“Mass” Move Update

concussions umass

Aliz Koletas is the host and producer of Connecting Point, a TV show on WGBY in Springfield, Mass. Originally from Troy, she started her broadcast career in the Albany area but moved farther east this summer after the merger between WXXA and WTEN. She comes from a big fat Greek family which is at 18 …for now.

Q We last talked to you in 2011. You were reporting for an independent TV show and opening a consignment shop in Troy. Catch us up to speed.

A I opened my High Maintenance, Low Budget Consignment Shop in Lansingburgh and had such a blast getting involved in my neighborhood. Reporting and clothes are two of my passions so it was great doing both at the same time. Unfortunately, I had a pretty bad car accident in October 2011 and spent the next several months in the hospital, rehab and then physical therapy. I sadly had to sell my consignment shop and focus on getting better but it was such a great experience overall.

Q When did you join Fox23/WXXA?

A A couple months later, I decided to leave the show I was reporting for and join the local Fox station. They didn’t have any on-air positions so I worked off camera and bugged my boss until he let me go out in the field. I am very thankful for the many stories I got to cover but unfortunately, that didn’t last long. Fox23 and Channel 10 merged and I like to say, “They let all the awesome people go.” I wanted to balance my career with my personal life so I decided to look for an opportunity specifically in the Springfield, Mass. area. My car accident ironically helped me slow down and smell the roses.

Q What do you do now?

A Over the summer, I reported for ABC40 in Springfield. I was able to meet different people in the area and learn more about western Massachusetts. I am happy to announce though that I just accepted the position to become host for Connecting Point, a TV show that connects you with people, places and issues that matter most to Western New England. It airs on WGBY.

Q What will your new job entail?

A WGBY is a PBS station and they don’t have the same time constraints or limits like commercial TV does, so I get to dig deeper and discuss stories more in depth. I’m excited to explore issues and topics that are relevant and important to people in the western Massachusetts, northern Connecticut, southern Vermont and areas beyond.

Q How does your culture play a role in your career?

A Greeks love to talk and socialize! Even though I didn’t say a word until I was four, my dad loves to joke that I haven’t shut up since! I love to meet everyone and nobody is a stranger in my book! Also, in the WGBY interview process, I was asked if I could interview anyone, who would it be? I’ve never been asked that question before but in a second’s notice, the answer came to mind. I would interview my Yiayia (Greek for grandmother) who tragically passed away before I was born. She came over to the United States on a boat and faced innumerable odds with learning a new language, culture and way of life. That determination and fearlessness is something that inspires me and makes me part of who I am. I think she would also be proud of my baklava, too.


Aliz Koletas named WGBY ‘Connecting Point’ host, co-producer

Aliz Koletas, who has been a reporter for WGGB, Springfield’s ABC affiliate, has been named host and co-producer of “Connecting Point,” the popular series, on topics of area interest in a variety of fields, broadcast by WGBY-PublicTelevision for Western New England.

Koletas will join Jim Madigan, director of public affairs on the show, which launches its fourth season on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. She replaces Carrie Saldo, who was with the half-hour show since its local inception. Saldo left in June to take on a new role at Rocky Mountain Public Media, an affiliate in Denver, Colo.

“I am so honored and very excited to join this award-winning station as host of ‘Connecting Point.’ As we start the new season, I hope viewers across Western New England will explore and learn with me, as we tell the many untold stories of this unique area of the Northeast,” Koletas said in a station release.

Koletas began her broadcasting career in Albany, N.Y., at the local Fox affiliate, and as a reporter for Parentology, a weekly parenting program. She is a graduate of Albany’s New School of Radio and Television.

“Aliz’s enthusiasm and dedication to storytelling and analysis will be a wonderful complement to ‘Connecting Point.’ Her attention to social media will help us make great strides in engaging viewers and bringing our content beyond broadcast,” said Lynn Page, WGBY’s deputy general manager.

This season ‘Connecting Point” will air three nights each week, instead of five. The schedule change will free up resources for field work, according to the release.

“It has been a number of years since our producers have had time to create a long-form documentary of their own,” said Keith Clark, director of local production and services.

For more information, visit http://www.wgby.org.


Operation Greek Princess Demolition Derby

What? a Greek girl dressed in a pink helmet, pink polo dress and pink boots purposely crashing a hot-pink princess car in a demolition derby

When? Labor Day 2013

Where? upstate NY

Why? because. just because

Here are the ABC’s to my crazy-idea-turned-reality:

Again? nah, I think I’ll pass. once was good enough for me

Bragging? absolutely. til the day I die

Cried? broke down when my dad asked me why I didn’t take the stereo out of the car to sell for a profit. “I don’t even know how to drive in a derby, dad. That’s the least of my worries!”

Damage? car was banged up pretty bad. so was my neck for a couple days

Elegant? considering I wore a pink polo dress and had to climb in and out of car through window and windshield…yes

Fans? hundreds of them. stopping me as I made my way to meet the family in the stands. “Way to go, pink girl! I was rooting for the pink car! Love the outfit! Love the car!”

Girlie? absolutely not. which is why I added so much pink. blends well with dirt & grime

How? dumb determination with a tiny bit of sheer stupidity

Investment? none. www.pemberconstruction.com from Troy, NY sponsored me

Junk? absolutely, but I still got emotional when I scrapped the car after the derby

Koletas? yep, through and through

Lesson? check blind spots more often. cars come out of nowhere, especially when you’re driving a hot-pink car

Mirrors? all must be removed from a derby car along with any glass. Refer to above question why that was not a good thing for me

Number? wanted 22 to be my car number as I’ve had significant events happen in my personal life on the 22nd of many months in 2013

Outcome? best looking car trophy

Preparation? involved “helping” a demo derby pro strip the car. by help, I mean, stand there and say “what’s that? what are you doing? why are you doing that? how are you doing that? is it gonna hurt? this is easier to watch than do!”

Quit? never. when the head honcho came over right before the race started to assure me I could back out whenever I wanted, I interrupted him with, “LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!”

Response? “you’re crazy!” 1000x over from everyone

Safety? pink helmet. no airbags which I found out can be very unsafe in a derby. go figure. 

Time? 3 days of prepping & planning = 3 1/2 minutes of actual derby time

Umbrella? didn’t open it once even though it poured like crazy. I’m tough like that.

Variety? there are too many choices of semi-gloss black spray paint 

Walmart? has really cheap hot-pink paint. and princess decals. and stencils.

Xenos? a Greek word that Greeks use to describe non-Greeks. *oops, getting back on topic now*

Y? because. just because.

Zero? regret.