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Veteran Local Broadcaster Erv Coppi Featured on WSIU-TV

For Immediate Release
Monday, November 21, 2011

Contact:  Jak Tichenor, Senior TV Producer, WSIU Public Television, (618) 453-6187, jak.tichenor@wsiu.org;
Monica Tichenor, Promotions Coordinator, WSIU Public Broadcasting, (618) 453-6160, monica.tichenor@wsiu.org;
Erv Coppi, former WSIU-TV Public Information Officer and Broadcaster, (618) 984-4425

Carbondale, Ill. -- WSIU Public Television, a public media arm of Southern Illinois University, will broadcast a special edition of their weekly local series WSIU InFocus featuring veteran WSIU broadcaster and personality Erv Coppi, this Friday, November 25 at 7:30pm on WSIU-TV's primary HD channels, WSIU-TV 8.1 and WUSI-TV 16.1.

The program will repeat on WSIU-TV's main channels on Sunday, November 27 at 12:30pm & 11:30pm and again on Friday, December 2 at 5pm. Additional repeats are scheduled to air WSIU-TV's second digital channel, WSIU WORLD, on Saturday, November 26 at 4pm, Sunday, November 27 at 9pm, and Monday, November 28 at 8pm.

WSIU-TV senior producer Jak Tichenor conducts the interview with Coppi, which is airing as part of WSIU-TV's 50th anniversary celebration. WSIU-TV first signed on the air on November 6, 1961.

Coppi, a native of Royalton, Illinois, was affectionately known to generations of WSIU-TV viewers as "Uncle Erv." He began his broadcasting career at WFRX Radio in West Frankfort in 1951, and was a popular on-air personality on WGGH radio in Marion and WJPF in Herrin before joining WSIU-TV in 1969 as public information officer and program/pledge host.

At WSIU-TV, Coppi, a lifelong movie buff, became a household name throughout the region hosting the station's Movie Night broadcasts of Hollywood comedies, classic films, and the wildly popular horror movie nights. Coppi emceed countless pledge breaks to raise money for WSIU's operations and anchored coverage of the Murphysboro Apple Festival parades and other special events along with his co-host, the late Virginia Marmaduke. Coppi retired in 1993. 

The program features excerpts from Coppi's career including a sample of the The Egyptian Ballroom, a big band program on WGGH Radio that cleverly employed sound effects and phonograph records to create an imaginary ballroom for performances by Woody Herman, Les Brown, and other big-name acts of the era. Other clips show Coppi introducing It's a Wonderful Life, The Bride of Frankenstein, pledge breaks, and parade coverage.

About WSIU
WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University and is an integral part of the College of Mass Communication & Media Arts on the Carbondale campus. The WSIU stations reach more than three million people across five states and beyond through three digital public television channels, three public radio stations, a radio information service, a website, and an education and community outreach department.

WSIU's mission is to improve the quality of life of the people they serve. The WSIU stations partner with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Learn more and get the latest station news online at wsiu.org and on WSIU's Facebook and Twitter pages.

WSIU's programs and services are partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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Download Imiage 1: Longtime WSIU-TV personality Erv Coppi (right) hosts the 1985 WSIU-TV Festival pledge drive with Southern Illinois native Virginia Marmaduke (left), a former journalist for the Chicago Sun and Chicago Tribune and a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. Photo: WSIU Archives.

Download Image 2: Longtime WSIU-TV personality Erv Coppi (right) hosts the 1983 WSIU-TV Festival pledge drive with Southern Illinois native Virginia Marmaduke (left), a former journalist for the Chicago Sun and Chicago Tribune and a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. Joining them on the set is an SIU Saluki mascot and its handler (name unknown). Photo: WSIU Archives.

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