Whether you are an early riser or like to get your news a bit later in the day, there is a good chance that when you turn on the local news the person providing the updates lives on the North Shore. We caught up with six of them for a sneak peek into their lives.
The Haverhill native Matt Noyes is chief meteorologist for NBC10 Boston and NECN and a lifelong resident of the North Shore. He has been at NECN since he was 23 years old and has seen the impact that weather has on local news.
“Weather is what drives our day to day decisions,” says Noyes. “There is no part of life that isn’t impacted by weather.”
One might think that snow storms are the biggest events he has covered working in Massachusetts, but in the last decade it is tornadoes that have left the biggest impression. In June 2011, a tornado swept across Worcester County, causing major damage in Springfield. “I was on the air for 10 straight hours and knew the tornado was headed for Westfield,” remarks Noyes. “In fact, we received reports from a viewer that the tornado was on the ground and were able to let our audience know before a warning was issued by the National Weather Service.”
Springfield was not an isolated event, with more recent tornadoes touching down in Revere and Cape Cod. “The difference today is the technology,” notes Noyes. “Not only do the computer models help us with more accurate forecasts, we have cameras on our weather truck that can bring the viewer into the center of the storm.”
It is snow storms, however, that are his favorite type of weather to report on. “I work hard to make accurate forecasts and snow storms are the one event where you can stick a ruler in the ground and I know if I got it right.”
Noyes credits his preciseness to his mentor, legendary broadcaster Harvey Leonard. “When I was in college I interned for Harvey and he gave me the push to go into television,” Noyes says. “Harvey is a great guy and a great forecaster. To be a fellow chief meteorologist in the Boston market with him is a tremendous honor.”
Noyes, who is married to and raising three children with former WBZ-TV meteorologist Danielle Niles, credits his TV career with affording him some amazing experiences. He drove a stock car at the NH Motor Speedway, climbed into a Monster Truck at Gillette Stadium, and flew with the Blue Angels.
What Noyes loves most about his job, however, is being able to represent the stations at community events. “This is where I grew up and being able to make a positive difference in people’s lives is really meaningful,” he says. “Without the support of our viewers I wouldn’t have a job.”
Kim Carrigan is one of Boston’s most trusted and popular broadcasters. While today she can be heard anchoring Baystate Business on Bloomberg Radio weekdays from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. and providing news briefs on News Radio 1030 WBZ, Kim is best known for her long career in television news.
Carrigan grew up in Missouri, where she began her broadcast career. After a couple stops in the Midwest, she landed at WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa, where she anchored the evening news and reported from around the world. While there she conducted an exclusive interview with President Bill Clinton and spent a day at the White House where she was invited into the private quarters by First Lady Barbara Bush.
Carrigan was recruited to Boston by WHDH, Channel 7. She was a new face in a market that often takes time to warm up to outsiders. She was also coming to a station that was disrupting the market with its fast-paced style.
Carrigan’s warm and professional approach as the station’s evening anchor was quickly embraced by viewers as the station turned into a market leader in record time.
One of the segments that Carrigan, who lives in Swampscott with her husband and two children, recalls fondly from her time at Channel 7 was called At Home. “I would go to the homes of well-known people for in-depth interviews,” says Carrigan. “I visited with Keith Lockhart, Yo-Yo Ma, Alan Dershowitz, and many others, and I was thrilled to get a call from Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife, Vicki, inviting me to Hyannis. It was very rare that a camera was allowed on the Kennedy compound.”
Carrigan would have liked to interview Senator Ted Kennedy again. “I would love to get the Senator’s view on the state of the world,” she says. “In our previous interview, we talked about collaboration and working across the aisle. I think of that conversation frequently because that doesn’t happen today.”
After several years at Channel 7, Kim spent time at WBZ, Channel 4, anchoring alongside legendary newscaster Jack Williams. It was the next stop in her career, however, that would become the most memorable.
Carrigan’s friend and former Channel 7 colleague, Gene Lavanchy, called her about joining him as co-anchor of the FOX25 Morning News (now known as Boston 25).
“I loved the energy of the morning newscast,” Carrigan says. “Being part of an ensemble was such a different experience. Working in news you are always part of a team, but an ensemble is different and working on that show was a unique experience.”
While Carrigan hosts Bloomberg’s nationally televised 4th of July celebration from the Esplanade, she isn’t on local TV as often as many people would like. When not in a pandemic, however, you can see her out on the North Shore. She is actively involved with several charities, including the Northeast Arc where she has hosted many events since 2007. “It is a very special organization helping people with disabilities and I’m proud to be associated with them.”
Like Kim Carrigan, Adam Reilly, a reporter for GBH News, grew up in the Midwest. He came to Boston in 1996 to attend a master’s program at Harvard Divinity School and moved to the North Shore 10 years later—first to Lynn and then in 2010 to Swampscott, where he still lives with his wife and two daughters.
“I grew up in a landlocked part of the country,” says Reilly. “I love seeing the ocean every day. In fact, I marvel at it.”
Reilly started his journalism career writing for North Shore Sunday. He then moved to the Daily Item for a brief period of time before joining The Boston Phoenix, where he covered the media for eight years. While at the Phoenix he appeared on GBH’s “Beat The Press” several times and was intrigued when a job opened up at the station. “I knew the reputation of WGBH since childhood and could see the writing on the wall at the Phoenix with the economic pressure that was facing the paper and many others around the country,” Reilly says. Despite never being a TV reporter, he was hired in 2010 and remains at the station to this day.
“I’ve had the opportunity to report on many stories, but I think the biggest stories were the Tsarnaev and Bulger trials, partly because they’re local, partly because I covered them more, and partly because they were just remarkable to witness,” says Reilly. “In both cases, you had people from the Boston area grappling at length with these incredibly traumatic events that had shaped the entire region’s worldview. It was electric to watch, and often deeply disturbing.”
Like Doug Meehan and Carrigan, Reilly would also like to interview a politician, but in his case it could actually happen. “I’d like to interview the governor,” Reilly says. “We do a politics podcast and we interviewed him early in his term. I would like to talk with him again to learn what he feels he has done right as well as what he feels he may have gotten wrong. I’m very curious to find out what it means to him to be a Republican now.”
As co-anchor of the EyeOpener newscast on WCVB, Channel 5, Doug Meehan of Lynnfield is the first person many see each weekday. It is the latest role in a 30-year media career for the West Yarmouth native.
Meehan began his career on Cape Cod, where he conducted his first celebrity interview with Willy Nelson, but it was a story from his next job in Providence that had the biggest personal impact. “I covered a visit from Mother Teresa,” Meehan vividly remembers. “After we put the camera away, we joined an impromptu receiving line. I thought it was going to be like meeting any famous person, but it was far from it. She held my hand and put a hand on my face. I felt an unexpected energy go through my body like I had never experienced.”
Meehan left New England to take reporter and anchor positions at TV stations in Florida and Texas, but returned home to work at WHDH, Channel 7. His first big break in Boston, however, came when he was hired to join the brand new FOX25 Morning News as the market’s first full-time helicopter reporter covering traffic and breaking news.
During this time he traveled to London, Berlin, Hollywood, and New York City where he conducted what he says is his favorite interview, with Tom Cruise. “He was one of the nicest A-list celebrities I have met and just a really cool guy,” says Meehan.
After FOX25 Meehan spent two years in radio, but the lure of television news led him to Phoenix, Arizona, where he spent nearly three years as a news anchor. In December 2015, an opportunity many journalists who grew up locally dream of opened up—anchoring the news on WCVB, Channel 5.
“Channel 5 has provided me with the opportunity to attend three Super Bowls and a World Series. For a kid who grew up as a die-hard fan of the Patriots and Red Sox it’s a dream come true.”
When returning to the area, the Cape Cod native never imagined living on the North Shore. However, “Lynnfield felt right,” he says. “Having a house with a backyard that also provides easy access to Logan and a taste of the city at MarketStreet has been great.”
Meehan shares that his dream interview would be John F. Kennedy. “I feel we have many connections…Cape Cod, the same birthdate, and love of the water. My mother was Joe Kennedy’s nurse at the compound and she knew that Bobby Kennedy was going to announce his run for president the day before the world found out.”
Despite his alarm going off at 2 a.m., Meehan likes the comradery of the morning. “We get to be a little looser with our personalities in the morning as people are getting ready to start their day,” he shares.
“People can get their information anywhere they want today,” Meehan notes. “There’s an incredible amount of trust involved in coming into someone’s home every day, especially in the mornings. I work hard to earn that trust and it’s nice when people tell me they start their day with a smile because of our newscast.”
Olessa Stepanova is a traffic anchor/reporter at NBC10 Boston and NECN. Working alongside Matt Noyes, her job is to help people get up and out the door every weekday morning.
Born in Russia, Stepanova and her family moved to New York in 1992. She began her broadcasting career reporting traffic for News 12, covering New York and Connecticut. From there, she went on to News12 Long Island and NY1 before moving to Hartford for a morning traffic reporter job where she also reported for a lifestyle show.
Stepanova made the move to Boston, where she spent over five years on the EyeOpener at WCVB before landing her current gig, where she also contributes to LXTV, a lifestyle and entertainment program that airs on NBC stations nationwide.
The shift is tough, but she feels it is important. She wakes up by 1:45 a.m. to get to the station at 2:45 a.m. to go live on air at 4 a.m. “We are on the air before any other station because people get up early and need to be informed,” says Stepanova. “Weather and traffic are the first things people look for in the morning and we need to be ready. I get tweets all the time from people asking what their commute is going to look like.”
While sleep is always a premium for anyone working in morning news, it is especially challenging these days for Stepanova, who lives in North Reading with her husband, three-year-old son, and twins that turned one in November.
Returning to work in April 2020, after her twins were born, also coincided with the early days of the pandemic. “Beyond my traffic reports I wanted to cover stories on people doing good things during this difficult time,” Stepanova says. One story I did that stands out was about a young girl from the North Shore who was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder who started a crafting business with her mother to make toys and t-shirts to donate to kids in local hospitals.”
“They were already quarantining prior to the pandemic because of her illness and haven’t left the house since it started,” Stepanova adds. “Being so young and so sick, but still wanting to focus on helping others was so impactful to me.”
A.J. Burnett is a meteorologist and weather producer at WCVB, Channel 5. Like, Doug Meehan, he grew up on Cape Cod, and like Meehan and Kim Carrigan he spent several years working at FOX25. He also spent some time at TV stations in Maine and New Hampshire and even taught high school science and math before landing at Channel 5.
Burnett says weather is important to local newscasts because it affects everyone. “If there is a fire or a crime, it typically only impacts those directly involved, but the weather impacts everyone,” says Burnett. “Weather is the one part of the news that looks forward to what is to come instead of reporting on what is happening or has happened. It helps people plan their lives.”
Like Noyes, who Burnett worked with for a short time as a freelancer at NECN, he vividly remembers the Springfield tornadoes. “My news director called and told me to get in the car and get to Springfield immediately,” he says. “When I got to the outskirts of Springfield College I saw an apartment building that looked like an open dollhouse. The entire front wall of the building was gone. I spoke to a woman who wasn’t allowed back into her house to get her son’s cap and gown for his high school graduation. She was in tears and I was fighting them back. I’m typically looking at charts and numbers, but it is times like these when I remember that the weather can get personal.”
A little closer to home, Burnett recalls covering a powerful nor’easter in 2013. “I was reporting from Plum Island, where so many homes have succumbed to the ocean over the years,” he says. “While I was there the storm eroded the beach so quickly it caused a house to first lean and then fall down the cliff toward the ocean.”
Burnett, who lives in Danvers with his wife and two daughters, says he enjoys his job because it combines two things he loves—meteorology and education. “I get the opportunity to use my understanding of meteorology to predict what is coming while also educating viewers on why something is happening.”
When asked if he has a mentor in the business, he is quick with his response. Like Noyes, Burnett credits Harvey Leonard for his success. “Harvey is a legend and everyone knows it,” Burnett states. “Harvey is not only one of the best forecasters, he is one of the best at being able to explain a complicated situation in terms people can understand. Harvey is a friend, a confidant, and a sounding board. The compliments go way beyond the guy you see on TV.”