Meet the WICS TV News Team
Adam Rife - Reporter
Adam Rife joined WICS in August 2014 as the Statehouse Reporter. He covers the political campaigns, legislative sessions, and policy stories in the Capital City that impact all Illinoisans.
Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Adam graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in history. Prior to coming to WICS, Adam spent a year and a half at sister-station WICD in Champaign, where he was a general assignment reporter and anchor. Before that he worked in Chicago in the sports departments at WGN,Fox affiliate WFLD, and at ABC 7 Chicago interviewing athletes and covering live professional sporting events.
Adam was a Silver Dome Award finalist for his play-by-play broadcasting. He enjoys telling the personal stories of the people who make news matter every day.
Akilah Davis - Reporter
Akilah Davis joined ABC Newschannel 20 in December of 2014 as the Sunrise reporter. She comes to us from the Quad Cities, where she was a Multimedia Journalist. While she enjoyed covering local news in a bi-state region, shes thrilled to be back in central Illinois.
Akilah spent her undergraduate career at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she studied Communications. She's also a graduate of the University of Illinois-Springfield Public Affairs Reporting program. While in graduate school, she interned for Metro Source News, where she got her feet wet covering politics at the Illinois Capitol. Prior to that, she spent two years interning in her hometown at WGN-TV.
Akilah loves being active in the community and is excited to volunteer with the many organizations here. She's also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys exercising and cooking. If you have an interesting story to tell or just want to say hello, feel free to shoot her an email!
Brett Baldeck - Reporter
Brett Baldeck joined ABC NewsChannel 20 as a multimedia journalist in October 2013. He comes to us after spending a year as a multimedia journalist at WBKO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Brett is originally from Rochester New, York. He graduated from Niagara University in Niagara Falls in May 2012. He is proud to now call Springfield home, and tell the stories of the people of central Illinois.
Brett has always had a passion for television news. As a child, it was his nightly ritual to watch the local news with his family. After a suggestion from his high school English teacher, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a news reporter.
When Brett is not at work, he enjoys working out and checking out the newest restaurants downtown. Brett is also an avid auto racing fan. He says anything with a motor and wheels, he will watch on television.
David Coy - Sports Anchor / Reporter
David joined WICS in February 2014 as Sports Anchor/Reporter. He thinks more local sports is BETTER! David has done both news and sports reporting. Most recently he was a nightside news reporter in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
David has been involved in broadcasting since he was in middle school--he used to anchor the morning announcements. He graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media Communication: Radio/TV. While there, he received an NATAS Emmy Nomination for "Best College Sports Program" for the ZTV Sports Report.
David is from Columbus, Ohio, but don't worry, he's not really a Buckeye fan. His favorite teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Cleveland Indians, and the Cleveland Cavilers. All in all he's a REAL die-hard Akron Zips fan. If he's not covering sports, he's usually watching them or playing video games.
If you have a cool sports story or know an athlete that should be highlighted, give David a ring!
Donnie Tillman - Sports Director / Anchor
Donnie Tillman comes to WICS with more than a decade of journalism experience under his belt.
The Chicago native grew up a huge sports fan. After graduating from Romeoville H.S. in 1999, he decided to study his love for sports at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Following his four years at SIU, Donnie put his radio-television degree to work. In August 2003, he went on to become a sports photographer at WHOI-TV in Peoria. In 2006, he was promoted to weekend sports anchor. In March 2009 he took over the weekend sports anchor duties at WMBD-TV in Peoria. Looking for a new challenge, in September 2010, Donnie moved to morning and midday news anchor. Now back in sports, "DT" brings his passion for local sports to the area. He's had the privilege of covering numerous high school, collegiate, and pro sports championships. Donnie's favorite sports teams are the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox. However, he calls the Cardinals and Blues his secondary squads.
Evan Peterson - Reporter
Evan Peterson joined WICS in September of 2014 as a General Assignment Reporter for ABC Newschannel 20.
At 16-years-old Evan knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life: become a journalist. After graduating from York Community High School in 2009, he went off to Ball State University to study news. Two years later, he transferred to Marquette University where he finished off his undergraduate studies with a double major in digital media and political science (emphasis on global politics).
Before he was in Springfield, Evan worked as a multimedia journalist, anchor, and chief political reporter for the college's television news station. He was also involved in two special news programs: one of them took him to Ground Zero in New York City where he revisited the conflict-reporting portfolio of famous photojournalist Allan Tannenbaum, and the other was an Emmy Award winning feature that explored the dangers of Reporting From The Frontline in combat zones through the career of the late James Foley. Also, he has interned for WISN-TV in Milwaukee, and WLS in Chicago.
Recently, he worked as a print journalist, alongside Seattle Times Reporter Hal Bernton, to produce an investigative piece looking at the polarizing nature of the climate change debate in Wisconsin as a part of the O'Brien Fellowship.
Outside of the newsroom Evan likes to read up on politics/global affairs, hike, play computer games, and exercise.
Garrett Brnger - Reporter
Garrett Brnger joined WICS in August 2013 as a General Assignment Reporter covering the Springfield City Council. Garretts a lifelong New Englander so hes learning to appreciate waves of corn instead of trees and mountains.
Garrett graduated from Boston University in 2011 with a Bachelors degree in News & Editorial Journalism. He started his career out as a print reporter, first as a temporary New Hampshire Statehouse Reporter for the Associated Press and then as a General Assignment Reporter at the Keene Sentinel, his hometown paper. He made the switch to television in 2012 as a one-man-band reporter for WBIN in Derry, NH and hasnt looked back since. He has reported on a variety of subjects from the Boston Marathon bombings, to medical marijuana, to gun laws, to orphaned bear cubs.
As a frugal Yankee, Garrett prefers to bake or cook his own food and can often be found trying out a new pie recipe. His favorite is a Caramel-Apple-Pecan pie, or as he refers to it, Type 2 Diabetes.
Jenn Sullivan - Anchor
Jenn Sullivan joined WICS in December 2014 as the Morning and Midday Anchor. Jenn comes to us from Green Bay, Wisconsin where she was the Political Reporter and Fill-in Anchor. Prior to that, she was an Anchor/Multimedia Journalist in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Her passion for politics took her all over the state, covering President Obama, many local and national politicians as well as sitting down one on one with Republican Gov. Scott Walker on multiple occasions.
While she comes to us from Packers territory, Jenn is an Illinois native and is very happy to be back in her home state. She grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois but before that, her family spent six years in Surrey, England.
Before moving to Wisconsin, she worked at WGN-TV as a News Writer. She received her Masters in Journalism from DePaul University, in Chicago, and spent a quarter in Vancouver covering the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. She received her Bachelors from Miami University, in Ohio.
When shes not at work, you can find her taking long walks with her dog, Shelby, who she rescued from a shelter in Chicago. Shes an avid sports fan and loves rooting for the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks. Jenn also loves to golf.
Whether you have a story idea or just want to chat, Jenn would love to hear from you.
Joe Crain - Morning and Midday Meteorologist
Joe helps you plan for the day at work and school with the Storm Team 20 forecast every weekday from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. during "Sunrise This Morning". Joe also keeps you updated on the latest weather with local updates during "Good Morning America" and has a complete look at your forecast during "ABC NewsChannel 20 Midday" at 11:00 a.m. weekdays.
At the young age of 12, Joe got an early start to his career with school and community announcements on his hometown radio station in Cairo, Illinois. Joe has held a variety of on-air, programming and management positions with radio stations in St. Louis, Duluth, Green Bay, Sioux City, Omaha, Peoria and Springfield. Joe joined the ABC NewsChannel 20 family in the summer of 2004 as a weekend weather anchor. He was named the morning and midday weather anchor in March 2008.
Joe is a graduate of Mississippi State University's Broadcast Meteorology Certification program and holds a B.A. in Radio-Television Sales and Management with a minor in Journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Joe is a professional member of both the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. Additionally, Joe has been honored by his peers with numerous awards such as the "Silver Dome" from the Illinois Broadcasters Association and multiple nominations for the national "Gavin Award" that showcases excellence in radio programming.
Joe has been recognized for his community involvement with a number of organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, Land of Lincoln Goodwill, Central Illinois Community Blood Center, Camp CoCo, Central Illinois Down Syndrome Society and Salvation Army. As a member of Storm Team 20, Joe enjoys speaking each year to dozens of school and civic groups about weather and severe weather safety.
Joe, along with his wife Ann and children, Megan and Thomas, reside in Springfield. He's a model railroader and train collector. Joe's an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, Fighting Illini and SIU Salukis. And, by his own account, Joe is a "below average" golfer.
Joe's always glad to hear from you and is eager to answer your weather related questions.
Jordan Abudayyeh - Reporter
Jordan Abudayyeh joined WICS in May 2014 as a reporter. Before moving to the capital city, Jordan was anchor, reporter and producer for Naperville News 17 on Naperville Community Television, where she covered everything from
President Obama visiting town to City Council. Prior to that, she was an Associate Producer at WISN in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She also interned at CBS 2 in Chicago.
Jordan grew up in the Chicago suburbs watching the news. There's even a home video of her watching CNN from her playpen! In seventh grade she decided she was going to do what those people she watched on TV did. She graduated from
Marquette University with a Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism and Sociology. While at Marquette she was News Director for her college TV station, MUTV 99, and won a college Emmy for a special she hosted on reporting from war zones.
For her, TV news isn't a job. Its a lifestyle.
Jordan's a foodie, which makes staying on a diet a challenge. So when shes not sharing the news you'll probably find her checking out a local restaurant and pairing her meal with the perfect wine.
Jordan loves social media so if you have a story idea or something you would like to share connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Kai Jackson - Special Correspondent
Kai Jackson is a veteran journalist with more than 27 years of experience covering local, national and international news as well as stories for affiliate and network television news.
He's currently a national correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group. Previously he was an anchor and reporter for 20 years at WJZ-TV in Baltimore.He's covered some of the biggest stories of our day including the September 11th attack on America.
Jackson is the co-founder of a film company called DocYourmentary dedicated to telling unusual and untold stories of people and history.
He's a member of several professional organizations including:The Society of Professional JournalistsThe National Association of Black JournalistsThe International Documentary AssociationKappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
Kai received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from South Carolina State College. He received a Masters Degree in Film from American University.Kai is an avid gardener and reader and practices Shotokan Karate. He and his wife live in Maryland with their two daughters.
Connect with Kai:
Kristine Frazao - Reporter
Kristine Frazao is an Emmy award winning journalist, with more than a decade of on-air experience. As the National Correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group, Kristine
reports on the top political stories of the day along with investigative reports on government waste, fraud and abuse.
Prior to joining the Sinclair news team, Kristine was the White House Correspondent for RT America. She covered the 2010 and 2012 elections both on the road and in Washington, and anchored nightly newscasts on RT for three years as well. Also during her time at RT, she reported extensively on the impact of hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Pennsylvania, as well as the tragic rate of teen suicide on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Kristine was born and raised in San Diego, CA, where she also worked for four years as a general assignment reporter, working for the Fox affiliate (XETV) as well as the NBC affiliate (KNSD) where she received an Emmy for coverage of the Wildfires of 2007.
She got her on-air start working in beautiful Savannah, GA at WJCL/WTGS, where she worked as the political reporter, covering City Council and County Commission. She also traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi to cover the damage and devastation from Hurricane Katrina.
Kristine loves living in the Washington, DC. area and covering politics. She spends her free time traveling, reading and going on adventures with her black lab , Chomsky.
Connect with Kristine:
Lindsey Hess - Reporter
Lindsey is a reporter for ABC NewsChannel 20, specializing in agriculture. She most previously worked as an Anchor/Reporter at the NBC affiliate station, WGEM, in Quincy, Illinois. While reporting, Lindsey worked as a one-man band, covering assignments as a photographer, reporter and editor in three states. She covered the agriculture beat, reporting on a wide range of farming stories, including the 2012 drought. Lindsey is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois where she earned a degree in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. During college, she was involved in IC TV and Sigma Phi Epsilon Literary Society, and was a member of both Lambda Pi Eta and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Societies.
Community involvement is a big part of Lindsey's life. She is the Executive Director of the Miss Quincy Scholarship Program, an official preliminary pageant to Miss Illinois and Miss America. Each year, the Miss Quincy Scholarship Program awards thousands of scholarship dollars to young women. For the past seven years, Lindsey has been a mentor to a young girl named Bailey in Jacksonville. She and Bailey were matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and have spent the last several years spending time together and growing their lifelong friendship. As Miss Adams County and Miss Quincy, Lindsey used her titles to bring awareness to bullying and cyber bullying. She continues to speak at schools, organizations and service clubs to educate others on the cause. In February 2012, Lindsey was able to bring light to the issue in her in-depth news report, "Mean Girls."
Liz Foster - Anchor / Reporter
After growing up in the South, Liz Foster is excited to join the NewsChannel 20 team and explore the Midwest. Liz join WICS in October 2010. She hails from Georgia, where she began her career WMGT in Macon. While in Middle Georgia, Liz covered a variety of stories from crime and consumer reports to how kids with cancer cope. Prior to reporting in Macon, Liz interned at WBTV in Charlotte after graduating from Georgia Southern University. At GSU, she earned a degree in Communication Arts with a major in Broadcasting.
Working in news is a lifelong dream for Liz... she even taped her own news show as a child on her family's video camera! Liz looks forward to getting involved in community organizations in Central Illinois. Away from the cameras and the newsroom, she enjoys playing with her Yorkie Bella, cooking, traveling, volunteering and watching Braves baseball and SEC football. Liz appreciates hearing from viewers and welcomes anyone to email with a story idea or just to say hello!
Maggie Poteau - Anchor
Maggie Poteau anchors the 5 p.m and 6 p.m. newscast for ABC NewsChannel 20 and the 9 p.m. newscast for FOX Illinois. She joined WICS in November 2013. As a newcomer to the Midwest, she is excited about becoming involved in the community, engaging viewers in central Illinois and exploring the Land of Lincoln.
Interestingly, Maggie began her television career as a general assignment reporter in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Before moving to Springfield, Illinois, she worked at ABC 3340 in Birmingham, Alabama, where she was an anchor for "Good Morning Alabama" and show host for "Talk of Alabama." Prior to her time in central Alabama, she worked in east Tennessee for WATE 6 News and FOX 43. Her passion for storytelling has allowed her to cover stories of people from all different walks of life, from people we like to people we do not like. Some of the prominent stories she has covered include the criminal trial of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy (the first executive tried under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), the disappearance of Natalie Holloway, and the deadly tornados that ripped through Alabama in 2011. To date, career-wise, she is most proud of her invitation from The White House to serve as moderator for "The Urban Economic Forum," Birmingham 2012.
Born on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, she is proud of her Haitian and Cuban heritage. Maggie grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Mass Communications. She is also a proud alumna of the UCONN Women's Soccer program and still loves to play whenever possible. Maggie would tell you her proudest accomplishment is her adult"yes, adult--daughter Brittanny, who earned her bachelors degree from Vanderbilt University and her masters degree from Arizona State University. Brittanny now works in higher education in the greater Boston area.
If you have a great story idea, feel free to connect with Maggie on Facebook or Twitter.
Ric Kearbey - Meteorologist
Ric Kearbey loves giving the nightly weather forecast on television!
Ric says, "It's something that everyone cares about and knowing I can help them plan their day or weekend is a fun responsibility!"
Ric also knows the importance of severe weather and keeping families safe.
He is committed to staying with ABC NewsChannel 20 views on their televisions until the threat of severe weather leaves the area. You may even see Ric on the air at noon or 3am.
Community involvement is a passion of Ric's. "Connecting with the community, our viewers, makes what we do more real. To actually meet the people who watch us is a great feeling,
and it makes each night's broadcasts more personal for me. Don't be surprised to hear I was at your child's school, or if you see me at the local benefit for an important cause because it's extremely important to me," says Ric.
Ric also loves to interact with viewers through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Ric also is a Pinterest enthusiast, sharing all of his favorite things with viewers.
In his free time, Ric enjoys spending time with his family, running, and working out.
Hes crazy about the St. Louis Cardinals. He is a Bethalto, IL native.
His TV career as taken him to Augusta, GA, Peoria, IL, St. Louis, MO, and now Springfield!
Sheila Gray - Special Correspondent
Special Correspondent Sheila Gray reports on issues affecting women and families in Sinclair Broadcast Groups Family 411 reports.
Sheila is a native of Columbus, Ohio and studied at the prestigious Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
She began her career in Charleston, West Virginia, eventually being named the 6 & 11 p.m. anchor at WSAZ-TV. She was recognized by the West Virginia Associated Press for her reporting.
Sheilas next stop was Cincinnati, Ohio, where she co-hosted the Fox 19 Morning News.
She is happy that her alarm is no longer sounding at 2:30 a.m. and is looking forward to this new chapter in her career, and a new broadcasting family with Sinclair.
Sheila and her husband Ric are the parents of four children, Kasey, Kari, Katie, and Kari.
Connect with Sheila:
Vince DeMentri - Anchor / Reporter
Vince DeMentri joined the ABC Newschannel 20 team in September 2012. He anchors the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts and the 10 p.m. newscast with Liz Foster.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Vince is a graduate of Temple University, where he double-majored in journalism and political science. He played linebacker for the Temple Owls football team, which earned him a scholarship.
Vince's television reporting career has taken him to news outlets across the country, from Des Moines to New York City.
A skilled investigative reporter, Vince has won seven Emmy awards, 14 AP/UPI awards, and an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor--one of the highest civilian medals recognized by Congress--for his reporting on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. His 9/11 reporting also earned him two Edward R. Murrow awards--often considered the highest honor in broadcast news.
Vince's investigative stories have prompted laws to be enacted and changed, and caused several politicians to resign from office.
In addition to 9/11, Vince has been among the first to report on numerous major world events, including Operation Desert Storm, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of Princess Diana, and the installation of Pope Benedict XVI. Notable interview subjects include Mother Teresa, Jack Kevorkian, and presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Vince's hobbies include reading, traveling, and competitive power lifting. He has one teenage daughter.
He is very happy to be in Springfield, and looks forward to meeting the folks of central Illinois and becoming part of the community. He encourages viewers with tips for investigative stories to contact him with details.