70 Years: The news team at WEEK

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 12:12 PM CST
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When WEEK-TV went on the air in February 1953, it already had a solid news team in place.

Bob Arthur was the first news anchor. He brought an impressive resume of network reporting in the Midwest and, coupled with a teaching background, was the perfect choice to inform local viewers on what was happening and why it mattered.

Francis Dayle Hearn was Peoria’s first TV sportscaster. “Chick”, as he was known, was born in Buda, Illinois and attended Bradley University. He was already announcing high school games on Chicago television and developed a huge following in the area. After leaving WEEK, Chick became the long-time radio voice of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hometown boy Bill Houlihan was WEEK’s first weatherman. Meteorology was second nature to Houli, since it was part of his training as a commercial aviation pilot and flight instructor. His folksy delivery made even the worst forecasts easier to bear.

In the following years, other pioneering newscasters joined the station that became known as News 25. Tom Connor and Chuck Harrison would anchor the news, along with Vic Burnett on weather and Hank Fisher on sports. In the late 90s, the 25 news team would be come to known as Your Home Team for its dedication to covering Central Illinois news.