SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — All of us at ABC40 and FOX 6 are proud to announce that tonight, our very own Dave Madsen will be receiving the prestigious Silver Circle Award.
The award, given by the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, recognizes television professionals who have worked 25 years or more in the industry, as well as making significant contributions on-air and in the community as a mentor, educator, and volunteer.
From the earliest age, all Dave Madsen wanted to do was work in radio or television. Dave’s 42 year career began when he was 19 years old, working part time at WMAS radio in Springfield and WHMP in Northampton.
He was a disc jockey, newsman, sports commentator, and pretty much anything else. While in radio, he began working behind the scenes at WWLP Channel 22, running camera and audio.
That association led to a call in 1979. Channel 22 had an opening for a news anchor and the station manager thought of Dave.
He auditioned and got the job, making the move to television.
In 1991, he stepped away from his television career to take a job as Public Relations Manager with Friendly Ice Cream. As Dave often says of that time, “the ice cream was great, but I was bored out of my mind.”
That experiment failed and lasted less than six months and Dave was back in television with his former competitors and his home for nearly the last twenty years, WGGB-TV.
Dave is as well known in the community as he is on television. He’s been a longtime member of the Jimmy Fund Council of Western New England, receiving the Jimmy Award for his lifelong commitment to the fight against cancer in children.
He received the President’s Award from the western Mass. chapter of the American Association of Fundraising, and Dave has emceed literally hundreds of charity events in the area.
Dave’s passion in television easily flows into the classroom. Dave has been an adjunct instructor at UMass since 2000. He teaches a Broadcast Journalism course where his students cover stories for the campus television station.
“He’s a guy who I’ve known in a few different capacities over the years. First of all, I took his class in college, I helped T.A. a class. I was an intern with Dave. Dave was a big cheerleader of mine, even back then. I remember when I was a reporter, Dave was the first guy to say ‘let me help you with that story,’ says Kori Chambers, an anchor and reporter at WFLD-TV in Chicago.
abc40 and FOX 6′s Mike LaCrosse adds, “I had Dave as a professor at UMass. He taught me everything I know. Then, I became an intern here and then I got to come on as an intern again and I have been here since. It was kind of weird at first because and I still look up to him, I still look up to him and its kind of like hes still my teacher and Im always looking to impress him, I dont want to let him down, especially when I was a producer, I wanted everything right, I wanted Dave to approve.”
Any young journalist who has ever worked with Dave will say that he never stops teaching. He is always the mentor who helps the staff develop their craft.
“Dave was great. Dave was always there to build up my confidence. You know when you’re a young guy and you start out doubting yourself, I’d always go into Dave’s office, you know, he was always very, very helpful,” says Duke Castiglione, sports anchor at WNYW-TV in New York City.
“It was almost like learning without having to be taught. Sitting next to someone who is so good and so natural at it. The more you sit next to them and pay attention, the more you develop that same way of talking. Dave was my teacher, sitting next to him, he’s been my mentor,” says abc40 and FOX 6′s Shannon Hegy.
Over the years, viewers in western Massachusetts have looked to Dave for some of the most significant events of their lives.
He was on the air when the Jahn Foundry exploded, leaving workers dead and a small community in shock.
Dave told countless stories of our troops heading from Westover Air Reserve Base to war and some, not returning.
On the morning of September 11th, Dave was keeping our viewers up to date with how these historic events were affecting our community. He stayed on the anchor desk from shortly after the first tower was hit through the 11:00 p.m. news.
On June 1st, a massive tornado touched ground in the heart of downtown Springfield. The tornado left a path of destruction that western Mass. had never thought was possible. Thousands of people ran to their televisions. Only moments after touchdown, it was Dave who was telling people to run for cover.
“People were watching Dave and because they were watching, they knew to run for cover. I can honestly say he helped save lives that day. If it wasn’t for him and the ability to do what he more peoples would have gotten hurt and seriously injured,” says Kathleen Jacob, executive producer at abc40 and FOX 6.
“I don’t think there is another anchor out there that has the capability that Dave does to talk to adlib and to connect with the audience, especially if its an emergency situation,” adds Jacob.
Dave has a personality that lights up a newsroom. His involvement with the M.D.A. Telethon and the Jimmy Fund and countless other local charities has given people a glimpse of his less serious side. However, those who have worked with him the longest, know his sense of humor the best.
abc40 and FOX 6′s Scott Coen says, “People dont realize, Dave Madsen’s alter ego is David Letterman. Dave thinks hes David Letterman. Everything from wearing light colored socks to the space in his teeth. He wishes he had his own little variety show that he can tell jokes all of the time because here on the set, it’s just one one-liner after the other.”
Chambers adds, “As passionate as he is about the news, he always keeps things in perspective. His favorite saying is, “this isn’t rocket science, this is news. We’re telling a story. Just tell the story. When you keep that perspective, you’re just really able to do some great things.”
Dave has been a leader, a mentor, and a friend to all of us over the years. He has taught lessons that will stay with reporters, producers, and photographers for their entire careers.
For that, Dave Madsen is truly deserving of the Silver Circle.