Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
News Anchor for NEWS10 NBC, Rochester
Favorite Professor: Greg Gutman, in the School of Business
Adelphi memory: Having a nighttime radio show on Adelphi’s WALI. “It was a powerful feeling to know people are listening to you.”
Advice to students: “Give back to your school and your community.”
On a September morning in 1971, Richard Funke awoke to the sound of sirens. A young anchor and reporter for WHAM radio in Rochester, New York, he quickly gathered his equipment and jumped into a car.
“I was driving, the only civilian in a parade of 20 or 30 police cars on the way to Attica,” he recalls. Mr. Funke was the first reporter on the scene of the Attica prison uprising, a four-day event that brought national attention to the conditions inside America’s prisons in the 1960s and 1970s.
“This was my first big story,” he says. “Before that, I was doing traffic reports and local news.” Mr. Funke got his start in broadcasting as a freshman at Adelphi’s WALI, and later on the Long Island Network including WGBB and WGSM.
Three years after Attica, he made the transition to television, and for 30 years served as an award-winning sports reporter for News 10 in Rochester. Being a sports reporter in a city with no major league sports teams presents its own challenges, but Mr. Funke was able to blend coverage of local amateur and minor league sports with regional pro teams, and found the formula for success.
Over the years, he has also covered Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Olympics. His favorite annual sporting event: the NCAA basketball tournament, especially the Final Four. “It’s just pure amateur glee,” he says.
In 1981, Mr. Funke won an Emmy award for his series on violence in professional sports, and the growing role of federal legislation in the administration of sports. He has also been honored by the American Hockey League, the East Coast Athletic Conference, and the Section Five Football Hall of Fame. He was in the first class of inductees in the Rochester Walk of Fame at Frontier Field.
In 2005, he became co-anchor of the evening news, a position which gives him a more predictable schedule and allows him to work with many newer professionals in the field. “I learned how to write news copy by being edited,” he says “Now I’m the guy with the red ink.”
A star high school athlete from rural Pembroke, New York, Mr. Funke came to Adelphi on a football scholarship. He also played lacrosse, for one year, and basketball. “I grew up on a farm,” he says. “Being on Long Island and near New York City really opened my eyes.”
Although he enrolled thinking he’d be a physical education teacher, he soon fell in love with broadcasting. “I sometimes wondered if anyone besides my roommate was listening to my show,” he says. “But it didn’t matter.” Mr. Funke graduated with a degree in business administration, but he had found his true calling.
Mr. Funke lives in Rochester, with his wife Patricia. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and serving as the host of several charity telethons and sporting events. After nearly 35 years on television, he has become a familiar face to many in Monroe County.