Larry Mendte

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Larry Mendte
Born (1957-01-16) January 16, 1957 (age 57)
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation American television commentator and news anchor
Years active 1979–present
Notable credit(s) Access Hollywood, WABC-TV, New York, WBBM-TV, Chicago, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, KYW-TV, Philadelphia, KJWP, Wilmington, Delaware
Spouse(s) Dawn Stensland-Mendte, 2000-present
Children Stacia, Jonathan, Michael and David

Larry Mendte (born January 16, 1957) is an American news anchor and commentator and American news anchor. Until recently Mendte wrote and delivered nightly commentaries at WPIX in New York City that were aired at TV stations across the country. Mendte was the first male host of the American syndicated television show Access Hollywood. His nightly commentaries air on TV stations across the country. From 2003 to mid-2008, he was the lead anchor of the 6pm and 11pm newscasts for KYW-TV (Channel 3), the CBS O&O in Philadelphia. After nearly two decades in last place, Mendte led the station to compete with first place WPVI-TV (Channel 6).[1] KYW lured Mendte away from WCAU-TV (Channel 10), where he had anchored the 4, 6 and 11 pm newscasts and led the station to win the news ratings for the first time in 30 years.[2]

Biography[edit]

Born and raised in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, he attended St. Philomena Catholic School elementary school. During this time he began delivering the Philadelphia Bulletin. Mendte graduated from Monsignor Bonner High School in nearby Drexel Hill. In 2003, Mendte was inducted into the high school's Hall of Fame. He earned a B.A. in Communications from West Chester University and was named a distinguished alumnus. After giving a commencement address in 2006, Mendte was awarded to President's Medal for Service in recognition of his community work.[3]

Career[edit]

From 1984 to 1988 he was a weekend anchor on WABC, as well as fill-in sports anchor. He anchored the news and was an investigative reporter at WBBM in Chicago from 1991 to 1995. While at WBBM, Mendte's series of reports on school bus safety resulted in a new state law. Mendte won a record 27 Emmy Awards in Chicago and was twice named Best reporter by the Illinois Associated Press. He anchored the news at WCMH in Columbus, Ohio, WLYH in Lebanon, Pennsylvania (where he also did the sportscast), WTAJ in Altoona and KIEM in Eureka, California.

Mendte was a weather personality at San Diego's KFMB and also performed stand-up comedy in Southern California comedy clubs. Mendte wrote and produced a humor commentary feature called "How Come?" for the Paramount Studios syndicated program Hard Copy. Mendte was the first male host of Access Hollywood when the show debuted in 1996. He co-hosted Monday through Friday with Giselle Fernández and also co-hosted the weekend edition with future weekday host Nancy O'Dell. Mendte debuted "Access Hollywood" on September 9, 1996 with the words "Hello everyone, I'm Larry Mendte and this is Access Hollywood."[4]

Returning home[edit]

Mendte left Access Hollywood in 1997 to return to Philadelphia and become the main anchor of WCAU (Channel 10)'s newscasts, including the 4 pm, 6pm and 11 pm programs, with the 4 pm show being the first on at that time in the market. He also created and hosted the Sunday morning news talk program Live at Issue. During his time at WCAU the 11 pm newscast outrated market leader WPVI (Channel 6) for the first time since the 1970s.

Anchoring at KYW[edit]

Mendte joined KYW in 2003 after being wooed from WCAU. KYW launched a massive "Make the Switch" promotional campaign when Mendte arrived. The idea for the campaign was Mendte's. He also helped reformat the newscast and introduced the "walking anchor" to KYW that he was famous for at WCAU. KYW's ratings immediately jumped with Mendte in the main seat with Alycia Lane co-anchoring, and within a year the station would overtake WCAU at 11 pm and 6 pm for second place. Lane was later fired in December 2007 after being charged with a felony for assaulting a female police officer in New York.[5] Mendte then anchored solo for a short time before being teamed with Susan Barnett, but Mendte was fired in June 2008 after an investigation revealed he accessed Lane's email accounts.[6]

Commentary for Tribune[edit]

In February 2010 Mendte returned to television with a nightly commentary on current events, originating from Tribune Broadcasting's WPIX in New York.[7] This segment is also seen on WPHL-TV's 10 pm newscast (which is formerly produced by NBC's WCAU, a former employer of Mendte), WGN-TV in Chicago and several other Tribune and Local TV-owned stations across the country.[8]

In June 2010, Mendte aired the first of several commentaries urging Congress to pass the 9/11 First Responders Health and Compensation Bill. Six months later when the bill was passed, Mendte was given several award from 9/11 First Responders organizations, including 2011 Humanitarian Award from the New York Fire Department's Columbia Association.[9]

In 2011,[10] 2012[11] 2013,[12] and 2014,[13] all four years he was eligible, Mendte won the New York regional Emmy award for Outstanding Commentary/Editorialist[14] and a total of 7 Emmys during his time at WPIX. Aside from the four Emmys for Outstanding Commentary/Editorialist, Mendte won in 2011 and 2014 for Outstanding Writer for his commentaries and for Outstanding Speciality Reporting in 2014 for his series of commentaries on the media.

Anchoring at WPIX[edit]

Mendte co-anchored with Kaity Tong pn the day that Hurricane Sandy pounded the New York City area. For the next ten days, he co-anchored an extended 5 and 10 PM newscast at WPIX with Jodi Applegate. Mendte solo anchored the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and then co-anchored 12 hours straight with Tamsen Fadel as Boston Police killed one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in a shootout and later captured his brother and second suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Trip to Libya[edit]

In April 2011 Mendte was the only journalist to travel with former Congressman Curt Weldon on a peace mission to end the conflict in Libya.[15] It was promoted that Weldon would meet with Muammar Gaddafi and that Mendte may get an interview. But Gaddafi reportedly cancelled a face to face meeting after Weldon's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times ran on the same day as the scheduled meeting. But Weldon did return with direct communication between the Iraqi Prime Minister to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the promise that four detained journalists would be freed.[16]

Philadelphia magazine[edit]

Mendte is a contributor to the online version of Philadelphia Magazine.[17] Mendte's commentary on the drowning death of his niece stands as one of the most read columns ever on the site.[18] Mendte occasionally writes for the print version of the magazine including a feature article on his life after he was let go by KYW.[19]

IQ 106.9 FM[edit]

Mendte made his return to the Philadelphia air waves on May 7, 2012 with the debut of WWIQ.[20] Mendte started with the station as co-host of the morning drive from 5 am to 9 am with radio veteran Al Gardner, who is originally from Philadelphia and anchored the same format at WBT in Charlotte, N.C.[21] Mendte provided commentary on news events in a format that is a mixture of talk and news. Mendte started solo hosting a talk show from 8:30 until 9 in July 2012. On October 1, 2012, Mendte's was expanded from 8:30 to 10 am. On the new show, Mendte broke the national story of the high school student who was bullied for wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt to class.[22]

On December 31, 2012, Mendte was fired,[23] claiming his tenure there was 'a big experiment'. The dismissal of Mendte only fueled speculation that the radio station was up for sale.[24] After Mendte's firing, the station's ratings dropped in half from a 3.6 rating in November to 1.8 in January.[25] In August 2013 it was announced that Merlin was selling the station to Educational Media Foundation.[26]

KJWP[edit]

In late June of 2014, Mendte was hired by KJWP, a move-in television station to the Delaware Valley market which carries the Me-TV network and is licensed to Wilmington, Delaware, with a commitment to serve the state of Delaware, which has traditionally been under-served by Philadelphia-based media outlets. He will serve as the station's public affairs director and host two programs for the station which will launch their local programming efforts. Airing on Saturday nights before primetime, they are The Delaware Way, a week-in-review rundown of state issues, and ...And Another Thing, a more general news and commentary program which will likely feature Mendte's traditional commentary segments.[27]

WABC Radio[edit]

In June 2014, Mendte was hired by WABC (AM) radio[28] in New York City to host a Sunday Night talk show called "The Larry Mendte Show." He also fills in frequently for Gerald Rivera and Curtis Sliwa during the week.[29]

Guilty plea[edit]

On August 22, 2008, Mendte pled guilty to the charge of intentionally accessing his co-anchor Alycia Lane's email account without authorization.[30] The US Attorney's Office had charged Mendte with unauthorized access on July 21, 2008, alleging in their indictment that Mendte had accessed Lane's email accounts hundreds of times.[31] Mendte read a statement and acknowledged having had an "improper relationship" with Lane. He said that he ended the relationship and it "quickly turned into a personal feud" and that a vengeful Lane was attempting to get him fired.[32] On November 24, 2008, Mendte received a sentence of 3 years probation (later reduced), including 6 months home confinement and 150 hours of community service.[33] Federal Judge Mary A. McLaughlin ended Mendte's probation and all other sentencing requirements.

Mendte has continued to fight the felony conviction on several grounds. In a court filing, Mendte claims that the U.S. Attorney promised a misdemeanor charge in return for his cooperation. Mendte and his attorney agreed to a proffer wherein Mendte told investigators the entire story. However, they claim that the US Attorney informed them weeks later that they were going back on the deal and charging Mendte with a felony. In his post-sentence motion, Mendte's lawyer claimed his client's civil rights had been violated. The filing accuses then-U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan of changing the deal so he could hold a news conference to launch his political career. The filing details a purported early morning phone call wherein Meehan "beg[ged]" Mendte's attorney for a guilty plea before Meehan left office so that Meehan could make a "policy statement". The case is now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[34]

Honors[edit]

Mendte received acclaim for a series of reports he did on the Eternal Flame, a tribute to American veterans, in Philadelphia's historic Washington Square. Mendte highlighted the flame's failing infrastructure, forcing the city to take action to repair the natural gas line which provided the flame's fuel and relight it. His efforts were read into the Congressional record by U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA).[35] Mendte was also honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award in the writing category for his reports on the Eternal Flame and a report on the Iraq War. He received a national Edward R. Murrow Award in 2008 for a report he wrote and produced about a soldier from Delaware, Stephen McGowan, who died in Iraq.[36]

In 2006, Mendte was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame. Mendte has over 80 Regional Emmy Awards from the New York, San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphia markets, and holds the record in several categories in Philadelphia and Chicago. In Philadelphia, he has won a record 4 Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Anchor category and seven in various writing categories. In 2007, Mendte was named as one of the 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians by the Philadelphia Daily News in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles 75th anniversary.[37]

Family[edit]

Mendte is married to Dawn Stensland,[38] the former 10 pm news co-anchor at Fox's WTXF (Channel 29), since 2001. She came to Philadelphia in 1997 as an anchor for KYW, then anchored CBS News Saturday Morning for a year and a half. In the 1990s, she was an anchor and reporter at WBBM in Chicago, Illinois, and WKYC in Cleveland, Ohio. Together, they have two children, both sons; Michael was born in 2004, and David was born in 2006. In addition, Mendte has two adult children, Stacia and Jonathan, from a previous marriage.

Filmography[edit]

Mendte appeared in three movies in cameo roles: Primary Colors, Shadow of Doubt, and Snipes. He wrote and directed four short documentaries. Ben Franklin: Stealing Lightning from the Sky aired across the country on Benjamin Franklin's birthday in 2006. The documentary questioned whether Franklin really did conduct his famous kite experiment. Later that year Mendte wrote and directed Alex Scott: A Stand for Hope, a short documentary about Alex Scott, founder of Alex's Lemonade Stand. Alex Scott: A Stand for Hope won the award for Best Documentary at the Reno, Oxford, Danville, West Chester, Lake Arrowhead and Reel Award film Festivals. Mendte was named best Pennsylvania Filmmaker for 2006 at the West Chester Film Festival.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WPVI No Longer Invincible Channel 10 Takes Lead In 11 P.m. Newscast", Philadelphia Daily News, March 1, 2001
  2. ^ "Larry Mendte to join Eyewitness News Team at CBS3 Philadelphia", PR Newswire, June 5, 2003
  3. ^ Honors and Award|West Chester university Graduate Catalog|2011–2012
  4. ^ "1996 "Access Hollywood" Debut/Giselle Fernandez-Larry Mendte". YouTube. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  5. ^ Glemobocki, Vicki (January 2008). "The Very Public Self-Destruction of Alycia Lane". Philadelphia. 
  6. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (2008-08-22). "Television anchor Larry Mendte to plead in e-mail hacking case". Abclocal.go.com. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  7. ^ New York Daily News report on Mendte's position at Channel 11
  8. ^ Blogsite
  9. ^ FDNY Web site
  10. ^ "New York Emmy Awards" list of 2011 winners
  11. ^ "New York Emmy Awards" list of 2012 winners
  12. ^ "New York Emmy Awards" list of 2013 winners
  13. ^ "New York Emmy Awards" list of 2014 winners
  14. ^ Huff, Richard (April 2, 2012). "MSG Network scores big with 14 New York Emmys". Daily News. 
  15. ^ "Mendte in Libya". New York: WPIX. April 4, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2010. [dead link]
  16. ^ Mendte, Larry (April 11, 2011). "Larry Mendte: My Trip to Libya". Philadelphia. Retrieved April 14, 2008. [dead link]
  17. ^ Mendte, Larry. "Larry Mendte's Columns". Philadelphia Magazine (Philadelphia: Metrocorp). 
  18. ^ Mendte, Larry. "18 Seconds". Philadelphia Magazine (Philadelphia: Metrocorp). 
  19. ^ Mendte, Larry. "Life After It Happened". Philadelphia Magazine (Philadelphia: Metrocorp). 
  20. ^ "Life After It Happened". All Access. 
  21. ^ Washburn, Mark (December 9, 2011). "WBT-AM losing voice of Al Gardner". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  22. ^ Mendte, Larry. "How the Romney T-Shirt Girl Story went viral". Philadelphia. 
  23. ^ Gross, Dan (January 4, 2013). "Larry Mendte gets his talking papers from IQ 106.9". articles.philly.com. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ Mendte, Larry (January 3, 2013). "Larry Mendte Out at IQ 106.9, Has 'No Regrets'". Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ "#8 Philadelphia PA". ratings.radio-online.com. February 13, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Confirmed: Merlin sells IQ 106.9 Philadelphia to EMF". All Access Magazine. 
  27. ^ Eichel, Molly (3 July 2014). "Larry Mendte back on TV". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Larry Mendte Joins WABC". RadioInsight. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Larry Mendte WABC Bio". WABC Radio. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  30. ^ Lounsberry, Emily (August 22, 2008). "Mendte pleads guilty". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 22, 2008. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Larry Mendte's Indictment in its Entirety". Philly.com. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  32. ^ Statement of Larry Mendte|Philadelphia Inquirer|07/21/2008
  33. ^ Lounsberry, Emily (December 29, 2008). "Mendte pleads guilty". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 20, 2008. [dead link]
  34. ^ Wood, Sam (March 26, 2010). "Mendte pleads guilty". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 26, 2010. [dead link]
  35. ^ Congressional Record, Volume 151-Part 19: November 8, 2005 to November 16, 2005 (Pages 25297 to 26552). U.S. Government Printing Office. January 2010. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-16-084874-2. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  36. ^ RTNDA Website
  37. ^ Temple University
  38. ^ Glemobocki, Vicki (January 24, 2009). "Dawn's Dark Days". Philadelphia. Retrieved January 24, 2009. 
  39. ^ Past Award Winner|West Chester Film Festival|2006

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
none
Host of Access Hollywood with Giselle Fernández
1996–1997
Succeeded by
Pat O'Brien with Giselle Fernández
Preceded by
Ken Matz & Renee Chenault-Fattah
NBC10 4pm, 6pm & 11pm NBC 10 anchor
1997 – 2003 with Renee Chenault-Fattah
Succeeded by
Tim Lake & Renee Chenault-Fattah
Preceded by
Marc Howard
CBS 3 6pm & 11pm Eyewitness news anchor
2003 – 2008 (with Alycia Lane) 12/2008 – 1/2008 (solo anchor) 2/2008 – 6/2008 (with Susan Barnett)
Succeeded by
Chris May & Susan Barnett