“When you’re on time in television, you’re late,” intoned a communications professor from the front of an Illinois State University classroom in 1982. “And when you’re late — you’re fired.”
If you’ve ever tried to keep up with FOX10’s Tom Fergus, you know that he took professor Wayne Weber’s words to heart in that long-ago classroom.
Tom takes long strides, and he likes to be early.
Fergus scrambled his way out of a loving family of ten children in Prospect Heights, Illinois, and quickly became a crack shooter and editor in Illinois State’s communications department.
Professional recognition came early.
When a call came to ISU from Peoria, Illinois station WRAU-TV for a freelance cameraman to catch up with President Reagan on a visit to his homestead in Dixon, Illinois, Tom got the nod, and was the only one-man band in a pack of network reporters to catch the President’s attention for a soundbite.
WRAU (now WHOI) wisely snatched him up, and, immediately upon graduating, Fergus was on his way to Peoria. He distinguished himself there by quickly rising to assistant chief photographer, and was soon hired away by the crosstown competition, WEEK-TV. While at WEEK, Tom continued to sharpen his skills, and won the Illinois Valley Press Club’s Best Photographer award.
Unlike his nine siblings, Tom couldn’t WAIT to get out of the midwestern cold, and, on a bleak January day in 1987, packed his un-air-conditioned Ford EXP with everything he owned, and set out from Central Illinois on the Mother Road, for he was the newest hire at KTSP-TV in Phoenix.
It proved to be a good fit.
During Tom’s more than 30 years at the station, he’s seen the name change from KTSP to KSAZ, the affiliation from CBS to FOX, and the gear from 3/4” videotape to today’s digital rigs.
His enthusiasm for the job has never waned, and his ability to quickly embrace every new industry twist has garnered him multiple Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, and two National Association of programming Executives IRIS Awards. Tom has freelanced for ESPN, FOX Sports, and CNN, and has logged thousands of miles in SkyFox and its predecessors, covering every corner of Arizona.
Tom has Super Bowls, the World Series, and the NBA Finals under his belt, and, for many years, he’s been answering the early bell on FOX10 Arizona Morning. In fact, he’s now as likely to be seen in front of the camera as behind it, as his solid on-air reporting skills are often put into play on the show.
He and his wife Linda have three grown children— Denton, Collin, and Mary, as well as one dog that Tom enjoys, and another that’s a pain in the neck.
Among the most rewarding aspects of Tom’s outstanding career might be his long tenure as a Faculty Associate in The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University, where he began teaching basic videography, and now delivers a self-created sports-videography course.
Tom is beginning his eleventh year at ASU and has been recognized by the University as Outstanding Faculty Associate.
Among his many accomplishments, Tom can now count hundreds of working, enthusiastic videographers, reporters, and producers, spread out all over the world.
Tom’s reach is much longer, and his influence much stronger than he could have dreamed while sitting under Wayne Weber’s teaching at Illinois State.
For this reason, among many, we celebrate the induction of Tom Fergus into the Silver Circle.