Broadcast Pioneers member Dave Frankel grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, graduated from Dartmouth College and immediately began his television career. While Dave was at Dartmouth, he interned at WNNE-TV in White River Junction, Vermont and was set to start at Dickinson Law School in the fall. However, his plans shifted when WNNE turned his internship into his first full time job as an anchor and reporter for its evening newscast and into what would become a 25-year career in broadcasting.

From WNNE, he moved to WCAX-TX in Burlington, Vermont as a reporter and back-up anchor. While at WCAX, he and 11pm Anchor Bill Felling covered Burlington’s mayoral race, a campaign that was rather mundane, until the eccentric outsider candidate Bernie Sanders stepped in and became the Mayor of Burlington, starting his political career.

Dave’s next stops were in Miami, first at WCIX-TV and then at WSVN-TV, as a reporter and back up anchor at both stations. When WPVI-TV in Philly was looking for an investigative reporter, it reached out to its sister station in Miami to ask who the best reporter was at a competitive station. The answer was Dave Frankel. So, in 1984, Dave joined WPVI-TV Channel 6 where he began the next leg of his TV career, and moved back up north and to the town that would become his home, where he would marry and raise his family.

As Investigative Reporter, Dave along with producers Kenny Plotnick, Eric Schoenfeld, Steve Thode and Tim Beacham produced cutting edge investigative pieces, combining enterprise reporting skills with creative, memorable production elements. Among the stories: dangerous seafood, Philadelphia trash collection and the lack of production of the sanitation crews, the perils of pesticides, the risks of tired truck drivers in a story called “Big Rigs, Big Risks”, a trip to Haiti to track down illegal dumping of Philadelphia’s trash, an exclusive jailhouse interview with cocaine empire dentist Larry Lavin and a riveting expose about Philadelphia’s mob family called Disorganized Crime.

One day in September of 1989, the station found itself in an unexpected situation when both its weathermen, Dave Roberts and Harry Martin, were out of commission. Knowing Dave’s versatility, news director Ned Warwick made a quick executive decision. “Dave happened to walk into my office at the wrong time,” Warwick said, “Here’s a guy who’s fast on his feet and able to absorb a lot of information quickly. A real trouper.” Warwick tapped him to step in at the weatherboard for the day. When, a few days later, Harry Martin announced he was leaving the station, Dave’s recent impromptu on-air weather stint, got him the permanent job as morning and noon weatherman, and fill in for Broadcast Pioneers member Dave Roberts.

Channel 6 launched a half hour morning newscast in 1989, with Broadcast Pioneers member Monica Malpass as anchor and Dave doing weather, traffic and feature segments produced by Broadcast Pioneers member Bob Timms. Soon after, Rick Williams joined the team, the show expanded, and the threesome became the most viewed local morning news show in the country. Dave was also Weather Anchor for the station’s noon newscasts.

In 1998, KYW-TV, CBS 3, Philadelphia hired Dave as one of its evening news anchors. He debuted in March, 1998 as KYW3-TV’s 6pm co-anchor with the late Siani Lee, and temporarily filled in as a weatherman. Dave served as Aftra’s Shop Steward.

When he left Channel 3 in 2001, Dave freelanced for ESPN-TV’s Outside the Lines show, and then decided it was time to pursue the law degree he had put off 24 years before. He enrolled as a full-time student at Villanova Law School. In May 2006, at age 49, Dave graduated Cum Laude, 80 years after his own father, Charlie Frankel, graduated from Dickinson Law School, at the age 19!

Dave joined Montgomery McCracken Law Firm in Philadelphia as a “young’ attorney, where he and Aftra’s Mary Cavallaro started a sports, entertainment and amusement practice. In 2009, Dave and Josh Kershenbaum started their own firm, Frankel and Kershenbaum, LLC, to help kids with special needs.

Over the years Dave has enjoyed many opportunities to volunteer his time to help a wide variety of charities. One of the most rewarding has been his work and relationship with Alex’s Lemonade Stand and dear friends Jay and Liz Scott, Alex’s parents. He proudly hosts its Original Lemonade Stand every year.

He has also enjoyed serving as the auctioneer for many group’s charitable events over the years and as host of Radnor Township’s Memorial Day Parade. He was named “Best Weatherperson” by Philadelphia Magazine in 1990 and 1991 and was the recipient of two Emmy Awards, one for his report about a bionic breakthrough that allowed a child who was deaf to hear sounds and another, “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” a 5-part series about balding.

Dave’s wife Marjie also worked in the Philadelphia broadcast market, at KYW Newsradio and WCAU-TV News. Their three children have all had jobs in the industry: 29-year-old daughter Bailey, at National Geographic Television, and their 26-year-old twin sons, Scott and Charlie, who are currently working at ESPN-TV in Bristol, Connecticut.

Dave is forever grateful for the deep and meaningful lifelong relationships and friendships his career has given him.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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