Tom Williams is a morning news anchor on WNEP-TV. Williams, 50, is a native of Kingston and a graduate of Wyoming Valley West High School and Penn State University, where he earned a degree in journalism. He and his wife of 23 years, Colleen, have three children: Sarah, 20, Tom, 18, and Ryan, 14. They live in Mountain Top.
What first made you want to get into broadcast journalism? I’ve always been a news junkie. I love the news. I’ve always been a guy that reads the newspaper first thing in the morning. I love news magazines. I’ve always loved watching television news. And I also have a natural curiosity, which I think a good reporter has to have.
What do you enjoy about it the most? Well, I don’t enjoy the hours. I get up at 2 a.m. I always tell people that I kiss my kids goodnight at 6 p.m., and I go to bed. I sleep from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., I’m at the station by 3 a.m., and I’m there until 11 a.m., or sometimes longer. But the thing I love about it is that it’s something new every day. I go in and try to learn something every day. I go to bed, and I don’t know who won the Super Bowl. I go to bed on election night, and I don’t know who the new President of The United States is. I wake up in the morning, and I’m excited to find that out, and I’m also very excited to bring that to people, because I know there are other people like me that are getting up and want to know what happened overnight.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I spend a lot of time with my kids. I like to work out. I like to walk. And I like to ride my bike. I also like to work in the yard.
Music? I’ve a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. I’ve seen him three or four times, including 30 years ago on the “Born In The U.S.A.” tour, and I saw him last year, and he still blows me away. And it’s not just the old stuff. The guy is still cranking out new stuff. He’s 65 and he’s still blowing people away.
Follow sports? I love the Eagles and I love the Phillies. And I love Penn State.
Favorite color? Blue.
First car? A 1985 red Pontiac Firebird.
All time favorite movies? “The Godfather” and “Casablanca.”
All-time favorite TV show? “Seinfeld. I still watch it like it’s new. I’ve seen every episode 10 times and I still crack up. I still think it’s fresh today.
Favorite city? New Orleans.
Favorite vacation spot? I just got back from Italy, and I have to say Sorrento is one of the most romantic, beautiful places I’ve ever seen. My wife and I were blown away. It was the trip of a lifetime.
Favorite thing about NEPA? The people. The people would give you the shirt off their back. They are the kindest, nicest, hardest working people. They’re the salt of the Earth, and that’s why I enjoy, everyday, trying to bring the news to them and doing something good for them.
Favorite food? My mother’s lasagna.
Favorite holiday? Fourth of July.
Favorite quote or catchphrase? It’s been engrained in me from parents, teachers and coaches that, “Success is no accident.” I always try to remember that if you work hard, something good will come from that.
Favorite author? John Steinbeck.
Biggest pet peeve? People that are late. I live and die by the clock.
Guilty pleasure? Chocolate/marshmallow ice cream.
Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends? I was once a bar bouncer, for about two weeks, at a bar on Public Square. It was right before college.
Most influential moment, or person, that has helped define you as a person? I think it was just the way that I was brought up by my Mom and Dad. I think they made me the person I am today. I always live life by thinking about what they would do. What would my Dad do, what would my Mom do, and what should I do not to embarrass them? My Dad was always a gentleman. People to this day that know my Dad say, “He’s such a gentleman,” and I try to be a gentleman like my father. They are the biggest inspirations in my life.”
Alan K. Stout is a regular contributor to Weekender. In addition to the MEET feature, he also writes about the NEPA music scene.
MEET is a new feature in Weekender that profiles local people from throughout NEPA.