“On The Air”
by Laura Nachman

December 21, 2001


Fox-Philadelphia weekend sports anchor Bill Vargus, 45, celebrating his silver anniversary in the Delaware Valley, is happy to be working at the same station as his wife, “Good Day Philadelphia’s” Sue Serio.  The Boston native, who arrived in town 25 years ago when his mother, Dr. Ione D. Vargus became Dean of the School of Social Work at Temple University, is enjoying his fourth year at Fox-Philadelphia. However things weren’t always victorious for “Billy V., “ a veteran of several Philadelphia television and radio stations.   He recalled, “back in the early 90’s I was working as the weekday sports anchor at Channel 12 and weekend sports anchor at Channel 10.  A newspaper speculated that I was going to get the weekday (sports anchor) slot on 10.  So Channel 12 said, “since you are probably going to Channel 10, we are going to eliminate sports from our budget.  Then I didn’t get the job at 10, so I went from two jobs to none.”  Vargus tried his hand at acting, the highlights snagging a national Cheerios commercial and appearing in a skit with the late Chris Farley on “Saturday Night Live.”  But when a former colleague from his days at Channel 3 offered him a job at WWOR in New Jersey, Vargus returned to broadcasting as weekend sports anchor at for two years until “they started auditioning my replacement while I was there.”  Shortly after, Vargus who by that time was engaged to his former colleague from Channel 12, Serio, followed his fiancé when she received a job offer in Buffalo, New York.  The duo worked at the same station in Buffalo for three years, before returning to the Delaware Valley four years ago.  Vargus and Serio will celebrate their seventh anniversary on New Year’s Eve and have a daughter, Nia, 4.


“WPEN – Station of the All-Stars”

The “P” in WPEN can now stand for Phillies as 950-AM will be the home for the Phillies the next three years.  Since WPEN is part of Greater Media Group, the Phillies said that the other members of the group - WMMR 93.3, WMGK 102.9, and WMWX 95.7 could also be involved in Phillies programming (Larry Bowa playing a block of Led Zeppelin?”)


“Total Access Has Highest Total”

Contrary to what was reported last week, the highest rated Sunday night sports highlights show is “Total Access with Gary Papa” on 6ABC with a 5 rating/11 share, not “ Fox-Philadelphia’s “Sports Sunday.” The Fox-Philadelphia sports show follows with a 3.8 rating and the rest of the order is the same – NBC10, KYW-3, and WB17.  The 3.1 rating previously reported for 6ABC was the average rating from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. 


“Everybody Loves the Eagles”

As the Eagles get closer to the playoffs, the ratings keep increasing.  Sunday’s win over Washington on Fox-Philadelphia had a 29.3 rating/47 share of the audience to make it the number one show of the week in town for the fourth week in a row.  “ER” was second with a 25.3/35 share and “Everybody Loves Raymond” was third with an 18.4 rating/24 share.  Each rating point equals 28,010 households.


The first place Eagles are getting the respect of Fox, as the number one announcing team of Pat Summerall and John Madden will call their game versus San Francisco Saturday at 5 p.m.


It will be Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Allen, and Kobe as the Sixers visit the Lakers on Christmas Day at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.