Pat Ciarrocchi, Respected News Journalist for KYW-TV and Co-Host of Talk Philly, Stays True to Wilmington Roots
First lady of Philly news: Newscaster Pat Ciarrocchi got her start in Wilmington. She remains strongly connected to the city
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Pat Ciarrocchi breezes into the Philadelphia office of Joanne Calabria, vice president for public affairs at CBS television, a floppy rain hat low over her eyes, her raincoat slightly damp from a mid-winter drizzle.
Sweeping her hands from head to foot, the 60-year-old newscaster calls attention to her look—no makeup, flat shoes, casual clothes—and announces: “This is the Patti Ciarrocchi from Wilmington.” Later, in the sparsely furnished dressing area at KYW-TV, she will style her blonde hair, apply makeup, change into a flattering red dress and be transformed into Pat Ciarrocchi, respected television journalist who has been on the airwaves of Philadelphia’s KYW-TV for 31 years.
During those three decades, she has served stints as medical reporter, early morning news anchor and co-host for “Evening Magazine,” and has handled reporting assignments that have taken her across the country and from Great Britain to Israel to the Vatican. In 2000, she earned recognition for her influence in the broadcast field with induction into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.
In addition to serving as a daytime news anchor and reporter, Ciarrocchi co-hosts the noontime news and lifestyle program “Talk Philly” with Ukee Washington, whom she calls “my brother from another mother.”
Ciarrocchi and Washington, a Brandywine Hundred resident, have worked together off and on for 27 years, and they have an easy rapport that audiences love. “We know each other so well that we finish each other’s sentences,” Washington says. He suggests that their similar backgrounds create chemistry: “We were both raised in working-class families that put a strong emphasis on family and education.”
It’s a hectic day at the studio—much more so than usual. Washington has taken the afternoon off, and just minutes before “Talk Philly” is scheduled to go live, the crew learns that President Obama has called a news conference for noon, pre-empting local broadcasts. Ciarrocchi remains on set, ready to go on air at a moment’s notice if the press conference ends early, as it does. At 12:20 p.m., the president has concluded, and Ciarrocchi finishes up the last few minutes of the day’s “Talk Philly” broadcast.
Promptly sliding out of her seat at the news desk, she heads to the living-room section of the “Talk Philly” set to greet guests who have come to record a segment that will air the following week.
Then it’s off to another studio to anchor her second live broadcast of the day, a breaking news report about a kidnapping investigation. All is going as planned with the broadcast, until the script on the teleprompter changes abruptly. Not only that, the machine goes haywire, the words scrolling up and down repeatedly. Ciarrocchi stays cool, deftly transitioning from one topic to the next and winding up the report as the camerawoman counts down three, two and one on her fingers.