John Discepolo Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite class has to be Intro to Television Broadcasting with my favorite professor – Nancy Kaplan.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job after graduating from Hofstra was working as a DJ (doing weddings, proms, high school dances, etc).
The first real gig I got after Hofstra was hosting a weekly high school football show on a local cable access channel. I had to write, shoot, edit, do graphics, anchor, and even sell ad time to make the show work. I got paid a $100 a week … and thought, “this is the life!” LOL! But it taught me to be hungry and to never give up on what I truly love to do.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty is anchoring television news and sports. I started out actually at Hofstra… as a radio DJ on WRHU. From there it progressed to doing radio sports … and from there to Hofstra Television. I came to work in the industry through sheer perseverance. I knew I wanted to work in television and knew I wanted to follow this career and this life-style, and I just never gave up.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Work hard and don’t ever let ANYONE tell you, you can’t make it.
Just because they might not have the strength to pursue their dreams, doesn’t mean you can’t. As Nancy Kaplan once taught me – and these are words I still live by today:
“There is no such thing as luck – especially in TV. Luck is opportunity meeting up with preparation.”
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
You have an extensive career history, what made you decide to move from the news stations in New York to Seattle? And Seattle to West Palm Beach?
Well, I never wanted to move from New York. I loved working and living in New York, but sometimes your career path can take you in a very different direction, due to decisions made by bosses and management. I worked in New York – doing sports – for eight years. However, when I left CBS 2, I was presented with an opportunity to do news. Unfortunately for me, it was 3,000 miles away in Seattle. Now most people would not have taken that job. But I looked at it as an opportunity to learn news and to re-invent myself. I took a job as the weekend news anchor at KOMO 4 (ABC) in Seattle and was there for roughly two and a half years. However, I realized that at my station in Seattle, I couldn’t go any higher. If I wanted to be a main anchor, I had to move. Luckily for me, a station in West Palm Beach, Florida saw my work, offered me a job as the main anchor, and that’s how I wound up at WPEC CBS 12.
What are some of the benefits of being a news anchor?
The biggest benefit of being a news anchor is that you’re always connected to what’s going on in your community. You’re constantly seeing how the world is changing. Every day is a new challenge and no two days are the same. That’s why I love this job.
What’s been your favorite story to cover and why?
My favorite stories to cover will always be breaking news – from elections, to hurricanes, to stories where there is no real script.
You have a basic idea of what’s going on, but it’s the pictures and images that the viewer is seeing on screen, and you have to ad lib and go off that and fill them in. Those are really the best stories to cover.
A Massachusetts native, John Discepolo anchored sports for nearly a decade in New York at WCBS-TV and WNYW-TV, where he also served as sideline reporter for the NFL's New York Jets and New York Giants. He began his broadcast career as a reporter and weekend sports anchor at NEWS 12 in Yonkers, New York, and at WRGB-TV in Albany, New York. Discepolo joined CBS12 News, in West Palm Beach, Florida, in September 2012 as co-anchor of CBS12 News at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. He was previously a weekend news anchor at KOMO-TV in Seattle, where he was noted for excelling in live news coverage since 2010. Discepolo played football as a kicker and punter for Hofstra alongside former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet. In his spare time, John loves to travel, play hockey, and is passionate about home construction, design and airplanes.