The Schimizzi Brothers Provide A Voice To Everyone.
Much ado is made about the people who appear on our televisions and other screens, yet there’s typically very little ballyhoo about those who toil behind the cameras and in the studios.
But every once in a great while, those creative and brainy types also get their due. Take the Springs-based brothers Greg and Ernie Schimizzi, who after 44 years in television, have been inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
The pair, who founded and run East Hampton’s WVVH-Hamptons TV and its parent, Video Voice, were inducted in 2020 and finally got to receive their earned honors in October during a ceremony at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan. They join the likes of such legends as Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, among others.
The first brothers to have ever been inducted into the illustrious group, Greg and Ernie credit their success to one another, and their family — related and otherwise.
“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work and the right partnership,” says Greg, adding that he and his sibling aim to “treat everybody as a brother or sister — that’s the hallmark to our business.”
“We see television as a platform that provides a voice to everyone,” says Ernie, who adds that he and his sibling were first introduced to what goes on behind the scenes by their father, Joseph. The elder Schimizzi, who also was fascinated with television, is credited with sharing his enthusiasm with them. He would often take his young boys to Rockefeller Center to watch the filming of the Today show with Dave Garroway.
The brothers, both certified broadcast engineers and Emmy winners to boot, started Video Voice as a motion picture production and distribution company back in 1977. They produced more than 150 films together before they changed gears and switched to capturing the Hamptons from a local perspective with WVVH.
Broadcasting 24 hours a day, their Hamptons TV programming ranges from family fare, news, and sports to shows such as Soldier Stories, Warrior Stories, Firehouse Kitchen — filmed in different fire stations across Long Island and New York City — and the station’s newest show, Many Shades of Long Island, which focuses on the myriad cultural points of view of East End residents.
The Schimizzis, who were trailblazers in the world of streaming content, currently boast six million households with access to WVVH programming. They have also earned the title of “Pioneers in the World of Broadcast TV” from the Friars Club in New York. But they are probably best known across the regional broadcast viewing public for their coverage of The Hampton Classic, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and other such East End staples.
“The aim is to give everyone a look behind the hedges,” says Ernie, who does color commentary for the station during the Classic. “That’s something that we cherish; the idea of bringing the magic of the event to people who might not ever have been there in person but feel as if they’ve come to it year after year.”
Even with so much televised road behind them, the two are still held in thrall of the power of the medium all these years later. And they admit that they are both proud and humbled by the duty that they carry with them, through their programming.
“It’s a platform that provides a voice to everyone,” says Ernie. “We’re very sensitive to that. That’s why we are still trying every day to make the station the best it can be, for the betterment of our community.”
That betterment includes sound judgement. And high standards, according to Greg.
“In our world, we are at the service of the public. We don’t own the airwaves, the public does. We don’t want to let that down. It’s an awesome responsibility and we don’t take that lightly.”
Catch Hamptons TV on Optimum Channel 78 and Verizon FIOS 14. Stream it at wvvh.com.