The Press Club Celebrates 50 Years of Action News


Action News is celebrating 50 years of covering the good, the bad, the ugly, and of course, the weather.


The winning news format was conceived by Mel Kampmann in 1970 on WFIL-TV and was adopted by some stations outside of Pennsylvania and as far away as Australia. It was a format that included tighter time limits for reporters so that they were able to cover more news stories and expand coverage to suburban areas.


The original program included the “Action News Theme,” written by Temple University student, Tom Sellers. At the time, the song was available for purchase as a 45 RPM recording for 25 cents from The Philadelphia Inquirer. The theme was later replaced by Al Ham’s “Move Closer to Your World” when WFIL-TV’s call letters changed to WPVI-TV. The theme has accompanied a montage of scenes of the Delaware Valley at the top of each broadcast for more than four decades. When you hear it, you know it’s time for the number one news broadcast in Philly.


In addition to the fast-paced format and catchy theme song, the success and popularity of Action News can also be attributed to the news team. The longevity of the talent is noteworthy; Jim Gardner has been at the station for 45 of the 50 years. The team is like family so it's easy to welcome Sharrie Williams, Rick Williams, Ducis Rodgers, Cecily Tynan, Adam Joseph, Karen Rogers, and Alicia Vitarelli into our homes each night.


The Press Club has presented members of the Action News team at past lunches; most recently retired reporter and anchor Lisa Thomas-Laury. We look forward to talking with Alicia Vitarelli about why she loves being a part of the Action News team at our December webinar. A member of the Nova Nation, Vitarelli has been with Action News since 2010.


Cheers and happy 50th anniversary to all on the Action News Team from the Delaware County Press Club!

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