Greg McQuade, who spent many happy summers in Hull during his childhood and who returns here occasionally to visit his family, was the proud recipient of eight Emmy Awards recently for stories he produced in 2020 in his role as an anchor and “storyteller” for CBS affiliate WTVR-TV in Richmond, Va. The ceremony took place June 26 in the National Capital Chesapeake Bay chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
This brings McQuade’s grand total to 48 Emmys over the past 20 years, but he’s not taking anything for granted. “They are all special. I am truly honored that my peers in the television news industry across the country who judge the stories feel my work is Emmy Award-worthy,” he told The Hull Times. “Hopefully, there are more Emmy Awards in my future.”
McQuade, who grew up in Somerville, wears the title of “storyteller” with pride. “This is not a job for me, it’s a passion,” he said. “When I hear from someone who has been featured in one of my stories or from a viewer who has seen a particular segment, I know I am making a difference. If I can touch hearts every week, then my job is done.”
People often joke that he is running out of room on his shelves and bookcases for displaying the awards. “I am,” McQuade said, adding, “Not a bad problem to have.” (He has also earned 39 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and four National Edward R. Murrow Awards.)
His mother, Annie McQuade, proudly displays about half of the statuettes on the mantel of her Hull home. “She even had an Emmy Awards Watch Party at her house during the recent ceremony, and I think the entire neighborhood was there cheering me on,” he said.
He has won Emmys for programs featuring a wide variety of interview subjects – from the Secret Service agent who chose John F. Kennedy’s motorcade route in 1963, and was traveling in the car in front of his when the president got shot, to a young girl with severe burns treated at Boston Children’s Hospital who is now an accomplished teen artist.
For the last several years, McQuade has produced two weekly segments for WTVR called “Heroes Among Us,” sharing the stories of people who are making a positive impact on central Virginia. He also produces “I Have a Story,” featuring little-known Virginians with remarkable tales to tell.
From an early age, he had the desire to carve out a career as a television news reporter.
“I remember watching television newscasts in Boston as a youngster and saying to myself, ‘Now THAT is something I want to do,'” he recalled. Anyone flipping through the pages of his high school yearbook will find “news broadcasting” under his list of career goals.
In keeping with his dream, McQuade graduated from Bunker Hill Community College in 1989 and Northeastern University in Boston, with a degree in broadcasting in 1992. “During my college days, I gained as much experience in the field as possible,” he recalled. Selling popcorn and ice cream at Boston Garden during Celtics and Bruins home games helped pay his tuition.
After graduation, he landed an entry-level position as a video archivist at WBZ-TV in Boston. “It was such a treat working with many of the folks I admired and grew up watching,” he said. Other job-related adventures include landing a position as a disc jockey at KLHI-FM 101 on the Island of Maui, Hawaii in 1991; spending seven months in Dublin, Ireland, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, during an exchange program; and working as a political intern for a representative in the Irish Parliament while studying at the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin.
In 1997, he moved to Bangor, Maine, for his first full-time on-air reporting job at WVII-TV. “This prepared me well for a career in broadcasting. In a small market like Bangor, you work long hours, shoot the pictures, write the story, edit the video, and go live, all while getting paid very little,” he remembers. “But I loved it. It was an experience filled with riches I cannot count. I will always cherish the memories and the lifelong friends I made while working there.”
In the ensuing years, he returned to Boston to work at NECN as a weekend reporter and then moved to Richmond in 2000 after landing a job at WTVR as a military/political affairs reporter.
“I am a huge history buff, so Richmond was the perfect fit. The River City offers plenty of the past from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to keep me satisfied,” McQuade said.
In 2005, he traveled “across the pond” to England to explore the historic link between the United Kingdom and Virginia for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. “One of the most fascinating interviews I conducted during my time spent in England was with the aging Lord Cornwallis, the great-great-great grandson of Lord Cornwallis, who surrendered to George Washington in Yorktown, Virginia, which ended the Revolutionary War.”
Two years later he had the opportunity to return to England and work at the BBC in Kent as part of an exchange program with the BBC South East. “One of their reporters switched jobs with me in Richmond. It was one of the highlights of my broadcasting career.”
For the past several years, McQuade has been tracking down and interviewing soldiers who served in the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion during World War II. His late grandfather, William McQuade, was captain of “A” Company in the 692nd.
” I’ve driven and flown to many states across America to meet these aging veterans in their homes and during reunions,” he said. “They’ve been sharing stories that help me get to know the grandfather I never met.” In 2006, McQuade produced an award-winning two-part series about his search called, “Soldier in the Photograph.”
In his rare spare time, McQuade enjoys traveling the world and hunting for Civil War relics on old battlefields with his metal detector. His favorite place to visit, though, continues to be Hull. “Although I live in Richmond, my heart is here in Hull,” he said.
While growing up in Somerville, McQuade spent his summers on Nantasket Beach and Gunrock Beach. “In fact, as a 15-year-old, I worked for the MDC at the bathhouse across from the Bernie King Pavillion,” he said, one of his favorite memories.
He recalls spending lazy summer evenings as a young boy under the streetlights of his Hampton Circle neighborhood with friends, just shooting the breeze. He also has fond memories of swimming, visiting Fort Revere, waving to ferry passengers as they passed by, participating in the July Fourth parade in his neighborhood, listening for the ice cream man, hanging out at the beach (walking through Paragon Park on the way), and “just having a good time, with no iPhones to distract us.”
He is particularly grateful for the love and support shown to him by his mother and stepfather, Charlie Todesca. “When I was anchoring the morning news recently, she told me to fix my lapel. Even from 600 miles away, from Hull to Richmond, she is still helping me look my best.”