Tri-State Original: Tony the Fireman - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tri-State Original: Tony the Fireman


MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM)-- If you grew up in the tri-states in the 1960s, our next Tri-State Original will feel like a blast from the past.

Tony Coniglio was known as Tony the Fireman and hosted his own kids television show from 1959 to 1963.

And while his television days are long behind him, he's still in the public spotlight if you know where to look.

"I was a radio guy and TV was pretty new. And they said what if we call you Tony the Fireman and I said why not. I like firemen anyway," Coniglio said.

And just like that, one of the area's earliest television shows was born.

"The kids sat in front and you can see by the pictures, we interviewed them, what do you want to be when you grow up, the usual stuff you ask. And their favorite cartoons and stuff like that," Coniglio said.

Coniglio played the iconic fireman for nearly four years before leaving to manage a new radio station in Morris, Illinois.

But when Coniglio was here, he worked with some of the earliest pioneers of tri-state television, a group that's slowly starting to pass away.

"I've lost some. Bob Turek who recently passed, he was a good friend of mine for years...Francis Holland from Augusta, Illinois, he was one of my cameramen, he's gone. Chuck Gill, he was one of my cameramen, he's gone, a lot of guys are just gone," Coniglio said.

It's been nearly five decades since Coniglio's television days, but he's still staying busy in the Macomb area.

He writes a re-occuring column in the newspaper, voices commercials, and serves on the McDonough County Board, just to name a few.

And he's not stopping anytime soon.

"Don't have time to slow down. I'm doing too much stuff," Coniglio said.

And believe it or not, after all these years he still gets the occasional fan.

"They're gray haired people now in their 60's and they'll say I was on your show and I think, oh my God," Coniglio said.

If you got some pictures of Tony or some memorabilia from his show, let us know by commenting on the story or going to our Facebook page.

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