six years at Keloland, is the weekend anchor at Atlanta’s ABC affiliate and the main fill-in on weekdays. John is following in his father’s footsteps, John Bachman Sr., who has been the main news anchor at W.H.O. in Des Moines since 1987.  But young John has always been determined to make good on his own merit. I most remember his enthusiasm and affable personality and wondered if he could handle the tough stories..which he could. Viewers loved him on the air as I’m sure they do in Georgia. John is married and daddy to three little girls.

In Sacramento, California last September, we caught my old friend, Dale Schornack on the air on channel 10. Dale is an Aberdeen native who came to Keloland News in the 80’s and was an immediate sensation. His good looks and deep voice were automatic attention getters with viewers but they soon discovered the depths of his reporting and anchoring talents too.

anchor shornack

On top of that he’s a genuinely nice guy. Even though we became good friends during his time at the station, I couldn’t help but be a little bit relieved when he moved on..fearing he’d have my job if he stayed much longer. After stops in Dallas, Phoenix and Seattle, Dale Schornack has found a home in Sacramento where he’s the main anchorman for all primetime weekday newscasts.

It’s been 20 years since Julie Francavilla and I shared the anchor desk on the Keloland Early News at 5, yet people still remember her sunny personality and Mediterranean good looks. 

anchor julie francavilla

I’m often asked what became of her. Well, I’m happy to report that she has been in Seattle for the last 15 years anchoring the morning television newscasts, most recently at KIRO TV. She is married with two children and is involved with numerous charities and volunteer organizations.

I’m also often asked about Lexy Hickok who reported news and weather for Keloland in the 90’s. After she left, Lexy became a full time weather forecaster and worked at several stations around the country including Washington D.C. The last I heard she was at WMAR in Baltimore but that was several years ago. She’s since pretty much dropped off the map. Someone said she might be back in Mankato but no longer on television. That would be too bad because she was very good.

anchor raguseFinally, many of you remember Lou Raguse, a bright young Minnesota  boy who came to Keloland in the mid 2000’s. He was my pod mate in the newsroom with a brilliant mind for digging up and reporting stories. His only flaw was being nervous as a Lutheran at the Playboy mansion whenever he had to go on the air. Well, it didn’t take long for him to overcome those anxieties because when he left Keloland it was to become the evening news anchorman at Fox 11 in Tucson. Lou is also a newly wed and another of us who cling to the dream of a Minnesota Viking Super Bowl victory before we take the big dirt nap.

Perhaps for you, Lou. I don’t think there’s enough time for me.

Does Los Angeles Vikings sound as odd as Los Angeles Lakers once did?

12 Comments

  1. Lou Raguse says:

    Hey Doug, thanks for including me on your blog post! I miss you and KELOLAND. And I’m really hoping the deflating dome will be the push the Vikings need to get that new stadium built. I talked to a lot of people who attended the game at TCF Stadium who had a blast outdoors.

  2. Carol says:

    Wow, Doug, I’m surprised to be writing you this often, but was so thrilled to read your most recent column about former KELO newspersons, of whom I remember most of them, and my darling husband especially remembers Julie Francavilla and Lexy Hickok (remember the nickname “Sexy Lexy”?)
    We”ve often talked about whatever happened to them. I can’t wait to tell him–he’s in Florida right now, golfing. Ha!

  3. Crawford T. says:

    I remember Julie, glad she’s well.

    And yes I also recall Lexy along with the nickname.

  4. "Fred" says:

    Wow, some faces from the past!
    Keep the posts coming Doug, I miss your writing.

    I’ll never forget “Astro”, “Jr.” and Frenchvanilla.

    - Scott

  5. Thank you for the shout out, Doug! I will always treasure our time together on the anchor desk at KELOLAND TV.

    My co-anchor on KIRO 7, Chris Egert is a South Dakota native and a gem, so my luck continues with good South Dakota news partners!

    All the best to you and all of our friends in KELOLAND! Fondly, Julie

  6. Tim says:

    What ever happened to Fairfax native Fred Ertz?

  7. Hemmingsen says:

    L.A. Vikings, right now, doesn’t sound anymore far-fetched than the Dallas North Stars, now the Stars. Maybe they’ll be the L.A. “Kings.”

  8. Doug Lund says:

    Fred lives in Texas and is what we used to call a news consultant..helping local news organizations improve ratings and sales through various suggested strategies. Here’s his personal bio:Fred makes his home in Grapevine, Texas with his wife, Stephanie and two children and “Duke” their Golden Retriever. When he is not spending time with his family, he travels, enjoys hunting and fishing, and coaches just about anything. He is the first to admit he has a great life!

    You can reach Fred Ertz at fertz@ar-d.com or 817.233.6096.

  9. m platt says:

    Hey Doug. Don’t know if you know it but Steve Irwin’s co-anchor has roots in South Dakota. Katie Raml comes from the Watertown area. Great young lady. She is named after her grandmother. My late wife is her aunt. We enjoy watching Katie and Steve.

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