The Youngstown Press Club is pleased to announce its 2022 Hall of Fame class, presented by Farmers National Bank.
The 2022 class includes Mahoning Valley media icons Ernie Brown, Peter Gabriel (posthumous), Tom Holden (posthumous) and Andrea Wood. Biographies for the 2022 inductees are below. The awards ceremony and dinner will take place Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 6 P.M. at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown.
Tickets are $50. Tables of eight are $400. Ticket information can be found at https://pressclub2022hof.eventbrite.com
“We’re excited to honor another impressive class with induction into the Press Club’s Hall of Fame,” said Adam Earnheardt, executive director. “Although the idea for a Hall of Fame was conceptualized a few years ago, it wasn’t until last year that we had the opportunity to induct our inaugural class.”
That inaugural class included Bob Black, Stan Boney, and Ralph Zerbonia.
“The Hall of Fame ceremony allows us to properly recognize members of our local media who have given so much to our community, professionals with exceptional media careers,” Earnheardt said.
Nominees for the Hall of Fame must have a minimum of 20 years professional media experience including journalism, public relations, advertising and writing. Nominees must have a connection to the Mahoning Valley region.
Contact Youngstown Press Club executive director Adam Earnheardt at 330-941-1845 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Ernie Brown is best known for his tenure as the regional editor for The Vindicator, Ohio’s eighth-largest daily newspaper, from 1986 to 2019, and as a reporter from 1976 to 1985. Before his decades-long service to Vindicator readers, Ernie was a junior high English teacher and adult basic education teacher with the Youngstown Board of Education, a student intern and general assignment radio reporter with WTVN Radio in Columbus, and a summer employee in the former forestry division of Ohio Edison, now FirstEnergy, in the early 70s.
An honors graduate of Youngstown’s East High School in 1970, Ernie went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Ohio State University in 1974 and, a year later, he earned a teaching certificate in English for grades seven through 12 from Youngstown State University.
Ernie has always been a community service-minded, serving as the former publicity co-chair for the Youngstown Chapter of the United Negro College Fund. He is also a former publicity co-chairman of the Youngstown Area March for Jesus, board member of the Youngstown Urban Minority Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Outreach Program (YUMADAOP), president of the William Swanston Charitable Fund board and member of Rising Star Baptist Church in Youngstown where her also serves as an elder.
Honored in 2016 by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Psi Omicron Chapter as its Person of the Year, Ernie has been honored by numerous other groups in the Valley, including Delta Sigma Theta Youngstown Alumnae Chapter for political awareness and involvement in 2015. He was named honorary co-chair of the first African-American Male Wellness Walk/Run and honored in 2012 for community service by the Ebony Lifeline Support Group.
Ernie and his wife, Cherrie (Ellis) have two children, Kevin M. Brown and Erin A. Brown. In his pastime, Ernie enjoys reading, golf, fantasy sports, listening to gospel music and smooth jazz.
Peter Gabriel (posthumous)
Peter “Pete” Gabriel’s broadcasting career began in the Armed Forces Radio and Television, while serving as an air policeman in the Azores. He was honorably discharged in 1959.
His radio career progressed through various stations in Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio, and Kansas City before settling in Youngstown, Ohio in 1978 with WKBN and the Williamson family.
His more than 26-year career with 570 WKBN included introducing the talk radio format to the valley in 1984, hiring some of the best-known voices to Youngstown (Dan Ryan, Dan Rivers, Ron Verb and Rich Morgan) while serving as operations manager. “Pete” also created one of the first mobile radio stations, Rollin’ Radio.
Pete loved his career, working many formats before stepping into the world of talk radio, where he was known for his friendly laughter and compassionate approach to callers. He enjoyed being involved in projects that benefited his community. One of his greatest community accomplishments was creating The Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade, now entering its 45th year.
He received many awards and recognition throughout his career including an induction into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1996. He retired from WKBN and WNIO in 2005, completing 48 years in radio broadcasting, radio management and advertising sales.
“Pete always exceeded expectations,” said Dan Rivers, 570 WKBN Talk Host. “He was great on the radio, but his best attribute may have been his calling as a personnel director. Pete was the manager that closed the deal to bring Dan Ryan to WKBN. Ryan was a staple on WBBW, but Pete convinced him to join the staff of WKBN. One hire changed the trajectory of the station.”
Pete passed away in August 2021. He is survived by his wife Sandy, three children, Wynne (Steve) Coleman, David (Missy) Gabriel and Lori (Mike) McGlone; five grandchildren, Gabby and Catie Coleman, and Jack, Maggie, and Michael McGlone.
Tom Holden (posthumous)
After whetting his appetite for broadcast news with radio news at WBBW Youngstown, Tom Holden joined WKBN-TV in 1972 as a reporter. He was named an anchor in 1974. From the 1970s until the early 2000s, Tom was the Valley’s media equivalent of Walter Cronkite. Welcomed into local homes every weeknight at six and eleven, Tom was the anchor most people turned to with confidence for news about their world.
His ratings were legendary. Tom was credible, respected and valued. His special series on the mob in the Mahoning Valley was so popular people clamored to purchase copies.
When the industry evolved to recognize the importance of female anchors, Tom welcomed the addition of his longtime co-anchor, Gina Marinelli. In fact, he and Marinelli were the longest-running team in Valley media history.
He wasn’t just esteemed by those who knew him from WKBN News, or earlier stints at local radio stations WBBW and WHOT. Those privileged to call Tom a coworker, mentor, teacher and friend still lament his untimely passing in June 2005 at age 67.
According to his colleagues and students, Tom “was the most charming man most of us ever met. He was the most famous person most of us knew intimately, but he never acted like he was above anyone.”
“Many of us met Tom at Youngstown State University, where for decades he was a favorite adjunct broadcast journalism professor,” said Michele Gatts, Tricia Perry and Marinelli in a letter to the selection committee.
An Army veteran, Tom had offers from bigger markets for bigger jobs. But he was a native son — a graduate of Wilson High School and Kent State University – who loved the Mahoning Valley. While people and companies may have abandoned the Valley, Tom did not. His levity and leadership helped the Valley navigate good times and bad.
His most important and favorite job was being the beloved dad to three sons. “Even if we didn’t see them often, we felt as if we knew Sean, Kevin and Tommy well because Tom spoke of them with joy,” his nominators wrote.
Andrea Wood was born and raised in Pittsburgh and earned a B.A. in political science from Penn State University. In 1974, she became the first newswoman at WYTV Channel 33 in Youngstown when she was hired as a reporter and weekend anchor.
She went on to work as a news anchor, producer and reporter at WSBT-TV in South Bend, Ind., and WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh. In 1979, she returned to WYTV as an investigative reporter and subsequently was promoted to chief anchor and executive producer. Her 1979 documentary and continuing coverage about the disappearance of a 21-year-old Youngstown woman, Joanne Coughlin, earned awards for investigative reporting from the Ohio Associated Press Award and the Cleveland Press Club.
In August 1984, at the height of the steel industry’s demise in the Youngstown/Warren region, Andrea transitioned from broadcasting and co-founded the Youngstown Business Journal. As the bi-monthly newspaper expanded coverage to the five-county region, its name was modified to The Business Journal.
In 1996, the newspaper began publishing daily updates at BusinessJournalDaily.com. And in 2009, as The Business Journal celebrated its 25th anniversary, Andrea added a webcast, the Daily BUZZ, to the website. Diverse social media news platforms followed and today the news stories and videos posted on Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels extend The Business Journal’s reach – and positive voice from the Mahoning Valley – worldwide.
Andrea is the chair and president of The Youngstown Publishing Co. and Publisher of The Business Journal.
Throughout her career, she has served on numerous boards including the Citizens League of Greater Youngstown, League of Women Voters, Crime Stoppers of Greater Youngstown and the Workforce Investment Board of Mahoning and Columbiana Counties. Today she is secretary of the YMCA of Youngstown board of trustees.
She resides in Poland, Ohio, with her husband, Dennis LaRue.