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News

Longtime Local News Anchor Found Dead

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News anchor Todd Tongen of ABC affiliate WPLG was found dead in his South Florida home Monday. He was 56 years old.

Tongen had been a reporter, actor and weekend anchor for 36 years — signing on with WPLG December 1989, according to WPLG.

A family friend was sent to check up on Tongen by his wife, Karen, who was out of town and became concerned when she could not immediately reach him. The friend eventually called the police who found the reporter.

His cause of death is currently unknown.

Fellow WPLG hosts and others who knew Tongen responded to the news on Twitter.

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“We are shattered and heartbroken. Todd was so much more than a colleague,” fellow anchor Louis Aguirre wrote. “He was our brother & integral member of the ⁦@WPLGLocal10⁩ news family. This has left a huge hole in our hearts.”

“Please send love & prayers to his family,” he added.

Those who knew the Emmy Award-winning journalist say he was a favorite among viewers, known for his wit and sense of humor, according to numerous statements given to the Sun-Sentinel.

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“He was so funny. Viewers loved him and so did we,” political reporter Michael Putney said.

Tongen was born in Minnesota but his media career took him all over the United States. He appeared on television first in Grand Junction, Colorado, then as a feature reporter and weatherman in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to WPLG.

Many South Florida natives know Tongen best for his “10 Taxi” segments that ran for seven years of his career.

During this segment, Tongen conducted interviews with celebrities, athletes and other media personalities while driving a classic, yellow taxi cab. He even playfully described himself as “taxi cab driver,” among other things, in his Twitter biography.

WPLG commemorated the host’s career with a video looking back on the beloved “10 Taxi” Monday morning:



“It was a concept as original as the man himself. Through the taxi, Todd shined a light on celebrities while taking viewers for a fun-filled ride that lasted seven years,” weekend co-host Neki Mohan said in the video voice-over. “Todd always said it was a highlight of his career.”

“It was always about the cause. We always said we took the news serious, but we never took ourselves seriously,” Mohan added.

Tongen is survived by his wife, Karen, and two sons, Tyler and Ryker.

CORRECTION, June 7, 2019: An earlier version of this article described WPLG as an NBC affiliate. We should have written ABC. We have corrected the description, and apologize for the error.

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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