NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Capital Region Broadcasting legend Ernie Tetrault, who graced the area’s television screens and radios for over 60 years, has died at 94, WRGB announced today. Born in Watervliet, he started his radio career in Troy while still attending high school, before moving into television.
Beyond broadcasting, Tetrault was a pilot, World War II veteran, and advocate for the hearing impaired. WRGB, the station where he spent the majority of his career, described Tetrault as “a pioneer of local broadcasting, and legendary anchorman at WRGB-TV for more than four decades.”
Tetrault’s long career began in the ’40s when he took on dramatic roles at Troy-based radio station WTRY. In the 1950s, he made the shift to television moving to WRGB. Tetrault started out hosting a local version of NBC’s “Today Show” called “Home Fare,” while also serving as the commercial announcer for a number of local programs including “Teen Age Barn.”
Tetrault’s shift to the newsroom came in the ’70s. In the early days, he took a trip to South Vietnam to interview local servicemen fighting the Vietnam War.
During the late 1980s, Tetrault disguised himself as a homeless man as part of a series on homelessness in the region. Hidden cameras followed him as he experienced first-hand the struggles faced by the area’s homeless every day.
The ’90s saw Tetrault covering another international conflict. He became the first local newsperson to fly to Saudi Arabia with American troops, where he went on to report on local residents’ contributions to the first Gulf War. He retired in 1993.
But retirement still didn’t keep Tetrault off the region’s screens. On Sunday mornings, he regularly appeared on Pittsfield’s WNYA.
He is survived by his wife Ann, two children and one granddaughter.