Ray Hershel is the dean of Western Massachusetts television journalists. He’s been a broadcast journalist in Springfield for 40 years.
After graduating from Emerson College, Ray began his career April 15, 1968 at WHYN radio in Springfield as a news reporter and writer. Shortly after, he shifted gears and concentrated on television news, joining the abc40 team.
In his first year as a television reporter in 1973, Ray won United Press International’s Tom Phillips first place award for his poignant report on the return of POW’s from Vietnam to Westover Air Force Base.
Over the years Ray has amassed numerous Associated Press and United Press International awards for excellence in television reporting. Ray’s reporting has taken him to all parts of the world. In 1983 he went to the Middle East with an interfaith group from Western Massachusetts.
He produced an award winning 10-part news series and documentary entitled “The Holyland an Interfaith Perspective.” In 1984 Ray’s documentary “Going for the Gold” won both local and national recognition. The documentary highlighted the achievements of the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics team in the summer games in Los Angeles and featured hometown hero Tim Daggett of West Springfield.
Ray has also given back to the community. As a member of the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of Western Massachusetts Ray had a unique look at the needs of the physically disabled. His 1984 reports on the International Games for the Disabled also won him awards for excellence in television reporting. He also co-hosted the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon on abc40 for 15 years.
Ray Hershel is also abc40’s chief political reporter. Over the years he has covered the visits to Massachusetts of seven different US Presidents. They included Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
During the Persian Gulf War, Ray reported live from Washington during a critical week in the war. Ray’s reports included live interviews with Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry. Ray also reported live from our nation’s capitol during the Clinton crisis over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Ray has also covered several national political conventions beginning with the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. He also brought abc40 viewers the excitement of Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis’ run for president in 1988 with his live reports from the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta as well as live reports from the Democratic National Convention in 2004 in which Senator John Kerry received his party’s nomination for president.
Ray has also reported on the humanitarian missions of Westover Air Reserve Base by traveling to flood ravaged Honduras as well as Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany to document the work by local reservists in treating injured military personnel from the war in Iraq.
Ray was also aboard a C-5 Cargo plane when it airlifted refugees from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
In 1993, Mr. Hershel was inducted as a charter member into the New England Emmy’s Silver Circle. This prestigious award is given to members of the television industry who have worked in the business for at least 25 years. In addition those individuals must have excelled in the quality of their professional work and also must have made significant contributions to their respective communities.
In April of 2006, Mr. Hershel was recognized as a pioneer in the field of broadcast journalism by receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Emerson College and the Radio-Television News Directors’ Association.
Ray Hershel is the most experienced reporter in this market and gives abc40 knowledge of the people of Western Massachusetts that can not be equaled.
Ray is a native of Western Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Chicopee High School and Emerson College in Boston.
Ray and his wife Maureen who is a registered nurse live in West Springfield. They have three children and one grandchild. Ray’s daughter Maura and her husband John Calhoun live in Chicopee. Maura is a high school English teacher in the Springfield Public School system at the Springfield Academy for Excellence. His other daughter Sarah is a registered Physical Therapist working at the University of California at San Diego’s Burn and Trauma Unit. Ray’s son Daniel and his wife Beth live in Burlington, Vermont. Dan is a high school English teacher in Barre, Vermont.